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Postgraduate subject


Mātai Kōkōrangi

06 November 2023

Carry out intensive research on the Universe with access to advanced technologies.





Astronomy and astrophysics are concerned with the study of the nature and distribution of matter and radiation throughout all time and space in the Universe.

Astronomers have always been keen to harness the latest technological advances in their quest for ever more precise and revealing observations. As a consequence, astronomy in recent years has been one of the most rapidly expanding of all physical sciences and many exciting and unexpected discoveries continue to be made.


What will my study involve?

UC is the only university in Aotearoa New Zealand to offer the study of Astronomy at all levels.

Te Kura Matū | School of Physical and Chemical Sciences has an exciting programme of teaching and research, often using state-of-the-art facilities as part of its core work. These include:

  • field stations for meteor and atmospheric research, which are located at Te Mata Hāpuku Birdlings Flat, and at Scott Base, Antarctica
  • an internationally important astronomical observatory at Ōtehīwai Mount John, Takapō Tekapo, equipped with computer-controlled instruments and cryogenic detectors
  • UC-constructed Hercules, a high resolution spectograph to search for planets and do improved stellar astrophysics.

The School collaborates nationally and internationally as well. For example, we have a collaboration with Nagoya University in Japan, who installed a 1.8 metre telescope at Ōtehīwai Mount John for finding planets orbiting distant Milky Way stars.



UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Astronomy:


See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.

Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Astronomy

To complete a GradDipSc with an Astronomy focus, you will need to complete at least 60 points in 100-300 level ASTR courses throughout your degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the GradDipSc from Astronomy and/or other Science courses.

Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Astronomy

Complete 120 points made up from:


Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Astronomy

You need to complete at least 45 points in ASTR 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Astronomy and/or other Science courses.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Astronomy

At least 120 points is required for the major. Students can chose from two pathways:




Master of Science majoring in Astronomy

Part I of the MSc in Astronomy is 120 points (eight courses) from:


You will need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.

Part II requires ASTR690 MSc Thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Astronomy

In the PhD, you will complete a thesis of original research in the Astronomy field (ASTR790 Astronomy PhD).


Career opportunities

Students majoring in Astronomy acquire a wide range of skills, from the use of spectroscopic and photometric detector systems (and the analysis of the data obtained), through electronics and optics, to computer skills for analysis and interpretation of data. This produces a graduate who is well equipped to undertake employment not only in astronomy, but in any number of fields that require practical experience or that involve analysis of real data.

Studying Physics and Astronomy equips graduates with skills in problem solving, abstract thinking, evaluating, communicating, and decision making. It develops high levels of curiosity, inventiveness, and mathematical and computer competencies.

Graduates may follow traditional paths and work either as scientists, technicians, research assistants, engineers, astronomers, patent agents, technical authors, or even managers at an observatory or in an institute. However, many Astronomy graduates move into other fields, particularly computing and information technology, management, and science communication or media work. With some additional study, graduates can become meteorologists, geophysicists, material technologists, or medical physicists.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Astronomy.

Related brochures

Postgraduate Prospectus 2024

Whakatairanga Tāura

Download (application/pdf, 3 MB)

International Prospectus 2024/2025

Download (application/pdf, 6 MB)
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