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MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )




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).

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

Key Features

  • 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

Research areas

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.

School Highlights

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.


Starts: late September

Full-time duration: one year

Part time: two years


You will be required to take eight taught modules. For reference please see details of Astrophysics modules offered in the 2016-7 academic year 

You will also write a dissertation on an astrophysical project of theoretical, computational, or observational nature. The dissertation is completed during the summer and submitted by 31 August in the final year.


Each of module typically comprises 22 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorial time over the course of the year.

Lectures & Tutorials are given in two 11-week semesters 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. 

Full-time MSc students must attend all lectures (on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and evenings).

Part-time MSc students must attend over two years in any schedule as long as they maintain the same schedule in both years - for example:

  • all teaching on Tuesday and Thursday evenings - suitable those in full-time employment
  • all teaching on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons - suitable those unavailable on evenings
  • all teaching on Tuesdays (afternoon and evening) on either Tuesdays or Thursdays - suitable those who want to minimise travel costs
  • all teaching on Thursdays (afternoon and evening) on either Tuesdays or Thursdays - suitable those who want to minimise travel costs

As each module moves Tue<=>Thu and afternoon<=>evening in alternate years any of these options allow all 8 modules to be taken over a 2-year period.

Modules are chosen in consultation with the MSc Astrophysics Programme Director.

Entry requirements

Students wishing to take the MSc Astrophysics should normally 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.

Independent Study

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 students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,900
Part time £4,950

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £20,850
Part time £10,425


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.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas 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


Professor Matt Griffin

MSc Astrophysics

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.


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