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.
- UC is the only university in Aotearoa New Zealand to offer the study of Astronomy at all levels.
- Our students study the cutting-edge science of astrophysics, learning about things like our Solar System; distant planetary systems; the evolution of stars, from formation to their violent deaths; pulsars and black holes; galaxy formation and evolution; and cosmology, from the Big Bang to the ultimate future of the Universe.
- Students get hands on experience using telescopes and instrumentation at the University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory, and learn modern computational data analysis techniques.
- A UC Astronomy degree is based on Physics, the ultimate problem-solving science. Our graduates are equipped to enter all sorts of fields, from Science through to Engineering and Finance.
Year 13 mathematics and physics are strongly recommended for ASTR 112 Astrophysics.
Certain courses require a background in Year 13 physics and calculus.
For the major in the Bachelor of Science, complete the following courses:
- ASTR 112 Astrophysics
- PHYS 101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves and Thermal Physics
- PHYS 102 Engineering Physics B: Modern Physics and Electromagnetism (2)
- MATH 102 Mathematics 1A
- MATH 103 Mathematics 1B
- COSC 131 Introduction to Programming for Engineers
- PHYS 285 Technical and Professional Skills for Physicists
- MATH 201 Multivariable Calculus
- ASTR 211 Observational Astronomy OR ASTR 212 Dynamical Astronomy and the Solar System
- Three 200-level PHYS courses
- ASTR 381 Advanced Experiments in Physics and Astronomy
- PHYS 310 Thermal, Statistical and Particle Physics
- ASTR 323 Stellar Structure and Evolution OR ASTR 325 The Structure and Evolution of Galaxies
- One 300-level PHYS course
If you intend to go onto postgraduate study, it is recommended that you include PHYS 326 Classical Mechanics and Symmetry Principles, or you can take PHYS 456 in the first your of your postgraduate degree.
For the minor in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Social and Environmental Sustainability, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, complete the following courses:
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.
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