Masters degrees in Astronomy Observation teach postgraduates the observational techniques needed to research and record data about the visible universe.
Related subjects include Observational Astrophysics and Astronomy. Entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Mathematics or Physics.
Practices within Observational Astronomy involve examining and understanding celestial objects, including their appearance, distance from Earth and position within (or sometimes beyond) our Solar System.
These courses aim to help you decipher how the components of the universe relate and interact, what they can tell us about the distant universe, and the implications of their relationship with Earth.
Training typically includes methods for designing and using observational equipment, including telescopes and satellites. Similarly, you might learn to plot the data from these techniques onto graphs to record general trends of celestial objects and related processes. For example, you could assess the velocity, magnitude or temperature of an object via radio or spectrograph observation.
Careers in this field are varied, though observational astronomers typically work on government programmes, which assign them to research involving a national observatory or spacecraft.
The Masters in Astrophysics gives you an understanding of the principles and methods of modern astrophysics at a level appropriate for a professional physicist.
Modes of delivery of the MSc in Astrophysics include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, project and team work.
The programme draws upon a wide range of advanced Masters-level courses. You will have the flexibility to tailor your choice of optional courses and project work to a variety of specific research topics and their applications in the area of astrophysics.
Career opportunities include academic research, based in universities, research institutes, observatories and laboratory facilities; industrial research in a wide range of fields including energy and the environmental sector, IT and semiconductors, optics and lasers, materials science, telecommunications, engineering; banking and commerce; higher education.
Physicists and astronomers try to understand nature: from the smallest building blocks of matter and their interactions to the evolution of the universe on a cosmological scale. Ultimately, this endeavour leads to new insights that are helpful in other scientific disciplines, and to many applications in our daily lives. Although our insights go ever deeper and reach ever further, there is much we still do not understand. That is why basic research remains so important.
This MSc programme combines the research expertise of both the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Universiteit Gent (UGent), allowing you to tailor your study programme to your interests. One choice you have to make in advance is which of our three minors you want to follow: Research, Economy and Business or Education (30 ECTS in Dutch). No matter which minor you choose, you will get a solid training as a physicist and we offer you the possibility to participate in high-level research. There is no wrong choice!
If you choose the Research minor, you will have to take up two External Mobility-courses. These allow you to follow courses at another university or to do an internship at a company or research institution. A combination of courses and internship is also possible. The internship will be assessed through a report and presentation.
The offered courses are strongly embedded in both universities' ongoing research programmes. Through intensive collaboration with members of the research groups, you will get the opportunity to develop and improve your scientific skills. The researchers at VUB have strong connections within Belgium and in- and outside Europe through research projects such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and the CMS experiment at CERN in Geneva. Many of our students have the opportunity to do an internship or research for their Master's thesis at CERN during their studies. this close connection to research means our students are well-prepared for a PhD-position, with around half of our graduates pursuing such a career in research.
Did you know that VUB postdocs and faculty are leading international teams of scienctists? For example Dr. Petra Van Mulders, a VUB alumnus and postdoctoral researcher, was until recently leading the team working on identification of particles called b-quarks at the CMS experiment at CERN. The results of her work are now used by researchers all over the world in the attempt to determine the characteristics of the recently discovered Brout-Englert-Higgs particle.
Physics students at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel attend lectures, exercises, lab sessions and excursions in small groups. There is room for interaction and discussion, and a low threshold for students to actively participate. This programme pays special attention to critical analysis.
The different research groups at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are in close contact with leading universities and research institutes around the world, which allows you to do part of your studies and/or the research for your Master’s thesis abroad. Our research groups work for example at the particle accelerator at CERN.
The MSc in Astrophysics is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Physics and Astronomy. The programme is intended to provide an entry route to astrophysics research and potentially PhD programmes for students who have taken an undergraduate BSc degree in Physics, Mathematics or an equivalent cognate discipline.
The MSc consists of two semesters of taught courses including a 3.5-month significant research project and dissertation (15,000 words). Teaching methods include lectures and tutorials, covering areas of both theoretical and observational astrophysics, and modules are assessed through examination, research projects and continuous coursework.
Throughout the programme students will not only gain a full working knowledge of the fundamental aspects of astrophysics but will also develop their transferable skills such as programming, data analysis, problem solving, scientific writing, presentation and science outreach skills, enhancing employability in and out of academia.
Access to the University Observatory and James Gregory Telescope allows students receive a hands-on experience to develop their observational expertise, which can then be followed into their research projects with the option to use either facilities at St Andrews or remote observing facilities around the world.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.
The master's programme Astronomy covers observations using the world’s most powerful ground- and space-based telescopes, theoretical astrophysical and astrochemical modeling, large scale simulations, and laboratory experiments that mimic conditions in space.
In this two-year master’s programme in Astronomy you get access to cutting edge research in modern astronomy. Main focus areas include galaxies and the structures in which they are embedded, exoplanets, and star and planet formation. With seven challenging specialisations to choose from, you will be prepared for a wide variety of careers within academia, industry and the public sector.
Read more about the Astronomy master's programme.
Find out more reasons to choose Leiden University.
Are you are interested in astronomy research within or outside academia? Do you want to add value to society through scientific and technological progress? Are you keen on solving complex matters and are you up for a challenge? Then our Leiden University Astronomy master’s programme is designed for you.