Taught course


University of Hertfordshire · School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirements for the programme are:

A good (2.1 or above) Honours degree (or equivalent) in physics, astrophysics, or a closely related subject, where the degree is accredited by a professional statutory regulatory body such as the Institute of Physics (or a body of equivalent standing in a related subject or overseas).
If you wish to join the course with a 2.2, your application may be considered on a case-by-case basis, where entry may be possible based on additional information and/or an interview.
It is not possible to register for the MSc Astrophysics if you have already obtained the University of Hertfordshire's MPhys (Physics) degree or MPhys (Astrophysics) degree.

Months of entry


Course content

Train to become an Astrophysicist in one of the best equipped teaching observatories in the UK - Bayfordbury Observatory, in Hertfordshire’s internationally renowned Centre for Astrophysics Research. Work Placements available.

About the course

You’ll develop a thorough grounding in fundamental physics while exploring cutting edge topics about the Universe, its constituents and structure, and humanity’s place within it.

You’ll be trained in observational astrophysics and in the use of theory by carrying out a major research project supervised by a leading expert. Throughout the course, you’ll develop specialised skills in physics research enquiry and problem-solving, critical thinking, scientific writing, communication and presentation, and programming and software application.

The course gives you the unique opportunity to study a wide variety of astrophysical phenomena across many scales enabling you to explore all corners of the Universe. You'll study galactic topics, including:

  • extra-solar planets
  • the life cycle of stars
  • gamma-ray bursters
  • supernovae.

You’ll also have the opportunity to study extra-galactic topics, including:

  • active galaxies at high redshift
  • cosmological theory
  • the evolution of the universe.

You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a placement year, or a year-long advanced research project through the different course pathways.

Why choose this course

Research is at the forefront of the course and is embedded in your student experience from research-informed teaching, to opportunities for direct involvement with ongoing research projects.

You’ll be taken on an exciting learning journey led by staff from the University of Hertfordshire Centre for Astrophysics Research. You’ll benefit from their internationally renowned knowledge and experience from the work they carry out across a range of cutting-edge research topics in both galactic and extragalactic astrophysics.

The course benefits from a large practical component enabling you to put your knowledge and research into practice. As a student on the course, you’ll have unique access to the University’s own Bayfordbury Observatory. The Observatory is home to:

  • eight individual domes
  • a fully equipped computer building
  • five 40cm Meade telescopes (equipped with CCD detectors)
  • a solar telescope
  • a video telescope
  • four radio telescopes on-site which also facilitates a three-element radio interferometer.
  • The facilities are automated (with weather sensitive control) so observing can be done either remotely (via queue observing) or directly through on-site student visits.

What will I study

As part of the course, you’ll undertake six compulsory modules focused on the latest cutting-edge research. You’ll study an exciting blend of topics, including:

  • galactic and extragalactic astrophysics
  • astrophysical techniques and concepts
  • fundamental theory
  • analysis methods.

The structure of the course enables you to take your research and career in the direction which suits you. You’re able to tailor your degree to your own interests and undertake an additional two optional modules from specialist areas of astrophysics, space science, fundamental theory, and optical physics.

Over the course of the summer semester, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a major astrophysics project supervised by a leading expert in your chosen field. Project teaching comprises of individual supervision and guidance to support your development as a researcher.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details