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Galaxies and Cosmology


Admission requirements

A strong background in physics and math is required. The student should be familiar with the Analysis and Linear algebra courses of the first year, as well as Classical Mechanics a and Introduction Astrophysics.


This course studies the application of physics to the understanding of astronomical phenomena related to galaxies and cosmology. Galaxies are the building blocks of the universe. They contain stars, gas, black holes, and dark matter – a component of the universe which has not yet been identified. A good understanding of galaxies is critical for a good understanding of the universe and its contents. By studying galaxies and cosmology, we ultimately seek to understand how a very smooth universe at early times produced the wealth of structure we see now.

Course objectives

This lecture series gives an introduction into galaxies and cosmology. In this, we will ask (and try to answer!) three fundamental questions:

1) What are the components and structure of galaxies?
2) Why do galaxies look the way they look?
3) Why does the large scale structure of the universe look the way it does?

We will cover topics including (but not limited to) those related to the dynamics and structure of stellar systems, the presence of dark matter, central supermassive black holes, the expanding universe, the formation of structure, and the earliest galaxies.


See BSc schedules.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment method

Homeworks (30%), quizzes (30%), and a written exam (40%).
See: Exam schedule.


Yes. Blackboard will be used to post the homework assignments and any extra materials. To have access, you need an ULCN account. More information:

Reading list

The main textbook for the course will be ‘Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction’ (2nd edition) by Sparke & Gallagher.
Additional books that may be useful but are generally higher level than the course (and are not required) are: – Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology (2nd edition) by Schneider; – An Introduction to Cosmology (1st edition) by Ryden.


Via uSis.
More information about signing up for your classes at the Faculty of Science can be found here
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.
For Interest only & Contractual enrollment, please see this website.

Contact Information

Lecturer: Dr. Jackie Hodge
Assistants: Leindert Boogaard, V. Olivares Sepulveda, Fortuna