Postgraduate taught 

Astrophysics MSc

MSc Project PHYS5021P

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides students with an opportunity to carry out an extended, in-depth research project embedded within one of the Department of Physics and Astronomy's internationally-leading research groups. In undertaking this project students will gain, within a first class training environment, subject-specific and generic skills that will form an excellent foundation for a career of scientific leadership in academia and industry.



Excluded Courses





1) Performance during project (40%)

2) Project dissertation (40%)

3) Oral presentation (20%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessment of the project dissertation and oral presentation is normally available for students on PGT degree programmes if they do not achieve an overall course grade of D3 at their first attempt.


It is not practical to reassess the project work.

Course Aims

(1) To provide advanced training and experience in the principles and practice of experimental, computational and/or theoretical (astro-)physics, using advanced instrumentation, methodology and software as appropriate, and in the critical analysis of experimental data.

(2) To develop problem solving abilities, critical assessment and communication skills, to a level appropriate for a career of leadership in academia or industry

(3) To employ these skills in preparing and writing a dissertation on an extended and demanding project.

(4) To encourage students to work effectively, to develop a professional attitude to what they do and to take full responsibility for their own learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

At the end of the course students should be able to:


(1) Recover, evaluate and summarise the professional literature and material from other sources concerned with a chosen area of physics or astronomy

(2) Prepare a written analysis of the current position in the chosen area, which should include a critical

comparison of material from the sources he/she has identified and a summary of likely future developments.

(3) Define, with the help of colleagues and taking into account the time available, a suitable area of work for a project and hence make a preliminary definition of goals to be achieved during the project

(4) Make an appropriate safety assessment for the work proposed; with the help of colleagues, analyse what experimental/theoretical/computational methods might be necessary to achieve the goals of the project and hence decide how the project tasks should be organised

(5) Perform the practical part of the investigation, taking due account of experimental errors of measurement and possible assumptions and approximations in analytical and computational work as appropriate

(5) Revise the goals and strategies for completion of the project in the light of results achieved and

difficulties encountered.

(6) Write a report on an extended piece of project work, which should include a critical evaluation of the significance of the work and how it compares with work done in the same area, both within the local area and as reported in the general scientific literature

(7) Prepare an abstract of the work performed of length about 250 words in the accepted scientific format.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits