Undergraduate Degree Courses
A degree in Astronomy or Astrophysics has the unique potential to provide students with a thorough grounding in physics, mathematics and computing through the study of the most exciting scientific phenomena in the Universe. Graduates are excellently equipped to pursue a wide variety of well-paid careers in industry, education and scientific research and will have had the enjoyable and satisfying experience of studying a subject which fires the imagination and broadens their horizons.
We teach two undergraduate courses; a three year BSc (Hons) course Physics with Astronomy (UCAS code F3F5) and a four-year MPhys course Astrophysics (UCAS code F521). These degree courses are taught jointly by the Physics Department at The University of Liverpool and the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University. Both courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics meaning that graduates are accredited physicists.
Both Departments are leading research centres in their respective fields of Physics and Astrophysics and we bring this expertise to our teaching on the degree programmes. Students benefit from being taught by members of a research group with international expertise in subjects ranging from extra-solar planets to cosmology. This unique collaboration allows our students to benefit from access to the teaching and research facilities, support services and halls of residence provided by both Universities.
Furthermore, we have privileged use of the Liverpool Telescope, a 2-metre robotic telescope, the largest in the world, which is sited in the Canary Islands. This provides undergraduates with access to a research-class instrument on a top-quality site. Data from the Liverpool Telescope will be used throughout the course in laboratories, coursework and projects.
Open Days for the BSc (Hone) Physics with Astronomy course and the MPhys Astophysics course take place at our partner The University of Liverpool.
For specific details, please see our 2015 Open Days page.
Entry requirements (for 2016 entry) and fees
F3F5: ABB at A level or equivalent including Physics and Mathematics.
F521: AAB at A level or equivalent including Physics and Mathematics.
Our partner institution, The University of Liverpool, has all the information you need about fees and scholarships, bursaries, grants and money matters in general.
Teaching and assessment
There is a variety of teaching delivery methods such as lectures, problems class, practical work using specialised equipment, group work, tutorials, project work, to mention a few. You will acquire a broad range of skills that are assessed in many different ways: end-of-semester examinations, project reports, oral presentations, etc. Not all teaching methods or assessments methods are used for each and every module but at the end of the degree, you will have a well-balanced set of skills that have been thoroughly assessed throughout.
Structure of the degrees
The first two years are identical for F3F5 and F521. You need a solid grounding in Mathematics and Physics before you can start looking in detail at the structure of stars, galaxies, neutron stars, black holes, Active Galactic Nuclei, and other exotic objects. This is what the first two years will provide. There is also a general introduction to astronomy in Year 1, and specialised laboratory experiments in Year 2 (use of astronomical equipment).
Observational Astronomy Field Trip
An important feature of our degrees is the opportunity given to students to use a telescope in a professional observatory, Izana on Tenerife during a full week at the end of the second year.
Here, conditions are more conducive to astronomical observations and students spend a week gaining practical experience of making astronomical measurements using a large telescope at a professional observatory. This is an important part of an astronomer's training and this is where the Physics and Astrophysics degrees start to diverge. This is encapsulated ina student's comment made after the one-week trip: "When I came out here I felt like a Physicist. At the end of week I feel like an Astrophysicist."
Years 3 and 4
The BSc (F3F5) and MPhys (F521) courses start to diverge in Year 3. Both of them however build on the understanding of physics that has been acquired in the first two years to develop and expand knowledge of astrophysical objects. While there are still physics modules (quantum mechanics, particle and nuclear physics), astrophysics modules now dominate the weekly timetable with modules such as cosmology, planetary physics, stellar physics, galaxies. In Year 4 (for the F521 course), even more specialised modules are introduced to bring students to a level of knowledge that will make them able to start a PhD in the field (stellar dynamics, physics of the interstellar medium, compact objects — black holes and neutron stars, radiative phenomena).
Both BSc and MPhys courses include an element of choice in the modules followed. There are core modules that all students take (e.g. cosmology, observational astrophysics, stellar physics, galaxies) and a rich list of optional modules (e.g. planetary physics, stellar atmospheres, radiative processes, stellar dynamics, etc.) that students can choose to take, depending on their personal interests.
Furthermore, some modules bring students in direct contact with the most current research through attendance to seminars and the teaching of research skills. Our research directly informs the teaching we deliver to the extent that advanced modules have to be updated every year to keep them current and relevant.
If you have any general question about our degrees or if you are interested in applying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org