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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 two-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)

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

* 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

  • Modern Astrostatistics

  • 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 (not on offer in 2018-2019; offered every other year in alternation with Theoretical Cosmology)

  • Theoretical Cosmology (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 2018-2019 (see below) and the preliminary course list for academic year 2019-2020.

Learn more

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

Courses 2018-2019

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Astronomy Master's Research Projects

First Research Project Astronomy 30
Master's Research Project Astronomy 2 30

Mandatory Astronomy Core 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

Stellar Structure and Evolution 6

General Astronomy Courses

Computational Astrophysics 6

Instrumentation-related Astronomy Courses

Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments 6
Radio Astronomy 6
Detection of Light a 3
Detection of Light a + b 6

Specialist Astronomy Courses

Astronomical Spectroscopy 3
High-energy Astrophysics 3
Modern Astrostatistics 3
Numerical Recipes in Astrophysics 6

Related Physics Courses

Effective Field Theory 3
Quantum Field Theory 6
Statistical Physics a 6
Topics in Theoretical Physics: Physics of Machine Learning 6
Theoretical Cosmology 3

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.

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

Course levels

  • Level 100
    Introductory course, builds upon the level of the final pre-university education examination.
    Characteristics: teaching based on material in textbook or syllabus, pedagogically structured, with
    practice material and mock examinations; supervised workgroups; emphasis on study material and
    examples in lectures.

  • Level 200
    Course of an introductory nature, no specific prior knowledge but experience of independent
    study expected.
    Characteristics: textbooks or other study material of a more or less introductory nature; lectures, e.g. in
    the form of capita selecta; independent study of the material is expected.

  • Level 300
    Advanced course (entry requirement level 100 or 200).
    Characteristics: textbooks that have not necessarily been written for educational purposes; independent
    study of the examination material; in examinations independent application of the study material to
    new problems.

  • Level 400
    Specialised course (entry requirement level 200 or 300).
    Characteristics: alongside a textbook, use of specialist literature (scientific articles); assessment in the
    form of limited research, a lecture or a written paper. Courses at this level can, to a certain extent, also
    be on the master’s curriculum.

  • Level 500 Course with an academic focus (entry requirement: the student has been admitted to a
    master’s programme; preparatory course at level 300 or 400 has been followed).
    *Characteristics: *study of advanced specialised scientific literature intended for researchers; focus of the
    examination is solving a problem in a lecture and/or paper or own research, following independent
    critical assessment of the material.

  • Level 600
    Very specialised course (entry requirement level 400 or 500)
    *Characteristics: *current scientific articles; latest scientific developments; independent contribution (dissertation research) dealing with an as yet unsolved problem, with verbal presentation.

The classification is based on the Framework Document Leiden Register of Study Programmes.