UCL-IoE merger

UCL and the Institute of Education merged on December 2, 2014. Learn about the study options available to you.


Admissions Tutor

Professor David Waters

Admissions Co-ordinator

Mrs Joanna Davies

Email: undergraduate-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7246

More Information

Subject area:

Physics and Astrophysics

Faculty overview:

Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Department website:

Physics and Astronomy

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

60% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
(What is the RAE?)

Astrophysics MSci

UCAS code: F511

This four-year programme offers an additional year of study on top of the Astrophysics BSc, during which students have the opportunity to specialise further by taking advanced optional courses, and undertaking a research project.

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades AAA-AAB
Subjects Mathematics and Physics required at grade A.
AS Levels For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

Points 36-38
Subjects A total of 17-18 points in three higher level subjects including Mathematics and Physics at grade 6, with no score below 5.

Other qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International applicants

International qualifications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Select country above, equivalent grades appear here.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

For more information see our website: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • The programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics and includes the very latest developments and discoveries in the field, based on our highly rated research.
  • Collaborative links with both industry and international research laboratories provide insight into the practical application of your studies.
  • You will undertake practical work at UCL's University of London Observatory (ULO) and benefit from our close association with the Royal Astronomical Society.
  • One third year option includes a field trip to the Observatoire de Haute Provence in France.

Core courses in the first two years provide a grounding in mathematics and classical and quantum physics. You will also undertake courses which build up an increasing exposure to topics in astronomy and astrophysics. This starts in the first year with core courses in Physics of the Universe and Practical Astronomy. This is followed in the second year by Astrophysical Processes: Nebulae to Stars and Practical Astrophysics, leading into core third year courses in Stellar Astrophysics, Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology, and Astronomical Spectroscopy. The third year also provides for optional courses to further enhance and enrich your knowledge of astrophysics topics.

The fourth year comprises a compulsory research project in astrophysics, and a further five half-credit courses, generally chosen from subjects in the relevant degree speciality. A wide range of courses is available, including some taught by staff from other London Colleges.

This programme is offered both as a three-year BSc and a four-year MSci, with common structures and subjects for the first two years. However, the additional fourth year of the MSci programme allows for a greater depth of study and we recommend you apply for an MSci initially, as this keeps more options open.

Your learning

Teaching is undertaken through lectures, laboratory (and as appropriate, observatory) practical sessions, and supervised problem-solving tutorials. These tutorials are designed to deal with lecture-based questions, enlarge on topics addressed in lectures, and allow clarification and in-depth discussion of new concepts.


Assessment will normally involve end-of-year examinations, and an element of assessed coursework. For practical work you will be continuously assessed.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Classical Mechanics
Mathematical Methods I
Mathematical Methods II
Practical Skills 1A
Practical Skills 1C
Physics of the Universe
Thermal Physics
Waves, Optics and Acoustics

Optional courses

All first year courses are compulsory.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Astrophysical Processes: Nebulae to Stars
Electricity and Magnetism
Mathematical Methods III
Physics of the Solar System
Practical Astrophysics 2A
Quantum Physics
Statistical Thermodynamics

Optional courses

One optional course from the following list:

Environmental Physics
Mathematics for Physics and Astronomy

Year Three

Compulsory courses

Astronomical Spectroscopy
Interstellar Physics
Physical Cosmology
The Physics of Stars

Optional courses

Experimental Physics
Practical Astronomy 1 - Techniques

Plus one of the following:

Group Project
Practical Astronomy 2 - Applications
Practical Astronomy 3 - Field Trip

You will also select 1.0 credits from a wide range of astrophysics options. Options may include:

Electromagnetic Theory
Energy and Climate
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Physics of Oceans, Ice Sheets and Climate (1.0 credits)
Physics of the Earth
Quantum Mechanics
Scientific Computing Using Object Oriented Languages
Theory of Dynamical Systems

Final Year

Compulsory course

Astronomy Project

Optional courses

You will select 2.5 credits from a wide range of optional courses.

Further details on department website: Astrophysics MSci


Your scientific training will equip you with an understanding of mathematics, and of physical principles and techniques, as well as transferable skills in analysis, rational argument and innovative problem solving. Surveys by the IOP indicate that physicists' versatility is welcomed by a wider range of professions than any other subject.

Around half our graduates choose to pursue further study for an MSc or PhD. A PhD opens up the possibility of an academic or research career in a university or research institute. Alternatively, like many of our graduates, you may consider employment in research, design, development, computing, finance, marketing and teaching, among others.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2010-2012) of Astrophysics programmes at UCL include:

  • Technical Business Analyst, Acturis (2012)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Nanotechnology at UCL (2011)
  • Full-time student, PGCE at Institute of Education (2011)
  • Full-time student, MSc in Astrophysics at UCL (2010)
  • Secondary Teacher, Greens Wood Academy (2010)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

Your application

In addition to the subjects and grades specified in the qualifying examinations, we are also looking for evidence of self-motivation and an enthusiastic interest in the subject. This may be demonstrated through paid or voluntary work experience, academic project work, or your interests and hobbies beyond the school curriculum.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.


If you are based in the UK within a reasonable travelling distance of UCL, and your application demonstrates your suitability for the programme, you will be invited to a compulsory applicant open day. This will include presentations, a tour of facilities and an opportunity to meet current students and staff members.

If you are based outside the UK, or not within reasonable travelling distance of UCL, we will decide whether to make you an offer on the basis of your UCAS application and reference; a telephone interview may be offered.

Video: how to make your application stand out

Video: applying to UCL through UCAS

Fees and funding

UK & EU fee

£9,000 (2014/15)

Overseas fee

£20,100 (2014/15)

General funding notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Playlist: funding for UK/EU and overseas students

Undergraduate playlist

Video channels

Page last modified on 26 feb 14 08:05