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Durham University

Postgraduate Modules 2019/2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run in each academic year. Each module description relates to the year indicated in the module availability box. Please be aware that modules may change from year to year, and may be amended to take account of, for example: changing staff expertise, disciplinary developments, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

Department: Physics

PHYS51545: Astrophysics

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 45 Availability Available in 2019/20



Excluded Combination of Modules


  • Introduction to the basic research skills needed by postgraduate research students; develop general background.


  • This module teaches you state-of-the-art research and science across a broad range of astrophysics, from stellar populations to galaxy formation and high-energy astrophysics.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Basic computing, accessing databases, scripts, presentation skills, specific research background.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Basic computing
Key Skills:
  • Presentation skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Stellar structure and evolution 4 1 per week 60 minutes 4
Stellar Populations 4 1 per week 60 minutes 4
AGN and black holes 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Cosmology 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Galaxy Formation 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
The Intergalactic Medium and the Interstellar Medium 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
The Milky Way 4 1 per week 60 minutes 4
Large-scale structure 6 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Clusters and Groups of Galaxies 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Gravitational lensing 4 1 per week 60 minutes 4
The high-z universe 4 1 per week 60 minutes 4
Instrumentation in astronomy 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Stellar dynamics 8 2 per week 60 minutes 8
Cosmological simulations 12 3 per week 60 minutes 12
Self-study and reading 354

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Astro miniproject 1 33%
Astro miniproject 2 67%

Formative Assessment:

Through unmarked homework and feedback on the miniproject

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

    If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our User Guide. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the User Guide, or a query about the Postgraduate Module Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.