You can only participate in the First Research Project after successful registration for the Astronomy master’s programme in the following specialisations: Astronomy Research, Astronomy and Cosmology, Astronomy and Data Science or Astronomy and Instrumentation. Click here for admission and application requirements for the Astronomy master's programme.
The First Research Project can only be started in consultation with the Astronomy study advisor. For detailed practical information and procedures, visit the Astronomy master's research projects page on the student's website for more information on duration and deadlines.
Astronomy master's students in the specialisations Astronomy Research, Astronomy and Cosmology, Astronomy and Data Science or Astronomy and Instrumentation carry out two astronomy research projects: the First Research Project and the Master’s Research Project. The First and Master's Research Projects must be on different topics. Students in the Astronomy and Business Studies (BS), Astronomy and Science Communication and Society (SCS) or Astronomy and Education specialisations carry out only the Master’s Research Project.
The First Research Project is an important first step in your training as an Astronomy master's student at Leiden University. During a period covering at least half of the first year, your engage in state-of-the-art research, supervised by a Leiden Observatory scientific staff member. You are free to choose your research topic along the full spectrum of modern astrophysics. Projects may involve observations, theory, simulation and hands-on experimentation. During the First Research Project, you are hosted at Leiden Observatory; you will get a desk, a computer, and attend regular meetings within your research group. The First Research Project is concluded with a Master's Thesis and a Student Colloquium.
For detailed practical information and procedures, visit the Astronomy master's research projects page on the student's website.
Gaining experience with academic research
Translating an astronomy-related problem into a relevant research question
Drafting an appropriate research plan to investigate your research question
Performing independent and accurate research, according to methodological and scientific standards
Discussing the outcomes of your research and linking them with scientific theories
Indicating the relevance of your own astronomy research for science and society
Critically reflecting on your own research work
Comprehensibly reporting research results in writing
Presenting research research orally in a public presentation
In this course, students will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:
Problem solving (recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking)
Analytical skills (analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence)
Structured thinking (structure, modulated thinking, computational thinking, programming)
Project management (planning, scope, boundaries, result-orientation)
Responsibility (ownership, self-discipline, bear mistakes, accountability)
Motivation (commitment, pro-active attitude, initiative)
Self-regulation (independence, self-esteem, aware of own goals, motives and capacities)
Verbal communication (presenting, speaking, listening)
Written communication (writing skills, reporting, summarizing)
Collaboration (teamwork, group support, loyalty, attendance)
Flexibility (adaptability, dealing with change, teachability, eagerness to learn)
Critical thinking (asking questions, check assumptions)
Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box)
Integrity (honesty, moral, ethics, personal values)
Project dependent: Complex ICT-skills (data analysis, programming, simulations, complex ICT applications)
The First Research Project must be carried out in the first year of the two-year Astronomy master's programme. The project covers 30 EC, which equals 30 x 28 hrs = 840 hrs of research work. The maximum duration in calendar time of the First Research Project is 9 months. However, if the First Research Project is started more than 9 months before 1 November of the first year of the Astronomy master's programme, the deadline is extended to 1 August for students who started the programme in September. For students who started the programme in February, this deadline is extended to 1 January if the First Research Project is started before 1 April of the first year.
For more information on duration and deadlines, visit the Astronomy master's research projects page on the student's website.
Mode of instruction
Assessment of research work (25 EC)
Master's Thesis (4 EC)
Student Colloquium (1 EC)
See also the Master Research Project Grading Form and the Master Research Project Evaluation Form on the Astronomy master's research projects page on the student's website.
For general questions or in case of problems during your research that you would prefer to discuss confidentially, contact Astronomy study advisor Wouter Schrier, located in room 567 of the Oort building.
Please note that the First Research Project is only open to Astronomy master's students in the specialisations Astronomy Research, Astronomy and Cosmology, Astronomy and Data Science or Astronomy and Instrumentation.
Keep in mind that the First Research Project and the Master's Research Project must be on different topics.