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Masters Degrees in Astronomy, 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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Are you interested in theoretical and/or experimental research of elementary particles, stars and the universe? Do you want to attend lectures by Nobel… Read more

Something for you?

Are you interested in theoretical and/or experimental research of elementary particles, stars and the universe? Do you want to attend lectures by Nobel Prize laureates and other internationally renowned researchers during your education? Do you want to participate actively in the latest, innovative experiments at CERN or on Antarctica? Or do you aspire to have a career in academia, industry, banking, in the medical sector or education? In that case this Master programme is what you are looking for!

About the programme

This MSc programme combines the expertise in research of both the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University (UGent). This allows you to tailor your study programme according to your interests. The programme consists of several components: basic competences, electives, Master’s thesis and, specifically for the minor Research, mobility / internship. Mobility means taking courses at another university, usually in Belgium, while the internship can be either in Belgium or abroad.

Content

Elementary particles
The structure of this Master’s programme ensures a broad formation as a physicist and offers you the opportunity to partake in top-level research in our very own research groups. This programme focuses on the physics of elementary particles, where both experimental and theoretical research topics are discussed, as well as astro-particle physics.

Experimental physicist
As an aspiring experimental physicist you can focus on the experimental study of high-energy interactions and cosmic radiation, and you can work with the most innovative detectors in the biggest particle accelerators.

Theoretical physicist
As a future theorist you will be confronted with gauge theories, strings and branes, gravitation and cosmology. This theoretical part has links with theoretical research in astrophysics, since that discipline studies the evolution of massive double stars, the evolution of star birth galaxies and the chemical evolution of galaxies.

Astronomer
As an aspiring astronomer you can choose to do observational research on topics such as astroseismology and the development of photometric techniques.

Quantum physics
Finally, you can also decide to specialise in the most fundamental aspects of quantum physics and its recent applications in the field of quantum information.

Curriculum

The curriculum consists of four components:

1. Mandatory courses
2. Electives
3. Internship
4. Master thesis
This structure ensures that you will have a solid formation as a physicist, while offering you the possibility to participate in high-level research in our research groups.

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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