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Masters Degrees in Astronomy Theory, Belgium

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What is the Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics all about?. The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme offers a wide range of courses on the subfields of astronomy and on research methodology. Read more

What is the Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics all about?

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:

  • thorough insight into various aspects of astronomy;
  • insight into the sciences contributing to astronomy;
  • a critical research attitude developed through gradual training;
  • the ability to define and formulate strategies to study complex questions;
  • the ability to integrate technological developments in basic researcht;
  • the ability to construct simple numeric and physical-mathematical models to study data within a theoretical framework.

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Structure

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. 

Institute

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

Department

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.

Objectives

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:

  • thorough insight into several aspects of astronomy;
  • insight into the sciences that contribute to astronomy;
  • a good research attitude through gradual training;
  • the ability to define and formulate a strategy to study a complex question;
  • the ability to integrate technological developments in fundamental research;
  • the ability to make simple numeric and physical-mathematical models to study data within a theoretical framework.

Career perspectives

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.



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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. Read more

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.

3 Minors, 1 Degree

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!

Mobility

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.

Students as Scientists

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.

Room for interaction and discussion

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.



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