Certificate of Higher Education in Astronomy Course - VSASTR511

On this award you will study 6 modules (120 credits) at HE Level 4 - Year 1 undergraduate level. It is equivalent to the first year of a full time astronomy degree programme. You can choose 6 from the 8 UCLan Level 4 modules or accredit up to 80 credits of appropriate prior learning from other institutes. AA1051 (Introduction to Astronomy) or its equivalent is core to the CertHE. You need to have completed at least 40 credits before enrolling for the CertHE. You can incorporate any University Certificates already awarded in prior education and studies.

Modules on this Astronomy Course:

Introduction to Astronomy - AA1051

In this module you will study both observational and theoretical aspects of astronomy, including the night sky, telescopes, stars, stellar lifetimes and energy sources, galaxies and cosmology. You do not need to have your own telescope or binoculars to complete this module. Students are invited to an optional weekend course at the University's Alston Observatory.

This is the module we use to introduce students to the central ideas of astronomy at first year university level. It takes a quantitative scientific approach and you will need to use maths to solve problems from the outset.

Tutor: Megan Argo

Level: 1          Credits: 20

Introduction to Cosmology - AA1053

This module begins to explain how the Universe began and subsequently developed to its present observed form. You will learn how the Big Bang created all elementary particles, about processes that led to the formation of today's galaxies, galaxy clusters and larger-scale structures, and how we can probe the cosmological history of the Universe.

Assessments include a researched essay  and questions sheets containing a mix of problems requiring maths and explanations.

Tutor: Roger Clowes

Level: 1          Credits: 20

IT for Astronomy - AA1055

Gain an introduction to the application of Information Technology in astronomy. After a brief review of   office applications, the module provides notes and practical exercises in the astronomical application of IT. Self-study exercises are biased towards applications appropriate for astronomy and cosmology, using Internet resources.

Tutor: Jason Kirk

Level: 1          Credits: 20

Energy, Matter and the Universe - AA1056

You will acquire a quantitative understanding of the physical and mathematical concepts underlying astrophysical processes and a foundation for study at Levels 5 and 6  in astronomy.

You will cover fundamental physical forces, equations of motion, elementary particles and the electromagnetic nature of light. Appropriate mathematics, such as vectors, trigonometry and calculus, are introduced as the topics require.

Tutor: Anne Sansom

Level: 1          Credits: 20

Investigations in Astronomy - AA1057

As part of a larger award, you have an opportunity for a more detailed investigation into the topics of the other modules. You will normally cover three topics which might be: the astronomical distance ladder, exploration of the Cosmic Microwave background, the development of large ground-based telescopes, active galaxies, galactic structure and space technology.


Level: 1          Credits: 20

Sun, Earth and Climate - AA1058

Starting with an exploration of the Sun, Earth and Climate as complex systems, this module then looks at the interactions that cause them to be interlinked. You will study developments on astronomical, geological, historical and annual time scales and gain an understanding of the context of such matters as climate change and space weather. Practical exercises extend this understanding and develop appropriate scientific skills.

Tutor: Aimila Smyrli, Silvia Dalla

Level: 1          Credits: 20

Introduction to Astrobiology - AA1059

This introduction to astrobiology course provides you with a basic knowledge of chemistry and astronomy appropriate for the understanding of the biochemistry underpinning life in the Universe.

You will explore the definitions of life as we currently understand them, our understanding of how life started and evolved in the Universe and the astronomical sites that could support the basic life processes.

Assessment includes experimental reports  requiring analysis of data and question sheets including a mix of problems and explanations.


Tutor: Dimitris Stamatellos

Level: 1          Credits: 20

Great Astronomers in History - AA1066

You will explore the discoveries of key European astronomers in the context of the times they worked in. Starting with the nature and history of science, you will work from the Ancient Greeks through Nicholas Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Jeremiah Horrocks, Isaac Newton and William Herschel to an understanding of the the progress of both scientific discovery and the changing view of science.

Assessment involves a researched essay, a book review and a role-play letter. This module requires good skills in written English, but no maths.

Tutor: Paul Marston

Level: 1          Credits: 20