Exploring the Universe (online)

Course summary

Exploring the Universe (online)



Overview

How old is the Universe? How unusual is the Solar System? How will it all end? Oxford astronomers Chris Lintott (BBC’s Sky at Night) and Robert Simpson (zooniverse.org) provide an overview of the last 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution, answering these questions and more. The course will take participants to the cutting-edge of astrophysics.

Listen to Professor Chris Lintott talking about the course:

How old is the Universe? How unusual is the Solar System? How do we know what stars are made of? How will it all end? In this course Oxford astronomers Chris Lintott (BBC’s Sky at Night) and Robert Simpson (zooniverse.org) aim to provide an overview of the last 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution and the future of the Universe, answering these questions and more. Covering cutting-edge ideas, techniques and discoveries in astrophysics, they aim to tell the scientific stories behind the beautiful pictures produced by the world’s largest telescopes.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

Course content:

  • From the Earth to the Universe: an overview of modern astronomy and a tour of the Solar System, galaxy and beyond
  • The Big Bang
  • Leaving the Dark Ages
  • Galaxies: in many ways, galaxies are the building blocks of the universe. In this unit we discuss their origin and evolution.
  • Star formation

Recommended reading

To participate in this course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following book:

May, Moore & Lintott: Bang : A complete history of the Universe (Carlton, London, 2009)

Certification

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Fees

EU Fee: £255.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00

Tutors

Dr Grant Miller

None

Grant studied for a joint masters in physics and astronomy at the University of Glasgow. He was later awarded a PhD in astrophysics, working on the detection and characterisation of transiting exoplanets for the WASP group at the University of St Andrews. After that he joined the Zooniverse, the world's leading citizen science research group based at the University of Oxford, where he is in charge of special projects and communications. Grant has over a decade's experience teaching astronomy and using optical telescopes. 

Course aims

This course aims to provide an overview of the last 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution and the future of the Universe, covering cutting-edge ideas, techniques and discoveries in cosmology and astrophysics.

This course will enable participants to gain an understanding of the ideas underpinning modern cosmology and astrophysics, engage independently with the scientific literature on the topic and to discuss what is still unknown.

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand the evidence supporting current theories of cosmology, star and planet formation, together with their implications for our understanding of the Universe.
By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • Ability to critically assess astronomical ideas and theories and to be familiar with the current consensus view(s) in the scientific community.
  • Ability to independently search for relevant information to inspire and answer questions.
  • A familiarity with navigating and critiquing popular and technical material on the web.
  • Ability to discuss scientific ideas with their peers in a reasoned and well-argued fashion.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

Application

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Level and demands

10 weeks, 100 study hours at FHEQ level 4