Enquiry for Major/Minor/Programme Requirements

Major Title Major in Astronomy
Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in 2017-2018

The 21st century is the golden age for astronomy as space-based telescopes are being used to explore the Universe in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, including X-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared. The Major in Astronomy is intended for the students who would like to acquire a solid foundation on the subject. A large selection of elective courses is provided for students to pursue their interested specialization in the subject, including observational astronomy, planetary science, stellar physics, and interstellar medium. Students will attain professional knowledge in astronomy, research experience and the training of analytical thinking and quantitative reasoning during their studies. In addition to preparing students for postgraduate studies as professional astronomers, astronomy training can lead to local careers in museums, weather services, and the education sectors. Beyond Hong Kong, astronomy graduates have challenging careers in aerospace, communications, energy, and computer industries, as well as in astronomical observatories and space research centers.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this programme, students should be able to:
PLO 1 :

identify and describe astrophysical phenomena with their professional knowledge (by means of coursework and tutorial classes in the curriculum)

PLO 2 :

have developed their scientific intuition, abilities and techniques to tackle astrophysical problems either theoretical or observational in nature (by means of coursework, tutorial classes, and frequent opportunities in field activities in the curriculum)

PLO 3 :

analyze astrophysical problems qualitatively and quantitatively, and recognize moral and ethical issues related to the discipline (by means of coursework, tutorial classes and research-based projects in the curriculum)

PLO 4 :

communicate and collaborate with people effectively in scientific issues (by means of group projects, tutorial sessions and presentation opportunities in the curriculum)

PLO 5 :

apply scientific and quantitative methods in tackling problems in research or real-world setting (by means of projects, directed studies, local and foreign internships attached to universities, research centers, government bodies, NGOs and influential companies)

Impermissible Combination:

Minor in Astronomy

Required courses (96 credits)
1. Introductory level courses (48 credits)
Disciplinary Core Courses: Science Foundation Courses (12 credits)
SCNC1111 Scientific method and reasoning (6)
SCNC1112 Fundamentals of modern science (6)
Disciplinary Core Courses (30 credits)
PHYS1250 Fundamental physics (6)
PHYS1650 Nature of the universe (6)
EASC2408 Planetary geology (6)
PHYS2250 Introductory mechanics (6)
PHYS2265 Introductory quantum physics (6)
Disciplinary Electives (6 Credits)
At least 6 credits selected from the following courses:
PHYS1150 Problem solving in physics (6)
PHYS2055 Introductory relativity (6)
PHYS2150 Methods in physics I (6)
PHYS2155 Methods in physics II (6)
PHYS2160 Introductory computational physics (6)
PHYS2255 Introductory electricity and magnetism (6)
PHYS2260 Heat and waves (6)
2. Advanced level courses (42 credits)
Disciplinary Core Courses (18 credits)
PHYS3650 Observational astronomy (6)
PHYS3651 The physical universe (6)
PHYS3652 Principles of astronomy (6)
Disciplinary Electives (24 credits)
At least 12 credits selected from courses in List A:
List A
PHYS4650 Stellar physics (6)
PHYS4651 Selected topics in astrophysics (6)
PHYS4652 Planetary science (6)
PHYS4653 Selected topics in astrophysics and cosmology (6)
PHYS4655 Interstellar medium (6)
PHYS7650 Stellar atmospheres (6)
Plus at least 12 credits of advanced level Physics courses (PHYS3XXX or PHYS4XXX or PHYS7XXX level), subject to prerequisite requirements. The current course list includes courses in List B and those courses not selected to fulfill the requirements in List A and the capstone requirement.
List B
PHYS3150 Theoretical physics (6)
PHYS3151 Machine learning in physics (6)
PHYS3350 Classical mechanics (6)
PHYS3351 Quantum mechanics (6)
PHYS3450 Electromagnetism (6)
PHYS3550 Statistical mechanics & thermodynamics (6)
PHYS3551 Introductory solid state physics (6)
PHYS3653 Astrophysics (6)
PHYS3660 Astronomy laboratory (6)
PHYS3750 Foundations of laser and spectroscopy (6)
PHYS3751 Physics of nanomaterials (6)
PHYS3760 Physics laboratory (6)
PHYS3850 Physical Optics (6) [previous title: Waves and optics (6) ]
PHYS3851 Atomic and nuclear physics (6)
PHYS4150 Computational physics (6)
PHYS4151 Data analysis and modeling in physics (6)
PHYS4350 Advanced classical mechanics (6)
PHYS4351 Advanced quantum mechanics (6)
PHYS4450 Advanced electromagnetism (6)
PHYS4550 Advanced statistical mechanics (6)
PHYS4551 Solid state physics (6)
PHYS4654 General relativity (6)
PHYS4656 Advanced astrophysics (6)
PHYS4750 Experimental physics (6)
PHYS4850 Particle physics (6)
PHYS7350 Graduate classical mechanics (6)
PHYS7351 Graduate quantum mechanics (6)
PHYS7450 Graduate electromagnetic field theory (6)
PHYS7550 Graduate statistical mechanics (6)
PHYS7551 Graduate solid state physics (6)
PHYS7750 Nanophysics (6)
3. Capstone requirement (6 credits)
At least 6 credits selected from the following courses:
PHYS3999 Directed studies in physics (6)
PHYS4966 Physics internship (6)
PHYS4999 Physics project (12)

1. Students are strongly advised to consult departmental course selection advisors for course and career planning before selecting the courses.

2. Double-counting of courses up to a maximum of 24 credits is permissible when a student with a science major opts to undertake a second major in science. The double-counted courses must include SCNC1111 and SCNC1112. Additional credits to be double-counted must be for courses required ('disciplinary core') by both majors. For cases with 24 or less double-counted credits, the student must make up an equivalent number of credits by taking other courses offered by any Faculty.

3. If more than 24 credits (including SCNC1111 & SCNC1112) are listed as required courses ("disciplinary core") in both the first and second majors undertaken by a student, the student must make up the number of credits above the 24 permissible by taking replacement course(s) (disciplinary electives) in the second major. Double counting of credits is not permissible for major-minor or double-minors combinations. For details, please refer to "Students taking double Majors, Major-Minor or double Minors with overlapping course requirements" in the BSc syllabuses.

4. Students are not required to take Capstone if this Science major is taken as a second major on the condition that the capstone experience in the first major requires the integration or application of knowledge from both major disciplines.  If this is approved, a 6-credit advanced level course (disciplinary electives) in the second major must be taken to fulfill the credit requirement of the capstone experience.

5. Capstone requirement for BEd&BSc degree students is different. Students are required to take an additional 6-credit advanced level course (disciplinary electives) in the major to replace the capstone requirement of this Major.  Students should consult the Faculty of Education for details.

6. Students must have level 3 or above in HKDSE Physics or equivalent to take this major.  Students who do not fulfill this requirement are advised to take PHYS1240.


Important! Ultimate responsibility rests with students to ensure that the required pre-requisites and co-requisite of selected courses are fulfilled. Students must take and pass all required courses in the selected primary science major in order to satisfy the degree graduation requirements.

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