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Unit information: Cosmology 201 in 2021/22

Unit name Cosmology 201
Unit code PHYS24010
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Bremer
Open unit status Not open

A2 Physics or equivalent.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit outlines an augmented Newtonian model for discussing the structure and evolution of the Universe, and the Universe on the largest scales.

In addition to Newtonian gravity and orbits, it introduces the cosmological principle, Hubble's law, the Big Bang and subsequent expansion.

Descriptions of the geometry of space, baryogenesis at the start of the Universe, the cosmological constant and dark matter, and the end of the Universe are also given.


To introduce the basic ideas of Cosmology through the use of the Newtonian model augmented by the cosmological constant.

To introduce the concept of an equation of state for the Universe and its components, and show how the geometry of the Universe is related to its energy, and thereby create a framework to understand the history and future of the Universe.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Understand how conservation laws in orbital motion arise from a central inverse-square law of force.

Be able to derive and understand the meaning of the Friedmann and fluid equations, and appreciate the significance of the Hubble law and the kinematic parameters of the Universe.

Appreciate the connection between the geometry and energy content of the Universe, the need for inflation, and the implications of dark energy.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples
  • synchronous group problems classes, workshops, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative exercises and other exercises
  • guided, structured reading

Assessment Information

Unit assessed 100% by coursework.

  • Element 1: Essay 33%
  • Element 2: Worksheet 33%
  • Element 3: Worksheet 34%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHYS24010).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.