Astronomy and Space Science Major - Bachelor of Science

Turn your fascination for space into a career in astronomy, radio astronomy and space science. Study the Astronomy and Space Science major in the Bachelor of Science.

Today, astronomers and space scientists use super-computing, image processing and telecommunication, networking and programming, big data and digital signal processing, advanced electronics, physics, statistics and mathematical modelling.

The Astronomy and Space Science major covers the latest developments in astronomy, astrophysics and radio astronomy, as well as in space science and technology. The skills you develop are also readily transferable to many other fields.

This is part of the Bachelor of Science.

Year 1

Complete the following paper

COMM501 Applied Communication (15 points)

Choose five of

ASTR500 Introductory Astronomy (15 points)
COMP506 Computer Organisation (15 points)
ENSE501 Programming for Engineering Applications (15 points)
ENSE502 Object Oriented Applications (15 points)
MATH500 Mathematical Concepts (15 points)
MATH501 Differential and Integral Calculus (15 points)
MATH502 Algebra and Discrete Mathematics (15 points)
PHYS500 Physics I (15 points)
STAT500 Applied Statistics (15 points)

And choose another 30 points from the elective papers below or other Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences or Bachelor of Science papers (subject to meeting prerequisites).

Year 2

Complete the following papers

ASTR600 Space, Time and Gravity (15 points)
ASTR601 Astrophysics (15 points)
PHYS600 Physics II (15 points)

You also select 75 points from the elective papers below or other Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences or Bachelor of Science papers (subject to meeting prerequisites).

Year 3

Complete the following papers

ASTR700 Practical Astrophysics (15 points)
ASTR701 Radio Astronomy (15 points)
ASTR702 Frontiers of Astronomy and Space Science (15 points)

You also select 45 points from the elective papers below or other Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences or Bachelor of Science papers (subject to meeting prerequisites).

Workplace experience

In your final year you can complete a research project, investigating a scientific problem. This paper counts as two papers and you can complete it over one semester or the whole year. It isn't compulsory.

Student projects have practical applications to the workplace and may include workplace experience. Recent student projects included the creation of a catalogue of Southern Hemisphere radio sources using the AUT 30-metre radio telescope.

Through this paper you develop skills in experimental design, literature searching, the collection and analysis of data, interpretation and reporting of the results.

MATH705 Research Project (30 points)*

*This paper is not compulsory. You can substitute this with approved alternative level 7 papers

Elective papers

Level 5 papers

COMP500 Programming 1 (15 points)
COMP503 Programming 2 (15 points)
COMP504 Computer Networking (15 points)
COMP505 Introduction to Programming (15 points)

Level 6 papers

COMP603 Program Design and Construction (15 points)
COMP612 Computer Graphics and Animation (15 points)
STAT602 Quality Assurance (15 points)

Level 7 papers

COMP710 Game Programming (15 points)
COMP716 Highly Secure Systems (15 points)
COMP719 Applied Human Computer Interaction (15 points)
ENSE701 Contemporary Issues in Software Engineering (15 points)
MATH701 Special Topic A (15 points)
MATH702 Special Topic B (15 points)
MATH706 Industrial Mathematics (15 points)

  • Astronomer
  • Industrial mathematician
  • Observatory technician or research officer
  • Planetarium lecturer
  • Programmer or systems developer
  • Scientific programmer
  • Secondary teacher*
  • Technical software developer

*After completing a graduate diploma in education.


Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Astronomy Careers

AUT operates New Zealand’s only radio astronomical observatory.

Using two large radio telescopes, AUT’s Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research (IRASR) generates and processes enormous amounts of data from space, participates in cutting-edge international research in astrophysics, space and earth sciences.

During your studies you participate in practical laboratory sessions and field trips to the Warkworth and Stardome observatories.

Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research (IRASR) website

Key features
  • Access to AUT’s hi-tech astronomy facilities, including NZ’s only radio astronomy telescopes
  • Work with the Institute for Radio Astronomy and Space Research
  • Includes an original research project in the final year
  • Combine this major with other Bachelor of Science majors
See yourself as
  • Fascinated by space and the universe
  • Scientifically engaged
  • Having above-average mathematical ability
Freya Fortzer
Jonathan Abiad
Maurice Greenough

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.

Website search