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Programme Specification: Part II Astrophysics

This course is taught by the Institute of Astronomy.


  1. to encourage work of the highest quality in astrophysics and maintain Cambridge's position as one of the world's leading centres in the field;
  2. to continue to attract outstanding students from all backgrounds;
  3. to provide an intellectually stimulating environment in which students have the opportunity to develop their skills and enthusiasms to the best of their potential;
  4. to maintain the highest academic standards in undergraduate and graduate teaching and to develop new areas of teaching and research in response to the advance of scholarship.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should have:

  1. obtained an introduction from the course as a whole to astrophysics, emphasising the very wide range of applicability of concepts from many areas in physics;
  2. obtained experience of independent investigation, either through reading for and preparing an essay or through completion of a computational project;
  3. developed their appreciation of general reasoning in the physical sciences;
  4. developed transferable skills.

Teaching and learning methods

These include lectures, supervisions, and guidance in producing essays and computational projects.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • four unseen written examinations (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1, 3 and 4);
  • either a dissertation of not more than 5000 words, based on a literature survey (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1-4);
  • or computational projects (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 2-4).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: None.
Recommended: either Part IB of the NST, including Physics A, Physics B and Mathematics;
or Part IB of the Mathematical Tripos.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.