Research course

Exoplanets and planetary physics

Open University · Department of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 degree in physics or a related subject (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

The study of exoplanets is a rapidly moving field at the forefront of astrophysics. The Astronomy Discipline is involved in the search for new exoplanets, in multiwavelength follow-up studies of established planets, consideration of habitability in novel contexts, and in the modelling of exoplanetary atmospheres and interiors.

We are members of the SuperWASP, RoPACs, CHEOPS and PLATO consortia. Our exoplanets researchers frequently use the Hubble Space Telescope, other competitively awarded telescopes, and we also use our own PIRATE telescope on the island of Mallorca.

The group closely collaborates with the department's planetary science and space instrumentation groups, especially in the areas of planetary atmospheres and habitability.

Potential research projects We welcome enquiries from prospective students in the following areas:
  • A Galactic population model of planets
  • Habitability of planets around white dwarf stars
  • Mass loss from hot Jupiter exoplanets
  • Dynamics of multiple exoplanet systems
  • Earth analogue exoplanets

Please also see further opportunities.

Current/recent research projects
  • Follow-up photometry of transiting exoplanet candidates with PIRATE
  • False-positive signal in exoplanet transit searches
  • Observation and modelling of extrasolar planets using HST
  • Transit detection with SuperWASP
Potential supervisors

Qualification and course duration


full time
15 months
distance learning
variable months
part time
24 months


part time
72 months
full time
36 months
distance learning
variable months

Course contact details

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 659036