Galactic Astrophysics (889F3)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This module introduces the theoretical background required for a quantitative understanding of the structure and components of galaxies, as well as feedback processes driving the recycling of material between the interstellar medium (ISM) and the surrounding intergalactic medium.

The equations of stellar kinematics will be used to describe orbital solutions leading to common stellar components like disks and bulges. The Jeans Theorems will be used to develop the equations of stellar dynamics and to build self-consistent galaxy models.

The equations of fluid dynamics will be used to investigate hydrostatic solutions and various types of instability, and these will be related to different components and physical processes occurring in the ISM.

Finally, you will review how stars and/or supermassive black holes inject mass and energy into the ISM and how this feedback plays a key role in the constant exchange of material inside galaxies with their surroundings.

The theoretical concepts discussed in this module will be used to link the taught content to modern astronomical observations of galaxies and their building blocks at both low and high redshift.


67%: Lecture
33%: Practical (Workshop)


30%: Coursework (Problem set)
70%: Examination (Take away paper)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: