University of Sussex

University of Sussex


The course is intended for Honours graduates with an applied mathematics- or physics-based degree who wish to learn how to apply their knowledge to astronomy. It covers the major fields of astronomy and astrophysics at an advanced level, with an emphasis in the lecture modules on theoretical astronomy. Teaching is by lectures, exercise classes, seminars and personal supervision.

Entry requirements

A 1st- or 2nd-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.

Course modules

Course structure (full time): Your time is split equally between taught modules and a research project. You have a supervisor who oversees your work in general and is responsible for supervision of your project. Supervisors and topics are allocated, in consultation with you, early in 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 the 4 core modules: astrophysics; advanced astrophysics; cosmology; galaxies and the universe. Most of these modules comprise 24 lectures and 11 problem classes. You also choose 2 options from a range of modules available. 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.

Assessment methods

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.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (England) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 17,850 per Year 1 (International) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Scotland) 12 months
MSc Full-time October 2016 GBP 6,060 per Year 1 (Wales) 12 months
MSc Part-time October 2016 - 24 months

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Key information

Telephone number: 
01273 873254