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Master of Science in Astronomy

Key information

Level of study:
Master's Degree
Tuition fees:
Duration:
1 year
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Start date: Expected February-2022
Campus:
University of Canterbury
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Course details

Summary

The Master of Science usually consists of two parts: coursework and a thesis allowing for students to investigate areas of interest to them and conduct independent and original research. The MSc may be awarded with Distinction, Merit or Honours.

Part I of the MSc consists of coursework, while Part II consists of a thesis or dissertation. Coursework must be satisfactorily completed in Part I before the student can proceed to Part II. The requirements vary depending on your choice of subject, as some subjects require only Part II.

  • Part I and Part II must be completed in 2 years full-time
  • Part I must be completed full-time in 1 year.
  • Part II is completed full-time in 1–2 years.

Astronomy is 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 New Zealand to offer the study of Astronomy at all levels. School of Physical and Chemical Sciences has an exciting programme of teaching and research, often using state-of-the-art facilities as part of its core work. These include:

  • field stations for meteor and atmospheric research which are located at Scott Base, Antarctica
  • an internationally important astronomical observatory at Mount John, Tekapo, equipped with computer-controlled instruments and cryogenic detectors
  • UC constructed Hercules, a high resolution spectrograph to search for planets and do improved stellar astrophysics.

The school collaborates nationally and internationally. For example, we have a collaboration with Nagoya University in Japan, who installed a 1.8 meter telescope at Mount John for finding planets orbiting distant Milky Way stars.

Career opportunities

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 which require practical experience or which 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.

Start date: Monthly by arrangement with supervisor

Entry criteria

Candidates must have completed one of the following:

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours
  • Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Science
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Engineering Geology
  • or any bachelor's degree and a qualifying programme.

Students who have qualified for a Bachelor of Science with Honours or Postgraduate Diploma in Science can complete the MSc by Part II only (thesis-only) in their subject.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 90, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 58 and no communicative skills score below 50.

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