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Whilst there is no limit on the number of lecture courses you attend, you are limited by the number you offer for examination, which must not exceed 15 units in total. The majority of courses you choose for examination must be drawn from our Recommended Course List. However, you may also choose to be examined in one additional course (maximum 3 units) from either the full suite of Part III Mathematics courses or the Part III Physics courses.

Quality marks are averaged linearly, weighted by number of units, including 6 units for the project and the best combination of 11, 12 or 13 units from the exam papers to obtain a final quality mark on which the examiners base their assessment for the class list.

Assuming the sufficeint number of 2 and 3 unit courses are available, the units could be distributed as follows:

Total Units 2-Unit Courses 3-Unit Courses Total Courses
15 6 1 7
3 3 6
  5 5
14 7   7
4 2 6
1 4 5
13 5 1 6
5 1 6
2 3 5
12 6   6
3 2 5
  4 4


4 1 5
1 3 4


As the courses offered in Part III vary from year to year, students should consult the Part III Coordinator or their DoS for guidance in choosing examinations.

Important Documents

Useful Links


In order to enrol for an examination that is not the recommended list, you must notify the IoA Undergraduate Office no later than 1 week before the relevant student enrolment deadline, outlined below. Your request will then be sent to the Course Coordinator for approval and once granted, your College will be asked to submit an Exam Enrolment Correction Form prior to the enrolment deadline.


All Mathematics courses are examined in June. Courses of 24 lectures count as 3 units and are examined by a 3-hour paper. Courses of 16 lectures count as 2 units and are examined by a 2-hour paper. Mathematics courses timetabled at the same time will be examined at the same time and so only one of each can be chosen for examination.

The Mathematics Faculty requests Part III/MASt Astrophysics students confirm their course choices for examination via an Exam Choices Submission Form. Full instructions on how to do this will be emailed to all students in late April/early May.

Students must not enrol on CamSIS for Maths exam papers as this may affect your enrolment record on the system, causing issues when scheduling and marking examinations. Should your college ask you to enrol for these examinations, please refer them to this page.

Physics (Major and Minor Courses)

The Physics Major courses are examined in January. These courses consist of 24 lectures, count as 3 units and are examined by a 2-hour paper at the beginning of the Lent term. Part III/MASt students will be asked to enrol for these examinations in the middle of the Michealmas term. The enrolments will then need to be approved by their DoSes approximately 1 week later. Students should also register for their subject on CamSIS – either the NST3AS (Part III Astrophysics) or MAAS (Master of Advanced Study in Astrophysics) – and also the research project.

The Physics Minor courses are examined early in the Easter Term. These courses consist of 16 lectures, count as 2 units and are examined by a 1.5-hour paper at the beginning of the Easter term. Part III/MAST will be asked to enrol for these examinations in the middle of the Lent term. The enrolments will then need to be approved by their DoSes approximately 1 week later.

Specific enrolment dates will be sent to students closer to the time and will also be published by Student Registry, here.



The use of electronic calculators will NOT be permitted in any papers set for the Mathematical Tripos.


For all Part III Physics examinations, the following calculators marked in the approved manner are permitted:  

  • CASIO fx 991 (any version)
  • CASIO fx 115 (any version)
  • CASIO fx 570 (any version)

It is the responsibility of each student to equip themselves with a suitable calculator as described.

Each such calculator permitted in an examination must be marked by the Department in the approved fashion so that they are clearly identified as being permitted during the examination.  No other calculator may be brought into the examination.

Approved calculators, marked in the approved fashion, will be on sale from the Department of Physics, Bragg Building (Natural Sciences Tripos). Approved calculators bought elsewhere will need to have the approved marking applied by the Department.

Special Exam Arrangements & Mitigation

Any student who believes there are circumstances that require special treatment by the examiners should contact their Tutor as soon as they realise there is a problem, whether this is before, during or after the exams. Your tutor will be able to discuss with you a number of existing mechanisms of support for the examination period. Click here for full details.


All marks, including those from the Physics Major option papers, will be released to Part III/MASt Astrophysics students after the final examiners' meeting in June. This decision has been taken to ensure fairness to those students not taking Physics Major options and who do not receive any indicative marks in advance of exam choices in May.

The Part III/MASt Prize

The Institute of Astronomy Prize is awarded annually to that candidate for Astrophysics in Part III of the Natural Sciences Tripos or a Master of Advanced Study in Astrophysics candidate who has, in the judgement of the Examiners shown the greatest distinction in that examination, provided that his or her work is of sufficient merit.

The value of the Prize for the academic year 2023/24 is £500.


Examinations are a University matter and covered by strict regulations. Whether you have a complaint or not, you should not, under any circumstances, seek to discuss your examination result with your examiners. The University has a standard procedure for dealing with complaints about examination results.

The various steps in the procedure are time-limited and you should therefore immediately discuss the matter with your College Tutor, who will advise you further. You should note that any investigation by the University will usually confine itself to seeing that the examiners acted correctly (for example that all the marks you received were entered into the mark book) and not try to second-guess the examiners by remarking your papers.