Astronomy is a well-represented subject among undergraduate degree programmes in the UK. If you wish to study astronomy at undergraduate level in the UK, you can do so by taking a course at a university or a college. Studying on-line as a distance learning student may also be an option. Astronomy is a specialist subject, and the best programmes are often offered by institutions with a dedicated Department of Astronomy and/or Astrophysics. You may be able to study astronomy as part of a joint or combined degree at Honours or Ordinary level.
The University of Glasgow offers a 4-year Bachelor of Science and a 5-year Master of Science joint Honours degree which includes Astrology with one other subject. The joint subjects currently offered are applied mathematics and physics. The University is a member of the Scottish Universities’ Physics Alliance (SUPA) which aims to promote Scotland as an internationally recognised centre for astronomical and physics research. To be accepted onto an astronomy degree at the University of Glasgow, you will need to have obtained ABBB in Scottish Highers, preferably with 2 science subjects, or AAB at A-level with 2 science subjects.
The University of Sheffield Department of Physics and Astronomy offer Bachelor of Science and Master of Physics degrees in mathematics and astronomy. These are joint Honours degrees that run for 3 years and 4 years respectively. The Department has facilities which include a network of powerful computer workstations, and an array of telescopes, including a 0.6m computer-controlled observatory in the nearby Peak District and a 0.36m reflector on the roof of the physics building.
Third year students have the opportunity to participate in a field trip to Tenerife over the Easter period. Students taking the MPhys course may have an opportunity to take a 1-year placement at the Isaac Newton Group of Telescope observatory on La Palma. To be accepted onto one of these courses at the University of Sheffield, applicants will require Scottish Highers of AABB - AAAB (plus at least 2 subjects at Advanced Higher level), or ABB at A-level.
For those who wish to continue working while studying, distance learning may be the ideal option. This enables you to study in your own home, with support on-line and by telephone from specialist tutors. The Open University has been offering distance learning courses at undergraduate level for over 30 years. The certificate in astronomy and planetary science currently offered by the Open University enables students to acquire 60 credits at level 5 on the QCF scale. This course can be taken as a stand-alone qualification, or be used towards a full undergraduate degree with the Open University by taking other modules with the relevant number of credits at each level. Some Universities also accept Open University study to enable accelerated entry to some of their degree courses, such is the accepted calibre of Open University teaching.
Other universities offering Astronomy at undergraduate level in the UK include St Andrew’s University in Scotland, the University of Sussex, the University of Essex, and Queen’s University Belfast.