This Unit aims to develop the student's understanding of specific astrophysical concepts with the aid of computer simulations, and to gain practical experience in the use of numerical modelling and data analysis. The student will produce a comprehensive record of their investigations, and communicate effectively about the outcomes of their work.

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:

  • Identify the use of computer simulations in modern astrophysics
  • Appraise the suitability of existing simulator code to address a chosen research problem, identifying limitations and trade-offs inherent in the numerical implementation
  • Develop and identify a scientific justification which includes a research plan, the project aims, objectives and expected outcomes
  • Synthesise a research approach and execute this independently
  • Design and create a comprehensive record of research methodologies and references/resources utilised
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate the results of a scientific investigation, including the techniques used and key conclusions, in a written and visual format suited to modern scientific journals

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
PosterIndividual 10 - 30% 
ProjectIndividual 50 - 60% 1,2,4,5,6 
Scientific Justification ReportIndividual 10 - 30% 1,3 


Students will choose from a range of computational astrophysics modules which will teach specific astrophysical concepts with the aid of computer simulations. The modules will provide a grounding in computer modelling and an appreciation of the ability of science and computers to make complex phenomena understandable. Students will choose a pre-existing module around which their Major Project will be based. These modules may include

  • Binary Evolution
  • Galaxy Interactions
  • Solar System Dynamics
  • Stellar Evolution
  • Star Cluster Morphology

Study resources

Reading materials

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