• Offered by Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics

This course is usually offered every even year (eg 2018)

This course covers the basics of star formation and the transition to planet formation. The course provides an initial survey of the physical processes that govern star-forming clouds, including magnetohydrodyanmic turbulence, gravitational instability, non-ideal MHD effects, and radiative transfer by molecules and dust grains. It then covers the star formation process starting at galactic scales and working down to the scales of individual stars and their disks, touching on topics including: star formation laws; molecular cloud formation, evolution, and disruption; collapse, fragmentation, and the origin of the initial mass function; protostellar disks and outflows; pre-main sequence stellar evolution; massive stars and feedback; and the dispersal of disks and the onset of planet formation.
This course is co-taught with Honours students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will:

  1. Understand and examine the physical processes – magnetohydrodynamics, gravity, radiation, and chemistry – that govern the process of star formation.
  2. Be able to describe and apply the observational phenomenology of, and observational techniques used to study star formation.
  3. Understand, be able to describe and critically examine the major theoretical models for star formation at scales from galaxies to single stars.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • 5 problem sets (40%, LO1-3)
  • In-class presentation (30%, LO1-3)
  • Oral final exam (30%, LO1-3)

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10 hours per week consisting of 4 hours of lectures and tutorials and 6 hours of work on assignments.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in the course you must be currently enrolled in the Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Advanced).

Prescribed Texts

Notes on Star Formation, Krumholz, M., Open Astrophysics Bookshelf, 2015

Preliminary Reading

None specified

None specified

Assumed Knowledge

Bachelor of Science or equivalent with a major in physics or mathematics with relevant experience or academic achievement. Students should have basic familiarity with computer programming.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9198 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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