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Programme Specification: Part III Astrophysics

This course is taught by the Institute of Astronomy.

Aims (common to both Part II and Part III)

  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.

Learning outcomes

Students completing the fourth year should have:

  1. had experience of a number of areas of astrophysics from a choice of options taken to an advanced level, at which current research can be appreciated in some depth;
  2. carried out a substantial research project amounting to about 1/3 of the work in the course;
  3. enhanced their communications skills;
  4. become well prepared for a career in academic research or one where independent research skills are required.

Teaching and learning methods

These include lectures and examples classes, and guidance in undertaking research projects.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • a written examination for each chosen lecture course. Two or three hours are allocated per paper depending on the subject (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1, 3 and 4);
  • a written report on the research project, and an oral presentation based on it (for aims 1- 4 and learning outcomes 1-4).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: NST Part II Astrophysics or Mathematics Tripos Part II or NST Part II Physics with good performances in Relativity and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics.

The detailed entry requirements can be found at The Fourth Year - Part III.

Additional Information

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