Masters degrees in Astronomy involve the advanced study of celestial bodies and phenomena such as planets, stars, and meteorites. On these courses, students learn to use techniques from Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science to monitor and model those celestial entities.
Related postgraduate specialisms include Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences. Entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Physics or Computer Science.
Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences, spanning a large portion of the history of civilisation. Its aim is to understand the origins and evolution of the universe, celestial objects and related phenomena. This includes an analysis of meteorites, moons, planets and galaxies, along with events such as comets, supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, and background radiation.
You’ll be trained in methods such as statistics, computational algorithms and particle theory, using them to explore topics like the formation of stars. Technology also plays a key role in these courses, and you will likely experiment with telescopes and satellites designed to observe objects outside of our Solar System.
Careers in this field are extremely broad, though many astronomers may be employed in national observatories and government laboratories. Other careers include work within the aerospace industries, or even the civil service.
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.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme offers a wide range of courses on the subfields of astronomy and on research methodology. Special attention will be devoted to the analysis and astrophysical interpretation of data, as well as totechnological aspects of international astronomical research.
Upon successful completion of this programme, students will have acquired:
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme consists of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System - ECTS), divided over two years. In the first year, theoretical courses provide a solid foundation for further study, while students develop their research skills by undertaking a research project. The second year includes the Master’s thesis, i.e. an extensive written report of research conducted in one of the department’s astronomy research groups.
The Institute of Astronomy conducts research on stellar astrophysics. The research performed at the institute is situated in the domain of stellar astrophysics and stellar evolution in a very broad context. Specific research themes of the institute include asteroseismology, stellar evolution and exoplanets.
A particular area of expertise is asteroseismology, the field that studies the internal structure of stars (massive stars, red giants, blue subdwarfs) through the observation and theoretical interpretation of their oscillation spectra. Early and late evolutionary phases of single and binary low-mass stars are investigated, with a particular focus on the interaction of stars with their circumstellar environments. The institute is involved in the development and exploitation of both ground-based and space-based instrumentation
The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modelling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. Fifteen teams perform research at an international level. Publication of research results in leading journals and attracting top-level scientists are priorities for the department.
New physics and innovation in the development of new techniques are important aspects of our mission. The interaction with industry (consulting, patents...) and society (science popularisation) are additional points of interest. Furthermore, the department is responsible for teaching basic physics courses in several study programmes.
This Master's programme is strongly connected to research in astronomy and astrophysics and aims to prepare the students for research in this area.
At the end of this study the student will have acquired:
A research-oriented Master's programme in astronomy and astrophysics is essential to ensuring high-quality astronomy research. Graduates will have a competitive advantage when applying for a PhD, either locally or abroad, and the skills they acquire will also prepare them for research careers in a broad range of professional environments.
Applying the laws of physics in real-life situations, ranging from measuring brain activity to designing new materials and investigating space objects .
Would you rather specialise in pure physics or discover the interface between physics and astronomy, mathematics, chemistry or biology? The choice is yours. At Radboud University, you can choose from six specialisations and within each specialisation you’ll have plenty of room to customise your programme. We guarantee the highest quality for all specialisation programmes, resulting in number one rates by the Dutch ‘Keuzegids Masters’ for three years running.
In your internship(s), you can dive into theoretical physics or perform your own experiments: discover new material properties in Europe’s highest magnetic fields or with unique free electron lasers, study space objects with the telescopes on top of the Huygens Building or unravel brain activity with MRIs. It’s all possible on the Radboud campus. That’s why many international physicists come here to perform their experiments. Take Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who revealed the amazing properties of graphene in our High Field Magnet Laboratory. In 2010, they received the Nobel Prize in Physics for those discoveries.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/physicsandastronomy
- Particle and Astrophysics
In this Master’s specialisation you’ll unravel questions like: What are the most elementary particles that the universe consists of? What did our universe look like in the earliest stages of its existence? And how will it evolve? One of the topics is the Higgs particle, which is partially a Nijmegen discovery.
- Physics of Molecules and Materials
This specialisation focuses on the structure and properties of materials. You’ll work at the ‘terra incognita’ between quantum and classical physics, which is of great importance for designing next-generation materials and devices.
In this specialisation you’ll use your physics background to understand the communication between neurons in the brain. This fundamental knowledge can be applied in all kinds of devices, including hearing aids or Google glasses.
- Science in Society
This specialisation will equip you with the tools and skills to become a professional intermediary between science and society. You’ll learn to analyse (governmental) science communication and connect scientific knowledge with divergent perspectives and interests of various stakeholders.
- Science, Management and Innovation
This specialisation will teach you what is happening in the world of business and public administration, how innovation is managed in company strategies, how government designs policy and how that interacts with societal challenges.
- Science and Education (in Dutch)
Do you want to become a secondary school teacher in the Netherlands? In this Dutch-taught specialisation you’ll get the necessary didactic background and extensive experience in the classroom.
- It’s the best Master’s programme of its kind in the Netherlands, according to the Keuzegids Masters.
- Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups. This ensures that at Radboud University you’ll get plenty of one-on-one time with your internship supervisor.
- We have a multidisciplinary approach: you not only can specialise in Physics, but also in astrophysics, biophysics, mathematical physics, chemical physics or materials science.
- You’ll spend one year on research, and thus get an extensive experience in scientific methods.
- Radboud University hosts multiple state-of-the-art research facilities, such as the High Field Magnet Laboratory , FELIX laser laboratory, Nanolab and neuroimaging facilities (MRI, MEG, EEG, TMS). We also participate in the LHC particle accelerator in Geneva, the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina and various other large-scale research projects.
- On average, our graduates find a job within 2 months after graduating. A majority of these jobs are PhD positions at universities in the Netherlands and abroad.
For the third time in a row, this programme was rated number one in the Netherlands in the Keuzegids Masters 2015 (Guide to Master's programmes).
All specialisations of this Master’s programme are an excellent preparation for a career in research, either at a university, at an institute or at a company. However, many of our students end up in other business or government positions as well. Whatever job you aspire, you can certainly make use of the fact that you have learned to:
- Think in an abstract way
- Solve complex problems
- Make accurate approximations
- Combine theory and experiments
If you would like to have a career in science, it’s possible to apply for a PhD position at Radboud University. Of course, you can also apply at any other university anywhere in the world.
To get an idea the various career opportunities, a sample of jobs performed by our alumni:
- Actuarial trainee at Talent & Pro
- Consultant at Accenture
- ECO Operations Manager at Ofgem
- Scientist at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
- Technology strategy Manager at Accenture
- Consultant Billing at KPN
- Communications advisor at the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM)
- Systems analysis engineer at Thales
- Technical consultant at UL Transaction Security
- Business analyst at Capgemini
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/physicsandastronomy
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.