Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics with a Year Abroad (MPhys)

University of Kent the United Kingdom

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The award
MPhys

How long you will study
4 Years

Domestic course fees
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How you will study
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Course starts
September

International course fees
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All study options

About Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics with a Year Abroad at University of Kent

You have access to first-class research facilities in our new laboratories, which are equipped for synthetic and analytical techniques ranging from soft organic polymers to nanoparticles to highly sensitive organometallic species. In this MPhys programme, core knowledge and skills are enhanced with the further in-depth training required for a science-based career, including the practical aspects of research. Reasons to study an Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics degree at Kent Study a wide range of modules and build your degree around your interests, including spacecraft design and operation and nuclear and particle physics. You’ll have access to our state-of-the-art teaching laboratories and research facilities including the Beacon Observatory, which provides a fully automised system with both optical and radio telescope capability You can get involved with real space missions from ESA and NASA, and can work on Hubble Telescope data   Our lecturers are both innovative teachers and active researchers working at the cutting-edge of research across a range of fields including quantum materials and space science. Join our student-run Physics, Space and Amateur Rocketry societies, who organise talks, practical demonstrations and social events.Build the connections that matter thanks to our links with optical laboratories, local health authorities, aerospace/defence industries and software and engineering companies. What you'll learn  In your first year, the focus is on the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and astronomy. These skills are developed further in your second year and third year, along with the chance to explore wider topics such as quantum physics, optics, observational astronomy, and stars, galaxies and the Universe. Our international exchange programme allows you to spend the third year of your degree studying abroad at one of our partner universities which include institutions in the US, Canada and Hong Kong.  In your final year you can study specialist modules such as advanced quantum mechanics, cosmology and Interstellar medium, rocketry and human spaceflight, and space astronomy and solar system science, as well as in undertaking an in-depth project with one of our cutting-edge research groups. See the modules you'll study You can also tailor your degree to suit you with a professional placement year or complete the MPhys without a year abroad.

Teaching is by lecture, laboratory sessions, and project and console classes. You have approximately nine lectures a week, plus one day of practical work. In addition, you have reading and coursework and practical reports to prepare. In the MPhys final year, you work with a member of staff on an experimental or computing project.

Assessment is by written examination at the end of each year, plus continuous assessment of written coursework. Practical work is examined by continuous assessment. The year abroad counts towards your final degree assessment.

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • Physical laws and principles, and their application to diverse areas of physics, including: electromagnetism, classical and quantum mechanics, statistical physics and thermodynamics, wave phenomena and the properties of matter as fundamental aspects, with additional material from nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter physics, materials, plasmas and fluids.
  • Aspects of theory and practice and a knowledge of key physics, the use of electronic data processing and analysis, and modern day mathematical and computational tools.
  • The fundamental laws and principles of physics and of astronomy, astrophysics and space science and their application.

Intellectual Skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • Identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
  • Solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
  • Execute and analyse critically the results of an experiment or investigation and draw valid conclusions, evaluate the level of uncertainty in these results and compare them with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data to evaluate the significance of the results in this context.
  • Use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour.
  • Comment critically on how spacecraft are designed, their principles of operation, and their use to access and explore space, and how telescopes are designed, their principles of operation, and their use in astronomy and astrophysics research.
  • Solve advanced problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools, translate problems into mathematical statements and apply knowledge to obtain order of magnitude or more precise solutions.
  • Interpret mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena.
  • Plan an experiment or investigation under supervision and to understand the significance of error analysis.
  • Have a working knowledge of a variety of experimental, mathematical and/or computational techniques applicable to current research within physics.
  • Enhanced knowledge of the science drivers that underpin government-funded research and the commercial activity that provides hardware or software solutions to challenging scientific problems in the fields of astronomy, space science and astrophysics.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • Competent use of appropriate C&IT packages/systems for the analysis of data and information retrieval.
  • The ability to present and interpret information graphically.
  • Communicate scientific information and produce clear and accurate scientific reports.
  • Familiarity with laboratory apparatus and techniques.
  • Systematic and reliable recording of experimental data.
  • The ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources.
  • Fluency in C&IT at the level and range needed for project work such as familiarity with a programming language, simulation software or the use of mathematical packages for manipulation and numerical solution of equations.
  • The ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, the conclusion of an experiment, investigation or project concisely, accurately and informatively.
  • Experimental methodology showing the competent use of specialised equipment, the ability to identify appropriate pieces of equipment and to master new techniques and equipment.
  • The ability to make use of research articles and other primary sources.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • Problem-solving, an ability to formulate problems in precise terms and identify key issues, the confidence to try different approaches to make progress on challenging problems, and numeracy.
  • Investigative skills in the context of independent investigation including the use of textbooks and other literature, databases, and interaction with colleagues to extract important information.
  • Communication: dealing with surprising ideas and difficult concepts, including listening carefully, reading demanding texts and presenting complex information in a clear and concise manner.
  • Analytical skills associated with the need to pay attention to detail, the ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and use technical language correctly.
  • The ability to work independently, to use initiative, meet deadlines and to interact constructively with other people.

The programme aims to:

  • Instil and/or enhance a sense of enthusiasm for physics by understanding the role of the discipline at the core of our intellectual knowledge of all aspects of nature and as the foundation of many of the pure and applied sciences.
  • Instil an appreciation of the subject’s application in different contexts, in an intellectually stimulating research-led environment.
  • Motivate and support students to realise their academic potential.
  • Provide a balanced foundation of physics knowledge and practical skills, and an understanding of scientific methodology.
  • Enable students to undertake and report on an experimental and/or theoretical investigation; in the case of the MPhys to base this in part on an extended research project.
  • Develop the ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding in physics to the solution of theoretical and practical problems in the subject.
  • Provide knowledge and a skills base from which students can proceed to further studies in specialised areas of physics or multidisciplinary areas involving physical principles; the MPhys is particularly geared for those wishing to undertake physics research.
  • Generate an appreciation of the importance of physics in the industrial, economic, environmental and social contexts.
  • Instil an appreciation of the subject through its application in current research.
  • Generate an appreciation of the importance of astronomy, astrophysics and space science and its role in understanding how the universe in which we live came about and how it continues to exist and develop.
  • Provide a grounding in space systems and technology, and the overlap between the science and commercial drivers in the aerospace industry.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMPhysHow you will study find outHow long you will study4 years
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Full Time UK/EU: TBC EUR | Full Time Overseas: TBC EUR

Entry requirements

Contact University of Kent to find course entry requirements.

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    “Professor Yong Yan has helped me to become a better researcher. I am inspired by his novel ideas and constructive suggestions. Under his supervision, my confidence has grown through such milestones as my first set of experiments, writing my first research paper and attending my first conference.”

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