The MSc in Astrophysics and Relativity is a new one-year full-time or two-year part-time course. Students will gain advanced knowledge of astrophysics, general relativity, computational science and data analysis and the up-to-date skills required to understand the universe we live in. You will also learn a variety of computational and data analysis skills that are highly sought-after in a wide range of industries.
The detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO and VIRGO gravitational wave observatories and developments in electromagnetic based observations are contributing to the continued growth of the fields of astrophysics and cosmology, for example the direct imaging of the black hole at the centre of the galaxy M87 by the Event Horizon Telescope. There is a need to increase the number of scientists with the advanced knowledge and skills required to work in these fields, modelling the behaviour of high-energy sources, predicting their electromagnetic and gravitational wave emissions, observing these signals, and analysing the corresponding data streams.
The course is jointly run by the DCU School of Mathematical Sciences and the DCU School of Physical Sciences and led by researchers from the Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity (CfAR).
Why do this course?
Learn about black holes, gravitational waves, galaxies, exoplanets and more
Study recent developments in astrophysics and relativity
Build your research skills
Gain transferable skills in computing and data analysis
The course involves three main strands: Astrophysics, Relativity, and Computational Science and Data Analysis. All topics are covered in the first semester of the course, laying the foundations for development of these topics in the second semester. The course allows students to specialise in either General Relativity or Astrophysics.
Specialising in General Relativity allows you to study both astrophysical and fundamental physical properties of Black Holes, including gravitational collapse, the laws of black hole mechanics and Hawking radiation. You will learn about the generation of gravitational waves by the collision of black holes and other astrophysical processes and their propagation across the universe. You will also learn the science behind their detection by ground- and space-based observatories.
Students specialising in Astrophysics will study High Energy Astrophysics, Galaxies, Exoplanets, and will supplement this knowledge with the study of observational techniques. You will learn about the formation and evolution of galaxies. The study of exoplanets provides the fascinating prospect of discovering life outside our solar system: you will learn what we know about exoplanets and how we know it. In relation to High Energy Astrophysics, you will study the processes that lead to the emission of X-rays and gamma-rays from different sources, and how these are detected.
The study of these specialisms is supplemented in semester two by the study of Cosmology, which is of importance to both Astrophysics and Relativity. Here, you will learn about the origin and evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present, and study the unresolved problems of dark energy and dark matter. You will learn about the different observations of our universe's near and distant past, and how these are used to infer the past and future behaviour of the universe as a whole.
As part of the programme, all students undertake a project in a chosen area of Astrophysics or Relativity. Students are individually supervised by academics and researchers from CfAR, and apply their theoretical and computational skills to cutting edge research in Astrophysics and Relativity. In addition, by completing the project, students will develop transferrable skills in relation to research, technical writing and scientific communication.
All students will also take modules in Computational Physics and in Data Analysis. As well as supporting your study of Astrophysics and Relativity, these modules will equip you with skills in computing and in analysing 'big data' that are of immediate relevance in a wide range of careers, including information and communications technology, engineering, banking and finance.
The programme is led and delivered by members of CfAR, a research group based in the DCU School of Mathematical Science and the DCU School of Physical Science specialising in the areas of Astrophysics and Relativity. The group has particular expertise in the areas of black hole physics, gravitational waves, galaxy and star formation, exoplanets and high energy astrophysics. CfAR research is published in the leading international journals, and members engage in research with a wide range of colleagues around the world.