Introduction to Astrophysics (F3237)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

On this module, you’ll learn about the contents, dimensions and history of the Universe, primarily at a descriptive level.

You’ll gain an understanding of the basic laws of physics to better understand the study of the universe through simple calculations.

This module covers:

  • light: properties, generation, propagation, detection and quantification
  • astronomical quantities: magnitudes, colours and celestial coordinate systems
  • exploring the Universe: modern observatories (including cosmic ray, neutrinos, and gravitational wave observatories), space probes, and the history of telescopes and detectors
  • gravity: historical models of the Solar System, orbits, astrodynamics and tidal forces
  • the Solar System: The Sun, inner planets, outer planets and minor bodies
  • exoplanets: their detection and characterisation
  • stars: classification, formation, evolution, stellar populations and binary star systems
  • galaxies: types, distance, formation and structure
  • cosmology: dynamics of the Universe, the Big Bang, and cosmic microwave background.


69%: Lecture
31%: Practical (Workshop)


20%: Coursework (Portfolio)
80%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 106 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: