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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 the 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 Cosmology or General Astronomy | 30 | 500 |

Master's Research Project in Cosmology | 30 | 600 |

Student Colloquium | - | 600 |

For students who successfully completed the 6 EC version of the course Particle Physics and the Early Universe (which was offered in previous years), this is considered to be equivalent to the 3 EC version plus the course Origin and Structure of the Standard Model.

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:

  • Simulation and Modeling in Astrophysics (AMUSE)

  • 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 (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 2020-2021 (see below) and the [preliminary course list for academic year 2021-2022]((https://studiegids.universiteitleiden.nl/studies/8010/astronomy).

Learn more

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

Courses 2022-2023

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Astronomy Master's Research Projects

First Project: Research 27
First Project: Thesis 3
Master Project: Research 27
Master Project: Thesis 3
Astronomy Student Colloquium -

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
Theory of General Relativity 6
Particle Physics and Early Universe 3

Astronomy Core Courses

Interstellar Medium 6
Stellar Structure and Evolution 6

General Astronomy Courses

Galaxies: structure, dynamics and evolution 6
Simulation and Modeling in Astrophysics (AMUSE) 6
Star and Planet Formation 6

Instrumentation-related Astronomy Courses

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

Specialist Astronomy Courses

Astronomical Spectroscopy 3
High-energy Astrophysics 3
Observational Molecular Astronomy in Galaxies 3
Exo-planets A: Interiors and Atmospheres 3
Exo-planets B: Space Physics 3
Modern Astrostatistics 3
Numerical Recipes in Astrophysics 6
Observational Cosmology 3

Related Physics Courses

Effective Field Theory 3
Quantum Theory 6
Statistical Physics a 6
Quantum Field Theory 6
Topics in Theoretical Physics: Topological Quantum Matter 6

Additional Astronomy bachelor's courses if required

Radiative Processes 6

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.

Career Orientation

During the Master program Astronomy we want to provide you with the best possible preparation for the job market. In addition to knowledge, it is important that you develop skills, gain practical experience, orientate on positions & careers, and reflect on your own profile and development. In addition to substantive knowledge, it is also important to be aware of the so-called transferable skills that you develop outside and during your education. These are, for example, your cognitive skills such as critical thinking and communication. Altogether, this contributes to your development as a professional and offers good preparation for the labour market.

With a master’s degree in Astronomy you are well prepared for jobs in research, industry and the public sector, including technological, financial and consultancy companies, research institutes, governments and science communication organizations.

Nevertheless, questions about this subject may arise during your studies, such as: How can you use the knowledge and skills you gain within and outside your study program in the labour market? Which direction do you choose within your study and why? What are you already able to do, and what skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses you choose into something you would like to do later?

During the two years of your master’s programme, you will create a portfolio with reflection assignments and evaluations of career events that you attended. This portfolio will help you to determine your goals for the future and to reflect on questions such as "What are my strengths?", "What is important to me in a job?" and "What do I need to focus on in order to achieve my goals?".

Career Orientation Portfolio

The portfolio will consist of two reflection assignments, on which you will receive personal feedback from the Science Career Service. Furthermore, you are required to attend at least two career orientation activities per year. Afterwards you will be asked to write a short evaluation of the event in order to reflect on what you have taken away from it.
More information about the Career Orientation Portfolio can be found on the Master Astronomy Brightspace page.

Activities

Throughout the year, all kinds of activities are organized where you get the chance to orientate yourself on the job market and are given opportunities to reflect on your own development, possibilities and (study) career profile. To provide you with the best possible preparation for the labour market, we organize two CIMAS (Career Information Meeting Astronomy) sessions per year. During a CIMAS we will organize several activities concerning study and career orientation. There will be alumni from the corporate field and PhD candidates that will share their experiences and advice. In addition to this, we also organize workshops that help you with practical career activities, such as networking and building your CV.

There are also many other career events that you can attend, for example:

  • Workshops form the Science Career Service

  • Career colleges from the Science Career Service

  • The Science Career Event (Bèta-banenmarkt)

  • De Leidsche Flesch Career Market

  • De Leidsche Flesch career symposia

  • The LOCNOC Master Career Day

  • V-OS alumni-mentoring events

  • Scientific conferences and symposia

Career

Most graduates holding a MSc degree in Astronomy from Leiden University find work in many different capacities, including:

  • Research: universities, observatories, research institutes

  • Industry and consultancy: ICT, R&D, telecom, high technology, aerospace

  • Finance: banking, insurance, pension funds

  • Public sector: governments, policy makers, high schools

  • Science communication: journalism, popular writing, museums
    Typical jobs for Astronomy graduates include:

  • Scientific researcher (postdoc, research fellow, professor)

  • R&D engineer

  • Consultant

  • Data scientist, statistician

  • Policy advisor, public information officer (e.g. Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

  • High school physics teacher

  • Scientific editor for magazines, newspapers and other media

Research at Leiden Observatory

If you want to get more deeply involved in research after graduating in Astronomy, consider pursuing a PhD at Leiden Observatory. If you have completed the Leiden master’s degree program in Astronomy, you are directly eligible for admission to our PhD program. Read more.

Science Career Service

Science Career Service, one of the utilities of the Science faculty, offers information and advice on study (re)orientation, career planning and personal professional profile as well as preparation for the job market, such as job applications. Facilities provided to students include online information, walk-in consultations, workshops and individual counselling sessions. In addition, Science Career Service offers expertise and support to programmes that want to strengthen the connection between their curriculum and the job market. This can vary from providing specific guest lectures/workshops to advising on integrating career orientation programmes into the curriculum.

LU Career Zone

The Leiden University Career Zone is the website for students and alumni of Leiden University to support their (study) career planning. You will find advice, information, video recordings of webinars and tools such as professional tests to get an idea of your personal profile. You can also explore positions and sectors, you will find tips about CV, job application, LinkedIn and there is a vacancy platform that you can make use of.

Mentornetwerk

Leiden University likes to prepare students and young alumni well for the job market. For this we use the knowledge and experience of Leiden alumni. To bring students and young alumni with questions about their careers into contact with experienced alumni, Leiden University has established the Mentor Network. Students and young alumni can register for free.

Contact

Do you have questions about your (study) career choices and has the above information not been able to help you further? Your study adviser (studyadvisor@strw.leidenuniv.nl) is always available to discuss your plans and concerns.