This Unit aims to provide an introduction to cosmology, including the physics of the early Universe, dark matter and dark energy, and the evolution of the observed large-scale structure.

Teaching periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Appraise and state a conceptual knowledge of space-time and how it has evolved, its observational and theoretical basis
  • Explain and summarise basic cosmology concepts such as the big bang model and cosmic inflation, dark matter and dark energy, with the ability to discuss them in a non- technical way
  • Distinguish and summarise the major unresolved questions in cosmology
  • Appraise and explain the tools with which we probe the large-scale structure of the universe, including large galaxy surveys and supercomputer simulations in a non- technical way understandable to the wider public
  • Use problem solving skills to explain and synthesise solutions to problems in cosmology
  • Design and create a research project on an astronomy topic, assessing and critiquing current knowledge, using credible sources of astronomical information, data and research articles

Teaching methods


Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
Directed Online Learning and Independent Learning
12.50 12 weeks 150


Type Task Weighting ULO's
NewsgroupsIndividual 30% 1,2,3,4 
Online TestsIndividual 20% 1,2,3,5 
ProjectIndividual 50% 


  • Cosmology:  special and general relativity; the hot “big bang” cosmology and alternative cosmologies; the different ‘flavours’ of dark matter and dark energy
  • The Early Universe:  inflation; early universe particle physics; the cosmic microwave background radiation; nucleosynthesis
  • Large-scale Structure:  structure formation and evolution; observational cosmology; using supercomputers to build synthetic Universes; the ultimate fate of the Universe

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.