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Astronomy and Cosmology

Structure of the Programme

The Astronomy and Cosmology specialisation is part of the De Sitter programme. It offers the student the possibility to conduct a Research Master in Astronomy with a particular focus on modern observational and theoretical cosmology. This 2-year programme is offered in collaboration with the Institute-Lorentz for Theoretical Physics in the Department of Physics at Leiden University (LION).

Programme (120 EC)

Level EC
Mandatory Astronomy Courses
Origin and Evolution of the Universe 500 6
Large Scale Structure and Galaxy Formation 500 6
Mandatory Physics Courses
Particle Physics and Early Universe 500 3
Origin and Structure of the Standard Model 400 3
Theory of General Relativity 400 6
Elective Courses
Astronomy Core Courses, at least 500 6
Astronomy Courses of any type * 400-500 18
Related Physics Courses ** 400-500 12
Research Projects
First Research Project in General Astronomy 500 30
Master's Research Project in Cosmology 600 30

* Astronomy courses of any type
These include all General, Instrumentation-related and Specialist Astronomy Courses listed in the course list below. However, the following courses are of higher relevance to the Cosmology specialisation and are therefore recommended:

  • Computational Astrophysics

  • Databases and Data Mining in Astronomy

  • Gravitational Lensing (offered at irregular intervals)

  • Observational Cosmology (offered at irregular intervals)

** Related Physics Courses

  • Effective Field Theory

  • Quantum Field Theory

  • Statistical Physics

  • Topics in Theoretical Physics

  • Black Holes and Gravitational Waves (offered every other year in alternation with Theoretical Cosmology)

  • Theoretical Cosmology (not on offer in 2017-2018; offered every other year in alternation with Black Holes and Gravitational Waves)

Master Study Plan

At the start of the master’s programme, students are required to draw up the Master Study Plan: a complete list of planned courses and projects for two subsequent academic years in consultation with the Study Advisor Astronomy. To select courses, consult the course list for academic year 2017-2018 (see below) and the preliminary course list for academic year 2018-2019.

Learn more

For more information on the specific requirements of this specialisation, see the appendix of the Course and Examination Regulations.

Courses 2017-2018

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Mandatory Astronomy Courses

Origin and Evolution of the Universe 6
Large Scale Structure and Galaxy Formation 6

Mandatory Physics Courses

Origin and Structure of the Standard Model 3
Particle Physics and Early Universe 3
Theory of General Relativity 6

Astronomy Core Courses

Galaxies: structure, dynamics and evolution 6
Interstellar Medium 6

General Astronomy Courses

Computational Astrophysics 6
Star and Planet Formation 6

Instrumentation-related Astronomy Courses

Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments 6
Astronomy from Space 3
Detection of Light a 3
Detection of Light a + b 6
Project Management for Scientists 3

Specialist Astronomy Courses

Astrochemistry 3
Compact Objects and Accretion 3
Databases and Data Mining in Astronomy 3

Related Physics Courses

Black Holes and Gravitational Waves 3
Effective Field Theory 3
Quantum Field Theory 6
Statistical Physics a 6
Topics in Theoretical Physics 6

Additional Astronomy bachelor's courses if required

On being a Scientist 3
Physics of Elementary Particles 6
Radiative Processes 6

Career Orientation

Career orientation
During the Astronomy master’s education programme, we support you in making choices that are relevant to your future career. You will be stimulated to think about your ambitions and potential and to reflect on how to reach your goals. By actively exploring the possibilities, you enable yourself to make motivated study and career choices.

We organise various activities to help you think about questions like:

  • What are my strong skills and what skills can I still learn?

  • In which subjects do I want to specialise?

  • What subject will I choose for my Master Research Project?

  • Which electives fit my future ambitions?

  • Which type of job would I like to do after my Astronomy master’s?

  • What kind of employer would I like to work for?

Events Click here for the Astronomy career event calendar. This calendar contains an up-to-date overview of all career events relevant to Astronomy master’s students, including:

LU Career Zone
The Leiden University Career Zone is a website that offers support to Leiden University students and alumni, both during their studies and career. It offers advice, information and tools, including professional tests to draft your personal profile and job aplication tips.

Soft skills
In the Astronomy course descriptions in this e-Prospectus, behaviour-oriented skills are listed for each course. Although these soft skills cannot be measured like course objectives, being aware of the skills you acquire is important. They determine how you approach your work and your life and are therefore highly relevant to shaping your study path and future career.The soft skills you will come across in the Astronomy course descriptions include:

  • Problem solving - recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking

  • Analytical skills - analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence

  • Structured thinking - structure, modulated thinking, computational thinking, programming

  • Complex ICT-skills - data analysis, programming, simulations, complex ICT applications

  • 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, checking assumptions

  • Creative thinking - resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box

  • Integrity - honesty, moral, ethics, personal values

Questions about your study and/or career path? Make an appointment with the Astronomy Study Advisor.