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Please take this page in conjunction with the Part III Guide to Courses Astrophysics section.

The suite of astrophysics courses offered in Part III covers an enormous diversity of physical processes and mathematical techniques; it is thus difficult to assign general prerequisites. In any case, a number of the courses are almost fully self-contained.

Prerequisite areas

  • Mathematical Methods and Dynamics: for all courses in this area.
  • Basic Fluid Dynamics: for all courses except for Solar System Dynamics, Galactic Astronomy and Dynamics, and Optical and infrared astronomical telescopes and instruments.
  • Basic Thermodynamics: for all courses except for Solar System Dynamics, Galactic Astronomy and Dynamics, and Optical and infrared astronomical telescopes and instruments.
  • Basic Electromagnetism: for the courses Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Dynamics of Astrophysical Discs, and Convection and Magnetoconvection.

Mathematical Methods and Dynamics

All Astrophysics courses require basic mathematical skills and certain mathematical techniques.

Relevant undergraduate courses are (for relevant schedules, example sheets and exam questions, refer to the General Resources):

  • Part IA Differential Equations, Vectors & Matrices, Vector Calculus, Dynamics & Relativity
  • Part IB Methods
  • Part II Classical Dynamics

Useful resources

  • Lecture Notes for Part IA Vector Calculus by Professors Allanach and Evans.
  • Lecture Notes on separation of variables (Part IB Methods) by Professor Josza.

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Fluid Mechanics

A basic understanding of fluid mechanics is needed for all courses except for Solar System Dynamics, Galactic Astronomy and Dynamics, and Optical and infrared astronomical telescopes and instruments.

Relevant undergraduate courses are (for relevant schedules, example sheets and exam questions, refer to the General Resources):

  • Part IB Fluid Dynamics
  • Part II Fluid Dynamics II

Useful resources

  • Chapters 1-8 of Elementary Fluid Dynamics by D.J. Acheson (Oxford), as suggested in the formal prerequisites.
  • Lectures notes for Part II Fluid Dynamics II by Prof. Proctor.

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Basic Thermodynamics

A basic understanding of thermodynamics is needed for all courses except for Solar System Dynamics, Galactic Astronomy and Dynamics, and Optical and infrared astronomical telescopes and instruments.

The relevant undergraduate course is (for relevant schedules, example sheets and exam questions, refer to the General Resources):

  • Part II Statistical Physics

Useful resources

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Basic Electromagnetism

Electromagnetic concepts arise in Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, Dynamics of Astrophysical Discs, and Convection and Magnetoconvection.

The relevant undergraduate courses are (for relevant schedules, example sheets and exam questions, refer to the General Resources):

  • Part IB Electromagnetism
  • Part II Electrodynamics

Useful resources

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