This MSc provides students with the skills, knowledge and research ability for a career in astrophysics. The programme is designed to satisfy the need, both nationally and internationally, for well-qualified postgraduates who will be able to respond to the challenges that arise from future developments in this field.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £9,840 (FT) £4,970 (PT)
- £25,130 (FT) £12,950 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students develop insights into the techniques used in current astrophysics projects, and gain in-depth experience of a particular specialised research area, through project work, as a member of a research team. The programme provides the professional skills necessary to play a meaningful role in industrial or academic life.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a choice of six optional modules (90 credits), a research essay (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months, part-time two years) is offered.
Optional modules 1 (15 credits each)
Students choose four of the following:
- Planetary Atmospheres
- Solar Physics
- High-energy Astrophysics
- Stellar Atmospheres and Stellar Winds
- Galaxy and Cluster Dynamics
- Mathematics for General Relativity
- Space Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics
Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)
Students choose two of the following:
- Physics MSc core modules
- Space and Climate Science MSc core modules
- Medical Physics MSc core modules
- Intercollegiate fourth year modules
- Physics and Astrophysics MSc fourth-year modules
- Plastic and Molecular (Opto)electronics
Students submit a critical research essay of approximately 8,000 words and undertake an in-depth research project which culminates in a formal report and oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical, laboratory and computer-based classes. Student performance is assessed through coursework and written examination. The research project is assessed by literature survey, oral presentation and the dissertation.
Candidates may be eligible for a Santander scholarship. For further details please visit:
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Astrophysics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas, for example information technology, engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Employers regard a physics degree as flexible and highly desirable university training.
Top career destinations for this degree
- PhD in Astrophysics, Kiel University, Germany
- Research Assistant, University College London
- Research Assistant, Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik (Nuclear Physics)
- PhD in Astrophysics, University of Crete
Astrophysics opens up many avenues to employment through the skills acquired: problem-solving; the training of a logical and numerate mind; computation skills; modelling and material analysis; and the ability to think laterally. In addition, work vision and enthusiasm make physics graduates highly desirable members of all dynamic companies.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for graduate study.
The department's participation in many international collaborations means we provide exceptional opportunities to work as part of an international team. Examples include the Dark Energy Survey - investigating the origin of the accelerating universe and the nature of dark matter, the Hubble Telescope and the Cassini project.
In some cases, opportunities exist for students to broaden their experience by spending part of their time overseas.
Department: Physics & Astronomy
Student / staff numbers
› 230 staff
› 30 taught students
› 200 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Physics & Astronomy
75% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"The rigour and the quality of the modules I have taken so far have particularly impressed me. MSc classes are typically much smaller than undergraduate lectures, allowing for a healthy dialogue with lecturers and students. London, for me, is the most vibrant city in the world. Combined with UCL's fantastic reputation it means that the calibre of other students on the programme is really high and that for me has been the biggest benefit."
Paul NathanAstrophysics MSc
"Cosmology is about understanding the big questions pertaining to the universe, and because of the advancements in technology that allow for ever more fine-tuned instruments, cosmologists are starting to find partial but very important answers. It's a cutting-edge field, where there are always unknowns, but that makes it both exciting and very challenging."
Tania MarquesAstrophysics MSc
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
This MSc is particularly suitable for students with an undergraduate degree in physics, astronomy, astrophysics or related discipline, who wish to develop a career in astrophysics and related fields. The programme provides an ideal foundation for further research and entry on to a PhD programme.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Astrophysics at graduate level
- why you want to study Astrophysics at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.