Taught course


University of Sussex · School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Entry requirements

A first- or second-class undergraduate honours degree in a physics-, mathematics- or astronomy-based subject. Other degrees will be considered on an individual basis but applicants are generally expected to have a significant mathematical or physical background, including calculus, differential equations, mechanics, electrodynamics and quantum mechanics.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc is intended for graduates with an applied mathematics- or physics-based degree who wish to learn how to apply their knowledge to astronomy. It is one of only three full-time, broad-based astronomy MSc courses in the UK. It covers the major fields of astronomy and astrophysics at an advanced level, with
an emphasis in the modules on theoretical astronomy.

Teaching is by lectures, exercise classes, seminars and personal supervision.


Assessment for the taught modules is by coursework and unseen examination. Assessment for the project is by oral presentation and a dissertation of up to 20,000 words. A distinction is awarded on the basis of excellence in both the lecture modules and the project.

Course Structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2016 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

Course structure (full time)

Your time is split equally between taught modules and a research project. You have a supervisor who oversees your work and is responsible for supervision of your project. Supervisors and topics are allocated, in consultation with you, at the start of the autumn term. Projects may be theoretical, or involve simulation or data reduction. In many cases the projects form the basis of research papers later published in scientific journals.

Autumn and spring terms: you take four core modules Astrophysical Processes • Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics • Cosmology • Galaxies and the Universe. Most modules comprise 24 lectures and 11 problem classes. You also choose two options from a range of modules. These are taught on topics relating to research interests within the group, and vary from year to year, but generally cover a wide range of topics. Options might include Advanced Particle Physics • Data Analysis Techniques • Early Universe • General Relativity • Object-Oriented Programming • Programming in C++. You start work on your project and give an assessed talk on this towards the end of the spring term.

Summer term: examinations and project work.

Course structure (part time)

You take the four compulsory modules in the autumn and spring terms of Year 1. After the examinations in the summer term, you begin work on your project. Project work continues during Year 2 when you also take two options from the above list.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit:www.sussex.ac.uk/study/money/scholarships/pgt2016/

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations25
Written coursework / continuous assessment25
Dissertation50 (20000 words)

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 873254