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Observational Cosmology


Admission requirements

None. This course is designed to complement the Astronomy master´s course Origin and Evolution of the Universe. Completing this course is very helpful preparation before taking this one.


The purpose of this course is to provide a general overview of the observational basis for our modern view of cosmology. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Major tests used to establish the age of the universe

  • Hubble constant

  • Dark matter

  • Dark energy

  • Baryonic content of the universe

  • Matter power spectrum

  • The ‘w’ parameter

Course objectives

The primary objectives of this course are for students to learn the general observational techniques and physical principles for making a wide variety of inferences about the current state, evolution, and origin/age of the universe.


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. Please 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


Assessment method

Written exam (75%)
Problem set scores (25%)

Reading list

Observational Cosmology, 2010, Stephen Serjeant (Cambridge University Press)


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.


Lecturer: Dr. R.J. (Rychard) Bouwens