This is the online version of the Year Guide for First Year Astronomy. Look here for information about modules, teaching and learning resources, assessment details, deadlines for handing in assessed work, contact information for teaching, technical and secretarial staff, etc. We expect you to know everything contained in this guide, so check back regularly (especially the news) to see if anything has changed!
about the department
General information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy can be found in the Departmental web pages. We are a medium-sized department with a Grade 5 research rating and an excellent score in the teaching quality assessment exercise. The Astronomy research group includes 5 staff members, with a further 4 attached to the Particle Astrophysics group.
about the courseThe first year astronomy course consists of five 10-credit modules:
First year Dual Honours Astronomy students must take and pass all five modules (as well as the physics taught modules PHY101 and PHY102) to progress to second year. Other students are welcome to take one or more of the lecture-based modules PHY111, PHY104 and PHY106, with the caveat that PHY104 assumes that you have A level maths and physics. If you have not done A level maths, or if you hated it, PHY111 is your best bet. The maths content of PHY106 is also fairly limited and students who are not keen on maths should be OK there too.
The astronomy lab module PHY115 is not open to non-Dual Astronomy students, owing to space limitations. If you are a Single Honours Physics student who would like to transfer to Dual Physics and Astrophysics, you will have to cover the positional astronomy course in PHY115 in your own time. A web-based self-study version of the course is provided for this purpose, and the astronomy teaching staff will be happy to help if you get stuck. This course, which equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills to plan and carry out astronomical observations using a telescope, is essential preparation for the observational work you will undertake in years 2 and 3 of your degree programme. PHY116 is also open to Dual Astronomy students only, but the differences between this and PHY114 are fairly minor, and you do not need to do any extra work if you transfer either way.
Dual Honours students must also take 30 credits of mathematics modules (PHY112 and MAS165) in their first year. Mathematics is the language of the physical sciences, and it is essential that you acquire the necessary mathematical skills to tackle astronomical problems and applications.
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