Astronomy is the study of the physical universe, from the Earth and the solar system to galaxies at the edge of the cosmos. Astronomers observe the universe across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and indeed beyond.
In first year you will survey the observable universe on all scales – from planets through stars and galaxies to cosmology – and gain a basic understanding of the core theoretical and observational principles of modern astronomy.
Typical courses include: Dynamical and positional astronomy, Observational astronomy, The solar system, The stars, Compact objects, and Galaxies and cosmology.
You will also study two other subjects of your choice in year 1: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
In second year you will study key aspects of astronomy and astrophysics in greater depth and undergo further training in the use of optical and radio telescopes.
Typical courses include: Theoretical astrophysics, Observational astrophysics, Stars and their spectra, and Relativity and cosmology.
You will also study one or two other subjects in year 2: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
Years 3, 4 and 5
If you successfully complete the courses in years 1 and 2, you may progress to Honours (years 3 and 4). Astronomy can only be taken as a Joint Honours degree with either Physics or Mathematics – it cannot be taken as a Single Honours degree.
In Honours your studies will include modern observational methods and you will undertake project work using advanced astronomical instrumentation and data analysis techniques. Your core courses will be supplemented by options enabling you to follow your particular areas of interest. All courses include training in transferable skills such as teamwork, presentation and technical writing.
There is an opportunity to take an MSci degree which explores astronomy topics in greater depth. In the final year of the MSci degree you will carry out an individually supervised project, working at the cutting edge of international research.
Astronomy lectures are complemented by our observatory, planetarium and telescope facilities. We have close links with the Glasgow Science Centre, home to one of the UK’s best planetariums.
The University is part of the Scottish Universities’ Physics Alliance (SUPA), a group of eight university physics and astronomy departments which aims to place Scotland at the international forefront of research in physics and astronomy.
Our staff have strong international links across a wide range of research fields. Many of our staff play leading roles in major international research projects, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the worldwide collaboration searching for gravitational waves.
You will have the opportunity to undertake part of your degree abroad.
The scientific knowledge and mathematical and analytical skills you acquire could find you working across a wide range of industries. Many of our graduates choose to continue their studies for a higher degree such as an MSc or a PhD in a specialised area of astronomy, or a related subject, before entering the job market.
This degree programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics.
Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2014
Highers: AAAA or AAABB (including two science subjects) in first sitting = unconditional offer.
Applicants who achieved AAAB or AABBB (including two science subjects) at their first sitting WILL receive an offer from the University. This offer may be conditional (on second sitting results) or unconditional, depending on how many applications are received from students who have attained these grades.
Additional offers, either conditional or unconditional, MAY be made to applicants who achieved between ABBB and AABB (including two science subjects) at their first sitting. A decision re these applications will be made in March 2014 once all applications have been reviewed.
Applicants who receive an offer conditional on second sitting results will be required to study Advanced Highers in relevant subjects as an integral part of their conditional offer.
A-levels: AAB, including Mathematics and preferably one other science subject and GCSE Physics at B.
IB: A minimum of 34 points is required to be considered for an offer. Actual offers will specify subjects and grades to be attained at Higher Level.
English language requirements
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):
- overall score 6.5
- no sub-test less than 6.0
- or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)
Common equivalent English language qualifications:
- ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): B minimum
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): C minimum
- PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
What do I do if...
my language qualifications are below the requirements?
The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.
my language qualifications are not listed here?
Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk
If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:
my academic qualifications are below the requirements?
Glasgow International College offers Foundation courses to upgrade your academic qualifications.
Visa requirements and proof of English language level
It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.
For further information about English language, please contact the Language Centre.