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Lecture Courses

Taught over the Michaelmas and Lent terms, the Part II syllabus is composed of eight examinable and two non-examinable courses (Introduction to Astrophysics and Classical Dynamics), each consisting of 24 lectures. Four of the lecture courses are unique to Astrophysics. The rest are courses shared with Part II Mathematics* or Physics**.

The examinable courses come in two flavours, those which teach the fundamental physics underlying the rest of the course:

  • Relativity**
  • Principles of Quantum Mechanics*
  • Statistical Physics*
  • Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics**

and those which apply these concepts to particular astronomical subject area:

  • Stellar Dynamics and Structure of Galaxies
  • Structure and Evolution of Stars
  • Topics in Astrophysics
  • Introduction to Cosmology

The style throughout requires minimal memorisation of descriptive terminology and avoids the simple quoting and application of complicated formulae. Rather, lecturers will concentrate on the derivations of fundamentals from first principles, and the teaching of basic understanding.

For further details of each course, please choose one of the following:

Useful Links


Supervisions in Part II are organised by the Department on behalf of the Colleges. There are normally 4 supervisions for each course, and a typical session consists of two or three students working with their supervisor to going over an example sheet set by the course lecturer.  Part II supervisors tend to be College or University lecturers (including the course lecturer, who typically supervises two groups from their course) or research students.

To get the most out of a supervision, you will need to work with your supervisor and take an active part in the sessions. If you find that you come away from the supervision without adequate notes, you should discuss the matter with the supervisor either by e-mail or at the beginning of the next supervision. It is also essential that you hand in work by the time specified by your supervisor, as this will give them adequate time to review your answers and tailor the session to your particular needs.


Questionnaires will be distributed at the end of each of the lecture course, giving you the opportunity to tell us, and the lecturers, what you thought of each course. The questionnaires contains questions to help elicit your opinion, along with space for you to add extra comments to anything you wish. The questionnaire results will be read carefully by the Course Coordinator and the Head of the Teaching Committee, and will also be reviewed by the course lecturers themselves. There is also a Part II meeting during the Easter Term with Course Coordinator, Senior Examiners and the Head of the Teaching Committee, where so you can give feedback on your course overall.

However, if something needs changing, we encourage you to tell us about it as soon as possible. Tell us over coffee, contact the Undergraduate Student Coordinator or mention it to your Representative for the IoA Teaching Committee.