How old is the Universe? How do galaxies develop? What is found between the stars? How are planetary systems formed? Are you fascinated by questions like these? Then Astronomy is right for you!
If you are interested in natural sciences, this international programme will appeal to you. You will study the physical processes in the universe, which means that physics and mathematics are an important part of the programme.
Our three-year programme has been frequently voted as a top-degree Astronomy programme in the Netherlands and has a regular intake of more than 70 students, ensuring many contact hours and availability of excellent facilities. You still have the opportunity to switch to (Applied) Mathematics in the first semester and you can still switch to (Applied) Physics in the first year. This means you can never go wrong!
Nearly every year sees spectacular discoveries in the field of astronomy. These are largely driven by technological advances. In Groningen you can concentrate on a wide range of topics such as our milky way, the structure and dynamics of galaxies, the universe itself and the formation of planetary systems, as well as the development and improvement of instruments. Our broad programme even offers a specialization in instrumentation and informatics in the minor phase as an alternative to the general Astronomy minor.
Groningen astronomers belong to the top of the world. Astronomy research has been carried out at Groningen University since 1883. They have been heavily involved in the construction and use of the Westerbork radio telescope (WSRT). At the moment they play a key role in the development and use of the LOFAR network of radio telescopes and the future Square Kilometer Array, while leading the development of instruments for the upcoming Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in Chile. They also have key roles in space projects, such as leading the development of the HIFI detector in the Herschel satellite, the data processing center of the upcoming Euclid cosmology satellite, while having a leading role in the Gaia satellite mapping of our Milky Way.
Fascinated by the Universe
My name is Grigore-Leon Rațiu. I grew up in a town on the coast of the Black Sea, Constanța, in Romania. I have always wanted to study Astronomy and Physics.
Wait, I'm actually spinning things around: I've always wanted to study Physics, but I have also always been fascinated by the Universe. A natural consequence of being interested in physics. The University of Groningen has given me the opportunity to study both degree programmes simultaneously. Perhaps the best thing about studying these programmes, is the fact that they keep me challenged.
I decided to study in Groningen because I believe that the University of Groningen is a great university, but I also truly enjoy the city. It's nice to bike through, quiet outside of the city center, very clean, and safe!
The work I do now isn't vastly different from the studies I did at Groningen
After my Bachelor's degree I worked for my PhD at Groningen and went on to a postdoc position in Los Angeles. I am now Professor of Astronomy at Yale University. I research the formation and evolution of galaxies. My degree prepared me perfectly for this job. The basic set-up of the work I do now isn't vastly different from the studies I did at Groningen.
Practical work for hard science
'I've been working as Junior Commissioning Engineer for ASTRON, a radio astronomy institute, for about a year now. I did my final project here as part of my Master's programme in Instrumentation & Informatics, and they offered me a job.
This job ties in perfectly with my degree programme, although team meetings and project-based work were new for me. As a Commissioning Engineer my job is to make sure that the systems and equipment are ready for use. I test subsystems and check that they continue to function correctly when used in tandem, for example.
I am currently working on a receiver for the Westerbork Radio Synthesis Telescope. My work involves analysing data from behind my computer, but also taking measurements on location together with the system developers. This combination of concrete and practical work combined with the development of systems for hard science suits me perfectly!’
Boudewijn Hut - Junior Commissioning Engineer
Sometimes I can't stop going on about the latest discovery in space
'The stars and the universe have fascinated me since I was a child. There are so many questions, but not always an answer. I like the idea that I might be able to help find some of these answers.
Alongside studying I’m also an active member of the study association and a student association, and I help with the Discovery Truck. It’s great to get to know lots of different people. Sometimes I’ve had enough of talking about physics, but other times I can’t stop going on about the latest discovery in space! I’m a member of various association committees, where you learn to organize at a different level. You learn to manage money, make schedules and, most importantly, to work in a team. I have also benefited from the analytical and logical way of thinking you learn in Astronomy to find the solution to a problem. Whether I’m organizing a members’ weekend or a study excursion, it always comes in handy. I also participate actively in sports, which is a great way to take your mind off things after a busy day and it also keeps your brain fit!’