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Astrophysics

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Ready to apply? You can apply for this course online now using the UCAS website. The deadline for UK students to apply for this course is 25 January 2023.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2023.

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Use these details to apply for this course through UCAS:

  • University name: University of Liverpool
  • Course: Astrophysics F521
  • Location: Main site
  • Start date: 25 September 2023

Related courses

There are ten courses related to Astrophysics that you might be interested in.

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Master of Physics

Master of Physics (MPhys) is a master’s degree awarded for a postgraduate taught programme in ocean physics.

Course overview

A degree in Astrophysics has the unique potential to provide an understanding of the most up-to-date discoveries in our universe. You’ll be introduced to all aspects of physics and astronomy, from quantum mechanics to cosmology.

Introduction

From the formation, evolution and deaths of stars (involving planetary systems, nucleosynthesis and supernovae) through structure of galaxies to the evolution of the Universe itself, the degree structure introduces the physics involved in the cosmos. At the end of Year Two, the week-long field trip to the Teide Observatory in Tenerife introduces students to professional observatories.

Anyone who is curious about the fundamental laws of nature will enjoy Physics. It is one of the few disciplines that really challenge our view of the world. For example, in relativity we find that space and time are entangled and that clocks run slowly under the influence of a gravitational field. When we examine the world on a microscopic scale, we are in the realm of quantum mechanics, where the predictions, such as wave-particle duality, even seem strange to the physicists who study its foundations.

The four-year Astrophysics degree will equip students with skills relevant for jobs in a wide range of careers, from education, research, finance and the city to industry.

The two-metre aperture Liverpool Telescope located in the Canaries, which is the largest robotically controlled telescope in the world, will provide you with unique access to observations from a major research facility when you undertake a research project in your final year.

There are opportunities to work alongside our internationally renowned academics at projects at the LHC at CERN and in many international and national research centres in the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and many European countries.

Our flexible programmes allow students to transfer up to the end of year two between any of the physics programmes.

What you'll learn

  • A working knowledge and understanding of physics and astronomy
  • A solid base in mathematics
  • Skills relevant to real-world industry settings
  • How to undertake research
  • Problem-solving
  • How to present and communicate clearly

Accreditation

Our programmes are accredited by the Institute of Physics, which means they satisfy the academic requirements for Chartered Physicist status.

Accreditations in detail

Accreditations

Our programmes are accredited by the Institute of Physics, which means they satisfy the academic requirements for Chartered Physicist status.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

Your first year starts with a one-week project, designed to familiarise you with the staff and other students. There will be two mathematics modules in each of the first two years, which will provide the mathematical skills required by physics students.

Compulsory modules

Dynamics and Relativity (PHYS101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module provides an overview of Newtonian mechanics, continuing on from A-level courses. This includes: Newton’s laws of motion in linear and rotational circumstances, gravitation and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. The theory of Relativity is then introduced, starting from a historical context, through Einstein’s postulates, leading to the Lorentz transformations.

Thermal Physics and Properties of Matter (PHYS102)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Einstein said in 1949 that "Thermodynamics is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced, within the areas of applicability of its basic concepts, will never be overthrown." In this module, different aspects of thermal physics are addressed: (i) classical thermodynamics which deals with macroscopic properties, such as pressure, volume and temperature – the underlying microscopic physics is not included; (ii) kinetic theory of gases describes the properties of gases in terms of probability distributions associated with the motions of individual molecules; and (iii) statistical mechanics which starts from a microscopic description and then employs statistical methods to derive macroscopic properties. The laws of thermodynamics are introduced and applied.

WAVE PHENOMENA (PHYS103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Waves lie at the heart of physics, being phenomena associated with quantum wave mechanics, electromagnetic fields, communication, lasers and, spectacularly, gravitational waves. The course is divided into several major sections. The first, can be viewed as a pre-wave study of oscillations. This teaches the basics of oscillatory systems which form the backbone of an understanding of waves. The second, deals with waves in abstract; solution of the wave equation and the principles of superposition. Finally, we look at examples of wave phenomena. These are the first introduction to what will be covered in the remainder of your degree.

Foundations of Quantum Physics (PHYS104)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module illustrates how a series of fascinating experiments, some of which physics students will carry out in their laboratory courses, led to the realisation that Newtonian mechanics does not provide an accurate description of physical reality. As is described in the module, this failure was first seen in interactions at the atomic scale and was first seen in experiments involving atoms and electrons. The module shows how Newton’s ideas were replaced by Quantum mechanics, which has been critical to explaining phenomena ranging from the photo-electric effect to the fluctuations in the energy of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The module also explains how this revolution in physicist’s thinking paved the way for developments such as the laser.

INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS (PHYS105)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: semester 1

​ The "Introduction to computational physics" (Phys105) module is designed to introduce physics students to the use of computational techniques appropriate to the solution of physical problems. No previous computing experience is assumed. During the course of the module, students are guided through a series of structured exercises which introduce them to the Python programming language and help them acquire a range of skills including: plotting data in a variety of ways; simple Monte Carlo techniques; algorithm development; and basic symbolic manipulations. The exercises are based around the content of the first year physics modules, both encouraging students to recognise the relevance of computing to their physics studies and enabling them to develop a deeper understanding of aspects of their first year course.  

PRACTICAL PHYSICS I (PHYS106)

Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

​This module teaches the laboratory side of physics to complement the taught material from lectures and to introduce key concepts of experimental physics.

Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

​This module aims to provide all students with a common foundation in mathematics, necessary for studying the physical sciences and maths courses in later semesters. All topics will begin "from the ground up" by revising ideas which may be familiar from A-level before building on these concepts. In particular, the basic principles of differentiation and integration will be practised, before extending to functions of more than one variable.

MATHEMATICS FOR PHYSICISTS II (PHYS108)

Credits: 15 / Semester: second semester

​This module introduces some of the mathematical techniques used in physics. For example, matrices, differential equations, vector calculus and series are discussed. The ideas are first presented in lectures and then the put into practice in problems classes, with support from demonstrators and the module lecturer. When you have finished this module, you should: Be able to manipulate matrices and use matrix methods to solve simultaneous linear equations. Be familiar with methods for solving first and second order differential equations in one variable. Have a basic knowledge of vector algebra. Have a basic understanding of series, in particular of Fourier series and transforms.

INTRODUCTION TO ASTROPHYSICS (PHYS155)

Credits: 7.5 / Semester: second semester

Astronomy is the study of Universe – applying a broad range of physics (and indeed chemistry and even biology) to both understand the cosmos and our place in it, and improve our understanding of the underlying physics. In this module you will be introduced to the constituents of the universe – from our Solar System, through stars and galaxies, to the evolution of spacetime – and study the observational techniques used to answer outstanding questions about the cosmos.​

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Year in industry

Year in industry placements give you an in-depth workplace experience where you can develop your skills and apply your learning.

  • Develop key employability skills that graduate employers are looking for
  • Experience and understand workplace culture and disciple
  • Understand the relationship between academic theory and real world application
  • Begin your professional network
  • Gain industry insight and insight into potential career options.

You don't need to decide now - you can choose to add a year in industry after you've begun your degree.

To spend a year in industry, you'll need to secure a placement with an organisation. If you're unable to find a placement, you'll continue with the standard version of the course without a year in industry.

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Study as a Bachelor's degree

This course is also available as a three year BSc (Hons) programme.

View Physics with Astronomy BSc (Hons)

Your experience

This course is delivered by the School of Physical Sciences, one of the UK’s leading physics departments, with a history of discovery that goes back over 130 years. Day-to-day teaching takes place in our £23 million award-winning, state-of-the-art Central Teaching Laboratories, which have transformed the way in which physical sciences are taught at the University.

Virtual tour

What students say...

Professor Carsten Welsch

Physics gives you a chance to explain how the world works – from the really small atomic scale to the really large. I've really enjoyed the practicals. I've really been able to get to grips with handling the equipment and the scientific methods – and it’s good to be able to apply the things you've learnt in lectures when you’re hands on in the lab. I feel like I've learnt enough, and developed a lot of skills to be able to apply them in later life. I'm glad I came to the University of Liverpool.

David Turner, MPhys Physics

Careers and employability

The skills gained through studying a degree in Astrophysics are marketable in a vast range of sectors. Typical areas of employment include research, industry, computing, teaching, business and finance.

88% of physics students find their main activity after graduation meaningful.

Graduate Outcomes, 2018-19.

Many graduates move on to have careers in such diverse areas as:

  • Telecommunications
  • Microelectronics
  • Nuclear power and instrumentation
  • Cryogenics
  • Astronomy
  • Geophysics
  • Medical physics
  • Materials science.

Preparing you for future success

At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:

  • Embedding employability within your , through the modules you take and the opportunities to gain real-world experience offered by many of our courses.
  • Providing you with opportunities to gain experience and develop connections with people and organisations, including student and graduate employers as well as our global alumni.
  • Providing you with the latest tools and skills to thrive in a competitive world, including access to Handshake, a platform which allows you to create your personalised job shortlist and apply with ease.
  • Supporting you through our peer-to-peer led Careers Studio, where our career coaches provide you with tailored advice and support.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, how to pay, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment, operating University facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.

UK fees
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £24,850
Fees stated are for the 2022-23 academic year and may rise for 2023-24.

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.

Scholarships and bursaries you can apply for from the United Kingdom

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

AAB

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is ABB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
Subject requirements

Physics and Mathematics at A level.

For applicants from England: Where a science has been taken at A level (Chemistry, Biology or Physics), a pass in the Science practical of each subject will be required.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Applications considered alongside A levels. Please contact the University for further information.

International Baccalaureate

35 points that must include 6 points each from Physics and Mathematics at Higher level.

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H1, H2, H2, H2, H3 including Physics and Mathematics at H2 or above.
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

Advanced Highers accepted at grades AAB including Physics and Mathematics.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at grade B, including Mathematics and Physics A Levels at AA.
Access 45 Level 3 credits in graded units in a relevant Diploma, including 39 at Distinction and a further 6 with at least Merit
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

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Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Astrophysics MPhys

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.