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GCSE Astronomy

Online distance learning course with study materials, tutor support and guaranteed exam place included.

The National Extension College


£495 VAT exempt
Payment options

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over... Read more

Study method
Online, self-paced
150 Hours
Access to content
18 Months
GCSE Astronomy
Professional What's this?
Additional info
  • Exam(s) / assessment(s) not included in price & must be purchased separately
  • Tutor is available to students
  • TOTUM card is available to purchase separately What's this?

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Study GCSE Astronomy online and venture to distant galaxies.

From stars and constellations, the solar system and nebulae; to cosmology and space exploration; our interactive GCSE Astronomy online course will enable you to explore space through engaging resources, at your own pace.

Whether you’re a beginner, an experienced astronomer, or someone who wants to develop a deeper understanding of the Universe, our GCSE Astronomy online course will spark your curiosity and passion for learning through high quality materials and expert 1:1 support from a dedicated course tutor.


GCSE Astronomy
Awarded by Pearson



Section 1 – The planet Earth

  • The Earth
  • Latitude and longitude
  • The Earth’s atmosphere
  • The night sky

Section 2 – Celestial observation

  • Constellations and asterisms
  • The celestial sphere
  • Diurnal motion
  • Circumpolar stars
  • Practical observing

Section 3 – The Moon and the solar system

  • The surface features of the Moon
  • The Moon’s orbit
  • Exploration of the Moon
  • The origin of the Moon
  • Observing the planets
  • The apparent motion of the Sun

Section 4 – Exploring the solar system

  • Planets, dwarf planets and other solar system objects
  • Comets
  • Meteoroids and meteorites
  • The size of the solar system
  • Optical telescopes, Part 1
  • Optical telescopes, Part 2
  • Space probes

Section 5 – Early models of the solar system, planetary motion and gravity

Section 6 – Solar astronomy and the Earth-Sun-Moon system

Section 7 – Time and cycles, the formation of the planets

Section 8 – Exploring starlight

Section 9 – Stellar evolution and our place in the galaxy

Section 10 – Classification of galaxies and cosmology

Our course tutors

You’ll have access to 1:1 support from one of our tutors. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience in supporting online learners.

Meet Julie Houghton, one of our Astronomy Tutors.

“I love learning and inspiring other people to learn. I’ve worked with students from primary to undergraduate level as I have taught in schools and universities. Now, I specialise in home education and distance learning, teaching people in the UK and overseas. I have a degree in physics with astrophysics and a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) in physics, science and maths, both from the University of Birmingham, and an LLM in Law from the University of Leeds. A senior examiner for several exam boards, I am also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors.”

What you need to know

Exam board Edexcel 1ASO


  • Online learning with 1:1 tutor support

Entry requirements

  • No formal qualifications
  • An ability to read and write in English


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 120-150* study hours, plus assignment time

*The specification suggests that 150 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 150 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 4 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • Exams (two)
  • Observations (one aided, one unaided)

Discover more about our Exam Support in our Exam Handbook.


  • 11 assignments (one introductory)


  • No additional set texts required


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are open and honest to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • Access to learn@nec
  • All the course materials you need to complete the course
  • Support from a personal tutor for up to 18 months from your date of enrolment
  • Assignment marking
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Exam entry fee

Optional extras:

  • Further past paper marking
  • Revision tutorial
  • Optional tutorial
  • Additional review

Exams and assessment

  • Exams (two)
  • Observations (one aided, one unaided)

Additional support if you're under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience, learning online works best when the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.

This includes:

  • Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
  • Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
  • You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
  • Dedicated Parent Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.
  • Access to the Kudos career platform for young learners to explore career choices.

Who is this course for?

As well as providing an excellent knowledge base in astronomy, our GCSE Astronomy online course is ideal if you:

  • Have an interest in space and the Universe
  • Plan to study observational astronomy and theoretical astronomy


  • No formal qualifications
  • An ability to read and write in English

Career path

Future opportunities

  • Studying Mathematics or Physics at A Level
  • A range of careers related to engineering, computer science, mathematics, through to medicine or law, education or business
  • Careers in astronomy

Questions and answers

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