Astrophysics MSc

London, Bloomsbury

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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£15,100
£7,550
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£37,500
£18,750
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a strongly Astrophysics- or Physics-based programme from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

*Should you experience any issues with the drop-down below, try de-selecting the country and re-selecting it. If this doesn't work, then you may refer to this page which may help you find the same equivalencies - check the Entry requirements above beforehand. Please note the table is indicative only, revisiting when the dropdown is working to confirm is recommended.

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.

Who this course is for

This MSc requires students to have an undergraduate degree level of knowledge 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 to a PhD programme.

What this course will give you

UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area: UCL is consistently placed in the global top 20 across a wide range of university rankings - and is currently 4th in the UK in the QS World University Rankings 2023 for Physics & Astronomy.

The department's participation in many international collaborations means we provide exceptional opportunities to work as part of an international team. Examples include our academics who work on the Dark Energy Survey - investigating the origin of the accelerating universe and the nature of dark matter; astrophysicists using the James Webb Space Telescope; or UCL scientists who have worked on the Cassini mission to Saturn - which has unveiled the icy moon Enceladus as the `engine' driving Saturn's magnetosphere. They are now working on the NASA JUICE mission (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer), which was launched in April 2023, and is due to orbit Jupiter in July 2031. Our academics also have access to the largest set of astronomical spectroscopic data through our involvement in the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Survey.

The department of Physics & Astronomy at UCL are proud holders of the Athena Swan Silver Award and achieved a Juno Champion Award from the Institute of Physics.

The foundation of your career

Astrophysics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas, e.g. space science and technology, information technology, Large Data science (in commerce and industry), engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Employers regard an astrophysics degree as a flexible and highly desirable university training.

Employability

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 astrophysics graduates highly desirable members of all dynamic companies.

Networking

Students are encouraged to participate in scientific seminars and meetings organised by research groups within the Department. Students are also encouraged to attend relevant meetings organised by scientific societies which are based in London (eg, Royal Astronomical Society, Institute of Physics, Royal Society). The department arranges regular careers talks given by guest speakers from industry, research, teaching and beyond.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group workshops, and asynchronous content, delivered as part of the taught component.  A research literature review/essay and a major research project together comprise one half of the course; each student is directed by an academic supervisor through regular meetings for consultation and advice. To supplement their experience, students are encouraged to participate in subject-relevant scientific seminar series organised by the research groups within the Department.

Assessment is through examinations and coursework assignments. The research project is assessed through a written dissertation and an oral presentation.

A 15-credit module consists of around 150 hours of learning time, and for a lecture module typically includes 20-30 hours of contact time, plus engagement with online materials asynchronously, and personal study time.

The research-project module is 60 credits, and consists of around 600 hours personal study time alongside approximately 15-20 hours contact time.

The research-essay module (literature review) is 30 credits, and consists of around 300 hours personal study time alongside approximately 10 hours contact time.

Modules

The programme is made up of modules to the value of 180 credits.  The programme consists of a dissertation/report (60 credits), a research essay (30 credits), plus 6 optional and elective modules (90 credits). Students select three optional modules comprising core subjects in Astrophysics, and three further modules from a very wide selection of elective modules, including fourth-year MSci modules, selected modules from Space and Climate Physics, modules from the MSc in Physics, and a small selection of third-year Astrophysics modules.

Full-Time Structure

Term One: you will study 3 or 4 modules from your selection of 6 taught modules. These could be optional and elective modules.

Term Two: you will study the remainder of your 6 taught modules, which could be optional or a combination of optional and elective modules.

You will also start work on your research essay (literature review) during the first term, and continue to work on it during the first two terms; the literature review is completed and submitted at the end of the second term. The research for this review lays the foundation for the research project, on which work is also started during the second term.

Term Three: you will focus entirely on your research project, preparing a written project report which is submitted at the end of August. You will prepare and deliver an oral presentation on your project in September.

Below are three examples of project titles offered by researchers within the Department. These projects cover the full range of science conducted by the Astrophysics group within the Department, and change each year.

  • The mechanism and limits of galactic levitation
  • Dual Channel gravitational wave study of neutron star encountering black hole
  • Modelling the performance of the 4MOST spectroscopic instrument

The programme is made up of modules to the value of 180 credits.  The programme consists of a dissertation/report (60 credits), a research essay (30 credits), plus 6 optional and elective modules (90 credits). Students select three optional modules comprising core subjects in Astrophysics, and three further modules from a very wide selection of elective modules, including fourth-year MSci modules, selected modules from Space and Climate Physics, modules from the MSc in Physics, and a small selection of third-year Astrophysics modules.

Part-Time Structure

Year One: you will study 4 modules from your selection of 6 taught modules. These could be optional and elective modules.

Year Two: you will study the remainder of your taught modules, which could be optional or a combination of optional and elective modules.

You will work on your research essay (literature review) during the first two terms; the literature review is completed and submitted at the end of the second term. The research for this review lays the foundation for the research project, on which work is also started during the second term.

Term Three: you will focus entirely on your research project, preparing a written project report which is submitted at the end of August. You will prepare and deliver an oral presentation on your project in September.

Below are three examples of project titles offered by researchers within the Department. These projects cover the full range of science conducted by the Astrophysics group within the Department, and change each year.

  • The mechanism and limits of galactic levitation
  • Dual Channel gravitational wave study of neutron star encountering black hole
  • Modelling the performance of the 4MOST spectroscopic instrument

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Astrophysics.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500 £18,750

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.