The MSc in Astrophysics provides a detailed overview of the fundamentals of the subject as well as an up-to-date account of recent developments in research and is available to study full time (one year) or part time (two years). The large range of taught modules, reflecting the breadth of research interests within the School, enable you to develop your learning along any number of specialist routes.
Lectures cover such diverse topics as the origin of the universe, dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, radiation mechanisms in astrophysics, the life and death of stars, black holes, extrasolar planets, the solar system, space and solar plasma astrophysics, and research methods.
Training in research methods, substantial independent project work and access to the expertise and culture of the department are excellent preparation for PhD study. The knowledge and skills you will gain are however equally useful in boosting future prospects or current performance in another career path (e.g. teaching).
This well-established programme has been running since 1972, with over 300 degrees awarded. Over 50 graduates have since taken a PhD with some becoming lecturers and eventually professors at leading academic institutions.
The part-time option and flexible teaching structure make this programme especially suitable if you are looking to pursue your interest in the subject alongside other commitments. Some students each year study for an MSc as a significant part of a career break/career change or for personal interest.
The School of Physics and Astronomy also offers a 9 month Postgraduate Certificate in Astronomy and Astrophysics and an Astrophysics pathway to the longer Euromaster's MSc.
On successful completion of the MSc in Astrophysics you will graduate with:
- A grounding in fundamental topics in Astrophysics
- An appreciation of the latest developments in Astrophysics research across the full breadth of QMUL research areas
- Research skills and specialist knowledge, developed through substantial research project work
- Exposure to academic expertise and culture
- Wide variety of topics taught, offering one of the broadest ranges of higher level astrophysics modules in the UK
- Broad range of research project options and academic expertise
- Specialist training in research methods for astrophysicists
- Unique flexible teaching structure
- Access to academic journals as well as seminars at QMUL and more widely around London
- Membership of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) for QMUL students; take advantage of RAS meetings and library
- Long history of preparing students for careers in research (since 1972). Several alumni hold academic posts at universities in the UK and overseas, including the University of Cambridge.
- Find inspiration in a subject you love
The Astronomy Unit at QMUL carries out a great variety of specialist astrophysics research throughinternational research programs, including ground-based observations, space experiments, and theoretical work in a wide variety of research areas. See the group's research pages for full details.
1st in London
Ranked joint first in London for research outputs (REF 2014), the School of Physics and Astronomy has an international reputation for its research across areas such as experimental particle physics, materials physics, string theory and astronomy.
£12m invested in refurbishment and new facilities in 2014
The school benefited from an extensive £12M refurbishment in 2014. Our new facilities include breakout spaces, offices and laboratories used in MSc projects.
The benefits of London
The School takes advantage of its proximity to major transport hubs and research institutions to attract visitors and seminar speakers. Students can also take advantage of the city's many opportunities for wider learning, further study and employment.
The MSc Astrophysics is available to study 1 year full time or 2 years part time.
You will be required to take eight taught modules.
You will also write a dissertation on an astrophysical research project of theoretical, computational or observational nature.
- MSc Astrophysics Research Project (compulsory)
- Research Methods for Astrophysics (compulsory)
- Stellar Structure and Evolution (compulsory)
- Solar System (compulsory)
Chose one from
- MSc Astrophysics Research Project (compulsory)
- Astrophysical Plasmas (compulsory)
- Extrasolar Planets and Astrophysical Discs (compulsory)
Chose one from
Flexible Teaching Arrangements
A number of the modules in this programme are taught on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (14.00-16.00 lectures, 16.00-17.00 tutorial) and evenings (18.00-18.30 tutorial, 18.30-19.25 lecture, 19.35-20.30 lecture, 20.30-21.00 tutorial). So as to allow part time-students to complete two years of study without changing the days they attend, taught modules are swapped in alternate years between day of week and between afternoon and evening.
As some of the modules will not be taught in this pattern, part time students may have to attend more than just Tuesday or Thursdays afternoons or evenings in order to access the full range of modules.
Students wishing to take the MSc Astrophysics should normally have at least a 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent) in a subject with substantial Physics, Mathematics and/or Astronomy content. Students who do not qualify may wish to take the Postgraduate Certificate in Astronomy and Astrophysics (the first year of the MSc Astrophysics programme) which normally requires a degree (or equivalent) in a subject with a substantial Physics, Mathematics and/or Astronomy content.
Students who do sufficiently well in the Postgraduate Certificate examinations may be allowed to change their registration to the part time MSc Astrophysics and move into its second year.
Learning and teaching
As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a combination of lectures, exercises & tutorials. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.
Lectures consist of a member of academic staff delivering a formal lecture on a given topic. Tutorials are designed to support the lectures and provide students with an opportunity to consider examples and problems.
At university you are expected to undertake a large amount of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; doing exercises; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability. Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
The MSc programme, which starts in late September, is offered full-time over one year or part-time over two years.
MSc students are required to take eight taught modules (one MSc module typically comprises 22 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials given in a 11 week semester), and in addition to undertake a project and write this up in the form of a dissertation (completed during the summer).
Tuition fees for Home and EU students2019/20 Academic Year
Full time £9,900
Part time £4,950
Tuition fees for International students2019/20 Academic Year
Full time £20,850
Part time £10,425
Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.
This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.
There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.
These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.
Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships
We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.
Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.
Alternative sources of funding
Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.
Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.
Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717
I enjoyed the lectures most. The level of detail that the lecturers would go into, really helped us gain a better understanding of Astrophysics, as a whole. The lecturers always spoke of research they had conducted themselves. For example, we were taught Electromagnetic Radiation in Astrophysics by the lecturer who discovered Proxima B! Really interesting to see how the work we do applies to the 'real world'.
I am now working in Camden at a start-up development agency, called Tech Alchemy. We focus primarily on developing technology for other companies. Some examples include web/mobile applications, websites and big data analytics. Additionally, we help start-ups develop their business by providing guidance on funding, planning and pitching.
I joined as a Data Scientist/Business Developer. (As it’s a small company, we all have multiple roles!) I work on any projects involving data, including sourcing, mapping and database structuring.
The skills I have picked up in Physics are invaluable, even if they are not directly related to what I’m doing now.
Physics has given me the patience to solve problems, given very little initial information. This is exactly what is needed for a career in data science. Although the Maths is different, the skills are transferable. Additionally, my Masters dissertation involved using MATLAB for complex mathematical modelling, which has helped with my current role, as well understanding how to use other computer programs for data structuring.
I think the dissertation portion of my degree has helped most with my career as it taught me to work independently, whilst still reporting to someone senior. It also taught me time management, as the dissertation lasted 6-8 months, which is similar to a data project I would do now.
The most beneficial aspect of the MSc is in my opinion the MSc project, which really provides the tools needed to excel in a research environment especially given that the supervisors at QMUL are really top of their field.
The MSc project was my first real taste of Astrophysics research and it's where I found my calling to further study the topic of planetary and satellite dynamics. The challenge and thrill provided by the MSc Astrophysics at QMUL is in my opinion second to none. It gives you a strong foundation in nearly all aspects of Astrophysics fields with breadth and depth that I didn't see at other institutions. This is why I chose to do it at QMUL.
At the moment I am doing a PhD at QMUL in satellite dynamics and evolution which is an area I'm quite passionate about. The work I'm doing is largely computational, in the form of simulations, using different software packages and writing my own programs to answer some of the outstanding questions regarding planetary moons in our Solar System.
My time at QMUL, both BSc and MSc programmes, were crucial in giving me the skills and motivation needed to progress onto a PhD. The skills I use on a daily basis from technical to problem solving are all derivative of what I have learned previously at QMUL and would not have been possible without it, obviously the PhD is a big step up, however I feel I have a strong foundation to support it.
Professor Matt Griffin
Currently Head of School, School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University
I enrolled at Queen Mary after four years in industry as an electronics engineer and studied part-time for an MSc in Astrophysics.
The MSc was a great programme: comprehensive, up to date, and well taught by experts, who were very encouraging and approachable - an ideal preparation for a PhD and what followed.
After graduating, I went on to a PhD position at Queen Mary and then to work as a postdoctoral researcher in both ground and space-based instrumentation and astronomy.