AST80003 (formerly HET625) Cosmology & the Large-scale Structure of the Universe

Course/s with Unit:
A unit of study in the Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy), Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) and Master of Science (Astronomy).

Credit Points:
12.5 Credit Points

One semester

Contact Hours:
Equivalent to 60 hours


AST80006 Galaxies and their Place in the Universe (or the old HET604 Exploring Galaxies and the Cosmos) and introductory tertiary-level mathematics & physics, or equivalent.


Students who have successfully completed (the old) HET605 cannot enroll in this unit.

Learning and Teaching Structure:
Online delivery mode, contact via newsgroups & email.

Assessable newsgroup contributions (30%), online tests (20%) and project (50%).

This Unit aims to provide an introduction to cosmology, including the physics of the early Universe, dark matter and dark energy, and the evolution of the observed large-scale structure.

After successfully completing this Unit, students should be able to:

  • have a conceptual knowledge of space-time and how it has evolved, its observational and theoretical basis and major unresolved questions;
  • understand basic cosmology concepts such as the big bang model and cosmic inflation, dark matter and dark energy, with the ability to discuss them in a non-technical way;
  • understand the tools with which we probe the large-scale structure of the universe, including large galaxy surveys and supercomputer simulations; and
  • research a cosmology topic in depth, using dependable sources of astronomical information on the internet and refereed journal articles.


  • Cosmology:
    special and general relativity; the hot “big bang” cosmology and alternative cosmologies; the different ‘flavours’ of dark matter and dark energy
  • The Early Universe:
    inflation; early universe particle physics; the cosmic microwave background radiation; nucleosynthesis
  • Large-scale Structure:
    structure formation and evolution; observational cosmology; using supercomputers to build synthetic Universes; the ultimate fate of the Universe

Prescribed Textbook & Reading Materials:
For information about the textbook, follow this link.

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