night sky over tekapo church

Astronomy is the oldest science, seen as far back as ancient China and classical Greece through to the Renaissance, where Copernicus, Kepler and Newton made huge contributions to our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and planetary motion. But the science of Astrophysics, which seeks to explain the structure and evolution of the stars and other celestial objects by applying the principles of physics to interpret our observations, is little more than a century old.

Currently Astronomy is undergoing huge expansion as:

  • we can now view the Universe at all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • satellites can get above the atmosphere to detect gamma rays
  • on the ground huge telescope arrays many kilometres wide make exciting discoveries with radio waves
  • electronic detectors, known as CCDs, have replaced photography for optical observations in Astronomy and this data has led to new advances in our knowledge of the Universe.

A degree in Astronomy provides broad training in many branches of Physics as well as Astronomy, and graduates are highly employable in science, technology and computing industries. Graduates take on a broad range of careers.

Our researchers are engaged in internationally recognised work and postgraduate students have opportunities to take part in meaningful projects.

Astronomy study pathway

For prescribed courses for the Bachelor of Science in Astronomy please see the degree regulations on the University calendar.

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