Applied & Pure Sciences

Postgraduate courses in Astronomy

Have you a great interest in all things sun, moon, stars, planets and universe? If so, it sounds like Astrology could be the perfect course for you!

Below is some information to get you started on your course research.

What is Astronomy

Astronomy is the branch of science that looks at celestial objects, space and the physical universe as a whole. It is the study of everything in the universe that we can see such as the moon, the stars, the sun and planets. 

What is an Astronomer?

Astronomers are scientists who study the universe. They look at objects within the universe and how they work. Their goal is to push boundaries of human knowledge about the universe and continue to understand how it works. 

What does an astronomer do?

There are two kinds of astronomy you can work in. There is observational astronomy which involves discovery and research done through telescopes and cameras or there is theoretical astronomy which uses maths and computers in their research, observations and predictions.

Day to day tasks include:

  • Collecting and analysing data
  • Writing scientific articles
  • Planning and carrying out new projects
  • Work with other astronomers
  • Present findings and projects
  • Answer fundamental questions through your research
  • Putting your work into context with other astronomer’s work  


There are quite a few courses in Astronomy on offer in the UK. While a good Masters degree is mostly required to progress in your career to obtain a PhD, the selection of your course will be important if you are looking for a course that meets your interest and skills.

Examples of courses are:

Cultural Astronomy and Astrology

A course that combines astronomy and astrology looks at the ways in which human beings attribute meaning to the planets, stars, sky and constructs cosmologies which provide the basis for culture and society. 

Masters by Research Astronomy

Courses such as this one help students to develop extensive subject expertise. These courses allow students to undertake an individual research topic and will give the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed going forward in similar types of work in the future. 


Postgraduate astrophysics will see students carry out research in a broad range of areas in astrology and are often designed to help students gain a foundation to go on and study a PhD. Astrophysics looks at the application of laws and theories to interpretation of astronomical observations. 

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements in this field differ from university to university especially because in most cases, a PhD is required for employment in Astronomy. To apply for a masters degree, most universities require a second class honours degree (mostly a 2.1) in a relevant field. In some cases, a select few universities might not require a Master’s degree. However, a good Master’s Degree is more often than not necessary to apply. 

Due to the different requirements depending on the course you’re looking for, it is important to carry out as much research as possible when looking for the right course. Specific entry requirements can be found on university websites or course overviews. 

Salary Expectation 

The salary expectation for an astronomer with a PhD can earn between £28,000-£42,000. Astronomers with a PhD are generally more desired and will gain employment easier than those without. There is also the option of going into the education side and working in universities teaching students about astronomy or researching. Such work can earn up to £40,000 a year. 

Skills and Requirements 

  • A solid understanding of physics, maths, statistics and chemistry
  • Critical thinker
  • Research and analysis skills
  • IT skills
  • Be able to work well with others
  • Strong presentation skills
  • Strong written and verbal skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Ability to stay productive (some projects may take time but a lot of work)
  • Motivated to study and research 

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