• Total units 24 Units
  • Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mathematics, Physics
  • Specialisation code ASAP-SPEC

Corequisite majors: Physics , Mathematics

Astronomy and astrophysics is the study of everything beyond the Earth. It includes space exploration, planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, dark matter, quasars, cosmology and the Big Bang. Astronomers work in universities, at observatories, for various space agencies such as NASA and ESA, and at planetariums and science centres. Many ANU astronomy and astrophysics graduates can be found in these occupations.

Training in astronomy and astrophysics leaves you highly employable in many other fields. Astronomy graduates have mastered a wide range of mathematical, scientific, engineering and computational skills; this combination is very unusual and is much sought after by employers in diverse fields.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Use their knowledge and understanding of the key principles of all major areas of contemporary astronomy and astrophysics to critically analyse papers in the research literature, and to provide a foundation for original, advanced research.
  2. Apply physical, mathematical and computational techniques to the solution of complex astrophysical problems.
  3. Use statistical and computational techniques to analyse and interpret astronomical data and simulation results, with a realistic understanding of inherent limitations.
  4. Work effectively as an individual and as part of a team, in a variety of disciplinary contexts.
  5. Communicate and present their knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics clearly to diverse audiences.

Other Information

What courses should you take in first year if interested in this specialisation?

Additional advice: 

  • A specialisation in Astronomy and Astrophysics must be taken in conjunction with a Physics or Mathematics Major.
  • Depending on which sequence of 3000-level ASTR courses students want to take, PHYS2013 and MATH2305, and PHYS2020 and MATH2306 might also be required in their second (or subsequent) year of study. For students pursuing this specialisation through the PHYS-MAJ, 4 x MATH courses (MATH1013/MATH1115 and MATH1014/MATH1116, MATH2305 and MATH2306) will be required and can contribute to a MATH-MIN; for students pursuing this specialisation through the MATH-MAJ, students will need to complete at least 2 x PHYS courses (PHYS1101 and PHYS1201), which can contribute to a PHYS-MIN.
  • Depending on the co-requisite major, this specialisation might not be compatible with some Flexible Double Degree combinations due to the number of courses needed to satisfy all requirements.

Students wanting to undertake this specialisation should seek academic advice from the academic convener of the Astronomy and Astrophysics specialisation early in their degree. For students contemplating an Honours degree and/or graduate work in astronomy and astrophysics the fundamental requirement is a strong undergraduate program in physics and mathematics. The purpose of this specialisation is to provide you with sufficient background in astronomy and astrophysics so that you can confidently undertake significant research in this exciting discipline. Statistical analysis and computing are also important in astrophysical research and we strongly recommend that, if possible, you include at least some of STAT1003, STAT3008, COMP1730 and MATH3511 in your program of study.

Academic or enrolment advice:

Students can seek further advice from the academic contact for this specialisation (details above), or the College of Science Student Services Team (students.cos@anu.edu.au).

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This specialisation may only be undertaken in conjunction with one of the following majors:

 This specialisation requires the completion of 24 units, which must consist of:

6 units from the completion of compulsory course:

ASTR2013 Foundations of Astrophysics (6 units)

A minimum of 6 units from the completion of courses from the following list:

ASTR3002 Galaxies and Cosmology (6 units)

ASTR3007 Stars (6 units)

ASTR3013 Astrophysical Processes (6 units)

A minimum of 6 units from the completion of courses from the following list:

ASTR3005 Astrophysics Research Topic (6 units)

EMSC3022 Planetary Science (6 units)

MATH3511 Scientific Computing (6 units)

PHYS3203 General Relativity (6 Units)

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
ASTR3002 Galaxies and Cosmology 6
ASTR3007 Stars 6

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
ASTR3005 Astrophysics Research Topic 6
EMSC3022 Planetary Science 6
MATH3511 Scientific Computing 6
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