AST4320 – Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 we plan for teaching and examinations to be conducted as described in the course description and on semester pages. However, changes may occur due to the corona situation. You will receive notifications about any changes at the semester page and/or in Canvas.

Spring 2020: Teaching and examinations was digitilized. See changes and common guidelines for exams at the MN faculty spring 2020.

Course content

This course provides an overview of extragalactic astronomy with emphasis on the development of large-scale structures and galaxy formation. The first part of the course deals with the development of large structures from small perturbations and links the statistical properties of the cosmic density perturbations to the observed statistical properties of galaxies. The second part of this course focuses on the formation and evolution of galaxies as well as the link between the evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes. This section addresses many topics that are currently being actively researched, such as the small-scale problems of the model of cold dark matter, star formation throughout the history of the universe, the formation of supermassive black holes, supernovae and active galaxy nuclei.

Learning outcome

After completing this course: 

  • you will be able to Apply Newtonian perturbation theory and understand linear structure formation as well as the statistical methods used to describe it.
  • you will understand spherical collapse model in structure formation, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
  • you will understand the distribution and clustering of galaxies and how they depend on the cosmic density field.
  • you will have a good understanding of the role of the baryons in galaxy formation.
  • you will have knowledge of the research front in galaxy formation and extragalactic astronomy needed to carry out research projects in these areas.

Admission to the course

Students admitted at UiO must apply for courses in Studentweb. Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

Nordic citizens and applicants residing in the Nordic countries may apply to take this course as a single course student.

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

Bachelor’s Degree from the programme Fysikk og astronomi (bachelor) or comparable.


Teaching extends over one semester. There are four hours of lectures per week and two hours of group sessions/tutorial exercises each week.

Students are expected to submit three compulsory assignments. The assignments will not count in the grade assessment, but they must be approved before students can be signed up for the final written examination.


  • A midterm assessment (school or home exam), which counts 30% towards the final grade.
  • Towards the end of the semester, students are expected to give a 20-25 minute presentation on a chosen topic (a list of topics is assigned). The presentation counts 20% towards the final grade.
  • A final written exam, 4 hours, which counts 50% towards the final grade.

The final grade is determined after an overall assessment of all the parts. In addition, students are expected to submit three compulsory assignments, which must be approved before they can sit the final written examination.

Examination support material

Approved calculator

Rottman: Mathematical formula collection.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response 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.

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, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) July 12, 2020 4:10:06 PM

Facts about this course

Teaching language