England.  Change location
Course type
Integrated masters  

Integrated masters

  • Combines study at the level of an undergraduate honours degree with study at postgraduate (masters) level.
  • Common in engineering, mathematics and science.
  • Often linked to professional body recognition.


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 8–9 years
Full-time study – 4–5 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Master of Physics (Astrophysics with Space Science)

Course code: M06

Our integrated masters degree combines undergraduate and postgraduate study, developing your knowledge and skills to explore the smallest and largest scales of the Universe. Pick from a standard, basic maths or advanced start to suit your current knowledge and understanding. Learn to objectively and quantitatively describe, analyse, test, and explain phenomena in our physical world and the wider Universe. Apply experimental, observational and numerical methods and develop appropriate mathematical and programming skills. Conclude with an original research project on a subject at the forefront of astrophysics or space science.

  • Gain mathematical and data-handling skills sought after by employers
  • Develop investigative and laboratory skills using our award-winning OpenSTEM Labs
  • Demonstrate your ability to conduct novel and exciting research
  • Choose from a standard, basic maths or advanced start, whichever suits you

Stages 1–2 of this integrated masters degree are the same as our Diploma of Higher Education in Physics (W82) and Stages 1–2 of our BSc (Honours) Physics (R51).

Course type
Integrated masters  

Integrated masters

  • Combines study at the level of an undergraduate honours degree with study at postgraduate (masters) level.
  • Common in engineering, mathematics and science.
  • Often linked to professional body recognition.


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 8–9 years
Full-time study – 4–5 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This integrated masters degree has four stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll study 120 credits from the standard start, basic maths start or advanced start.
  • In Stage 2, you’ll study one 60-credit and two 30-credit modules.
  • In Stage 3, you’ll study four 30-credit modules.
  • In Stage 4, you’ll study one 60-credit module and complete a 60-credit project module.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer different starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

You’ll study 120 credits from the standard, basic maths or advanced start. Read the entry requirements to decide which start is right for you.

Standard start

Standard start
You'll study both of the following:
Questions in science (S111)60
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
You'll choose one from:
Physics and space (SM123)30
Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)30

Basic maths start

Basic maths start
You'll study all four of the following:
Discovering mathematics (MU123)30
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)30
Physics and space (SM123)30

You’ll study one 60-credit and two 30-credit modules.

You’ll study four 30-credit modules.

You’ll study one 60-credit module and complete a 60-credit project module.

You'll study both of the following:
Space science (S818)60
Masters level project in physical sciences (S841)60

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 19 March 2024.


Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our Master of Physics uses a variety of study materials and includes the following elements:

  • Online study – most modules are online; some have a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources could include websites, audio/video, and interactive activities
  • Pre-determined schedules – we’ll help you to develop your time-management skills
  • Assessment in the form of short-answer questions, essays, and examinations
  • Feedback – continuous assessment includes feedback from your tutor and using this to improve your performance
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • Finding external/third-party material online
  • Accessing online catalogues and databases
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work
  • Practical work

Every module has its own Accessibility Statement with more detailed accessibility information – you’ll find these on individual module descriptions.

Visit our Disability support page to learn about our services.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Physics.

If you choose a specialist route, your degree title will show that:

  • Master of Physics (Astrophysics with Space Science)

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 3 and 4.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

International recognition

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University, we believe education should be open to all, so we provide high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study, we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

This course has three starts:

Advanced start
The advanced start is suitable if you have an A level or Scottish Higher qualification in mathematics or physics (or equivalent). This start includes OU level 2 modules in Stage 1.

The advanced start begins with Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) and Physics and space (SM123):

Standard start
We recommend the standard start if you have a GCSE grade 4 or above in mathematics (or equivalent). This start provides an interdisciplinary foundation before you focus on physics.

The standard start begins with Questions in science (S111) and Essential mathematics 1 (MST124):

Note: S111 will develop your mathematical skills and help you prepare for MST124.

Basic maths start
We recommend the basic maths start if you don’t have a GCSE grade 4 or above in mathematics (or equivalent). This start develops your maths skills from a basic level to prepare you for more advanced study.

The basic maths start begins with Discovering mathematics (MU123):

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to an OU level 1 module. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It’ll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won’t have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part-time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 30 credits at undergraduate level is £1,818* and for 60 credits it’s £3,636*.
  • Our current fee for 30 credits at postgraduate level is between £1,360* and £1,450* and for 60 credits it’s £2,900*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would start from £27,526*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. In England, fees are subject to the part-time fee limit, as set out in section C of the University’s Fee Rules.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer and internet access. If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Postgraduate mathematics study events

This qualification has two postgraduate mathematics modules (M820 and M821) that may have an optional in-person study event. We’ll let you know if this event will take place and any associated costs as soon as we can.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable. Options include Part-Time Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship.

Visit our Fees and funding page for a summary of the funding options available.

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you.

How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise, you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website with

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.

Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.


Tutorials usually take place online, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms and are sometimes recorded.


Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually, a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end-of-module assessment won’t usually have an exam.


  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

Skills for career development

By the time you achieve your qualification, you’ll be an adaptable graduate with a range of transferable skills highly valued in the labour market. Examples include analytical, numerical, communication, team-working, and problem-solving skills. You’ll also gain proficiency in computing and IT, including the use of a programming language. In addition, you’ll acquire first-hand research skills through the independent research project on a topic at the forefront of the discipline and demonstrate the originality of your research or interpretation.

You’ll have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie and be well prepared for your next step – whether it’s further study or employment.

Career relevance

Physics graduates are suited to scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach for physics study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment. So physics graduates – particularly those with good communication and interpersonal skills – are in demand. And the MPhys qualification is commonly regarded as a pre-requisite for starting a postgraduate research degree.

Employers include engineering companies, renewable energy companies, central government, the financial sector, IT companies, the NHS, and universities – in roles such as:

  • research and investigation
  • product design and development
  • analysis and diagnostics
  • information management
  • data analysis and processing
  • scientific sales
  • medical physics
  • computer programming and modelling
  • teaching.

Potential growth areas are energy and sustainability, healthcare, telecommunications, bioinformatics, technology transfer (transfer of scientific expertise to commercial products), and the space sector.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our Careers and Employability Services for a wide range of careers information, advice and guidance – including online forums, our comprehensive website, access to interview simulations and feedback, and a vacancy service, as well as the option to email or speak to a Careers and Employability Consultant.

In the meantime, if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point.

Note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

  • aerospace engineer
  • astrophysicist
  • computer programmer
  • data analyst
  • geophysicist
  • medical physicist
  • meteorologist
  • nuclear engineer
  • patent attorney
  • physicist
  • renewable energy specialist
  • science communicator
  • science teacher
  • software engineer
  • university lecturer.

Register for this course

This is the Astrophysics with Space Science route through our Master of Physics. You’ll register on the Master of Physics and enrol on the relevant modules for this route.
Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 08/08/2024
Credit transfer: apply by 05/12/2024

Request your Science prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

Request prospectus