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Admission requirements

Some knowledge of radiative processes is required


The space between the stars is not empty but filled with a very dilute gas with extremely low densities and temperatures, providing a unique laboratory with conditions not normally encountered on Earth. A surprisingly rich chemistry occurs in these so-called interstellar clouds, as evidenced by the discovery of more than 200 different molecules. Some of these species were found in space before they were identified in a laboratory on Earth. How are these molecules formed? Where are they found and how do astronomers identify them? How do their abundances differ from place to place and what does this tell us about the structure of the region? How do the abundances evolve from cold clouds to planet-forming disks, where they can form the basis for prebiotic species?

The outline of the course is as follows:

  • Basic principles of gas-phase and gas-grain chemical reactions

  • Chemistry in the early Universe

  • Chemistry in diffuse and translucent clouds, and in photon-dominated regions

  • Chemistry in shocks

  • Evolution of molecular abundances from dark pre-stellar cores to star-forming regions

  • Chemistry in protoplanetary disks and links with comets

Course objectives

The student will gain relevant background information that will enable him/her to follow the current literature on Astrochemistry and to do research in this field. The student will also acquire hands-on experience with running molecular excitation and chemical network codes, and make predictions for ALMA.

Soft skills

In this course, students will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:

  • Structured thinking (structure, modulated thinking, computational thinking, programming)

  • Verbal communication (presenting, speaking, listening)

  • Critical thinking (asking questions, check assumptions)

  • Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box)


See Astronomy master schedules

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have successfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go to the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Pleas note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.)

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Exercise classes

Assessment method

  • In-class assessment (30%)

  • Written exam (70%)

Both assessments have to be passed in order to pass the course.

Reading list

  • Handouts of lecture notes, both on paper and electronically on website


As a student, you are responsible for registering on time, i.e. 14 days before the start of the course. This can be done via Mystudymap. You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2. Please note: late registration is not possible.

Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from July; registration for courses in the second semester is possible from December. First-year bachelor students are registered for semester 1 by the faculty student administration; they do not have to do this themselves. For more information, see this page

In addition, it is mandatory for all students, including first-year bachelor students, to register for exams. This can be done up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the exam or up to five calendar days in case of a retake exam. You cannot participate in the exam or retake without a valid registration in My Studymap.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.

Contact information

Lecturer: Prof.dr. S. Viti