AST4320 – Cosmology and extragalactic astronomy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course gives an overview of extragalactic astronomy, focusing on large-scale structure formation and galaxy formation. The first part of the course treats theories for structure formation in the Universe from small perturbations, and connect statistical properties of cosmological density field to observed statistical properties of galaxies. The second part focuses on galaxy formation and evolution, and the co-evolution between galaxies and supermassive black holes. This part covers many topics that are currently under vigorous research, such as small-scale crisis of cold dark matter, star formation throughout cosmic history, formation of supermassive blackholes, supernova and active galactic nuclei, the intergalactic and circumgalactic medium and basic numerical simulation methods for galaxy formation.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you should be able to:

  • Apply Newtonian perturbation theory and understand the evolution of structures in the linear regime, and the statistical methods for describing them.
  • Understand the spherical collapse model for structure formation, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
  • Understand the distribution and clustering of galaxies and how they depend on the cosmic density field.
  • Have a good understanding of the role of baryonic matter in galaxy formation.
  • Have basic knowledge of the current research frontiers of galaxy formation and extragalactic astronomy, which provides a good basis for future projects in extragalactic astrophysics.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor degree of the Fysikk, astronomi og meteorologi (bachelor's) programme or comparable.


Four hours of lectures and two hours of tutorials each week.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


A final 3 hour written examination will constitute 50% of the final grade. A mid-term test (home or in classroom) will constitute 30% of the final grade. Towards the end of the semester, students are expected to give a 20-25 minute presentation on a topic of choice (topic list will be provided). The presentation will constitute 20% of the final grade. The final grade is determined by an overall assessment of all the parts. A number of compulsory home exercises without grading may also be given.

Examination support material

All non-communicative Resources.

Formula book by Rottmann.

Language of examination

If the course is taught in english, written exams will be given in english.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)