Skip to Content

Master of Science (Astronomy)

Postgraduate course

  • This information is for local students.
  • View course information for international students.
    Am I a You are a local student if:
    you are an Australian citizen, or
    you are a New Zealand citizen (excluding TAFE courses), or
    you are an Australian permanent resident.
    You are an international student if:
    you are not an Australian citizen, and
    you are not a New Zealand citizen (excluding TAFE courses), and
    you are not an Australian permanent resident.
    local or an international student
The Master of Science (Astronomy) comprises 12 units of study completed fully online, including opportunities for major project work.
Duration1.5 years full-time or 3 years part-time
Study modeOnline
Swinburne course codeMA-SASTRO (formerly S068)
The total tuition fee is dependent upon the combination of units of study selected by the student. Fees are reviewed each year.
For information about Swinburne's fees visit the Fees website.

On this page: course description, course structure and units of study.

Course description

The Master of Science (Astronomy) is part of a nested suite of programs which includes the Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy) and a Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) with different entry points depending upon previous academic studies and work experience.
This program covers the fundamental concepts and ‘big questions’ of modern astronomy, in order to equip students with a good overall understanding and general knowledge about modern astronomy, rather than training as a professional astronomer. The intention of the master program is to provide scope for more specialist study in astronomy, plus opportunities for major project work, while still maintaining an emphasis on learning about the fundamental concepts and ‘big questions’ of modern astronomy.
Please note that many course codes have changed from 2014.

Course structure

The master program requires the completion of 12 units of study for a total of 150 credit points. Masters students are required to complete three Core units and at least one Major Project unit of study.
As the program is offered in a fully online mode, there are no traditional formal contact hours involving lectures, tutorials, laboratories etc. However, students will be required to work through the course material (supplied via the internet), undertake required readings from textbooks and the internet, contribute regularly to assessable asynchronous newsgroup discussions, as well as undertake assignments and project work. The equivalent student contact hours for each unit of study is five hours per week during academic semesters.

Units of study

Please note that unit codes have changed from 2014. Please ensure that you check the unit entry for the correct 2014 unit code.
*All Major Project units have prerequisites. ** HET619 is available only for approved project proposals. where approval is decided on a case-by-case basis by the Program Coordinator.
  • Not all of the above units of study will be conducted every semester and some are offered in alternate years. Refer to:
  • Electives will usually be offered subject to satisfactory enrolment numbers.
  • Students should contact the Faculty Administration Office to obtain further information about unit of study offerings.
Alexander Cherney

Student testimonial - Alexander Cherney

Master of Science (Astronomy)

I wanted to learn more about what I was observing through telescopes as amateur astronomer. Doing an online study and working encourages me to manage my time better and be more productive. It should hopefully open more opportunities to connect my Information Technology and Astronomy career paths in the future.

Postgraduate astronomy study is a lot of fun and I wish my previous degree was as entertaining and stimulating.


Student testimonial - Allan Anforth

Master of Science (Astronomy)

I am studying astronomy with Swinburne Online. Many years ago I completed a bachelors degree in science and thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, for financilal reasons I had to pursue a life career in law whilst maintaining an interest in astronomy and physics generally. At a mature age, I decided to return to my interest.

I like the content and the emphasis on researching academic papers. I like the flexibility of studying at my convenience including at night and weekends. I like the idea that I can choose to engage with the material at such level of mathenatical complexity as I wish. If I had to nominate one highlight it would be the paper I research and wrote on the Fermi Paradox.

On this page: entry requirements, credit transfer and recognition of prior learning

Entry requirements

This program is available to students who have a recognised tertiary qualification (or approved equivalent). Applicants not holding a relevant tertiary qualification, but with substantial relevant experience may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy), and can transfer to the Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) upon obtaining at least a credit average in the Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy), subject to the approval of the Program Coordinator. Students who have successfully completed the Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) may apply to progress to the Master of Science (Astronomy).
Students are expected to be computer literate and to have internet access outside of Swinburne.

Credit transfer

Applicants with prior tertiary studies that satisfy part of the academic requirements of this program may be granted ‘credit’ and/or entry into the program with ‘advanced standing’. University policies apply and applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. For further information refer to the Credit Transfer website.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process where a student may be granted credit or partial credit towards a qualification in recognition of skills and knowledge gained through work experience, life experience and/or formal training. For further details for students considering Higher Education courses visit the RPL website.

On this page: how to apply, course fees, scholarships and find out more.

How to apply

Application information is available on the Swinburne Astronomy Online website at:
** Please note closing dates apply.

Course fees

The total tuition fee is dependent upon the combination of units of study selected by the student. Fees are reviewed each year.
For information about Swinburne's fees visit the Fees website.


For information about scholarships, visit the Scholarships website.

Find out more