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Astronomy

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 ranks as a top-degree in the Netherlands and has a regular intake of 50-60 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!

Spectacular discoveries have recently been made in the field of astronomy, mainly because technological advances make new things possible. In Groningen you can concentrate on the universe itself, or on developing and improving instruments. Our broad programme even offers a specialization in instrumentation and informatics in the minor phase as an alternative to the general Astronomy minor.

The Groningen astronomers are among the best in the world. Research has been carried out at the University since 1883. Groningen astronomers collaborated in the development of the HIFI instrument in the Herschel space telescope, and are involved in the international LOFAR network of radio telescopes.

Facts & Figures
Degree
BSc in Astronomy
Course type
Bachelor
Duration
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
50205
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Science and Engineering
Studie in CijfersKeuzegids Top Rated Programme
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • The University of Groningen has its very own observatory! As an Astronomy student you can use it to your own benefit and apply what you learn directly and make exciting observations.
  • Opportunity to participate in an observing programme on the Canary Islands
Programme
CoursesCourse Catalog >
Calculus 1 and 2
Electives: Introduction Astronomy, Introduction Energy & Environment 1, Medical Physics, Physics of Modern Technology, Physics of Quantum Universe
Electricity and Magnetism
Introduction to Programming and Computational Methods
Linear Algebra
Mathematical Physics
Mechanics and Relativity
Observational Astronomy
Physics Laboratory 1
CoursesCourse Catalog >
Complex Analysis
Numerical Methods
Physics, Astronomy, Ethics and Society
Physics of Galaxies
Physics of Stars
Quantum Physics 1 & 2
Statistics for Astronomy
Structure of Matter 1
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Waves and Optics
CoursesCourse Catalog >
Astroparticle Physics
Astrophysical Hydrodynamica
Bachelor's Project (15 ECTS)
Electives and minor e.g. Cosmology, Materials Science and Engineering, Introduction to Radio Astronomy
Interstellar Medium

Curriculum

Astronomy in Groningen stands out for its academic excellence and research orientation. The work pace in the first year is generally high and the course contents demanding. The first year curriculum concentrates on laying a sound basis in mathematics and physics. The third year includes a free minor, as well as a research project which is carried out in one of the research groups.

Credits per year: 60 ECTS; most courses are 5 ECTS.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • Maximum of 30 EC

Exchange: All our science and engineering programmes offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America. Our exchange programmes have a typical duration of one semester and count toward your final degree.

Entry Requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • CM

    wiskunde B + natuurkunde

  • EM

    wiskunde B + natuurkunde

  • NG

    wiskunde B + natuurkunde

  • NT

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Ook is een voldoende op je vwo-Engels aan te bevelen omdat de opleiding Engelstalig is.

other admission requirements

BEFORE YOU APPLY!

Make sure to visit 'BSc Application Procedure' at: http://www.rug.nl/fwn/fmns-programme/admissions/bsc/ for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

If you apply, you participate in the mandatory matching process of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. More information: https://www.rug.nl/fse/education/matching

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a matching procedure. Attendance is compulsory. The advice is not binding.

  • There is an online questionnaire.

Explanatory notes

Meer informatie over matching: https://www.rug.nl/fse/education/matching

Registration procedure

The Admissions Board will decide whether you can be admitted to the Bachelor's degree programme. Applications are evaluated on a continuous basis. You do not have to wait until the application deadline to apply.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
additional subject

Mathematics and Physics.

This is merely an indication of required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the bachelor programme for which you applied.

language test

Proof of English proficiency is required: TOEFL IBT score of 92, a TOEFL CBT score of 237, a TOEFL PBT score of 580, an IELTS score of 6.5, a CAE or CPE certificate.

MAKE SURE TO VISIT http://www.rug.nl/fse/fmns-programme/admissions/bsc/language for all the necessary information about required language tests.

previous education

Secondary education equivalent to Dutch pre-university education is required.

This is merely an indication of the required general level of applicants' previous education.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please visit the 'BSc Application Procedure' pages at: http://www.rug.nl/education/international-students/application-procedure/entry-requirements/bachelor-degree-programme

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
Tuition Fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

https://www.rug.nl/education/tuition-fees-halved

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Every year we are pleased to be able to report that Astronomy graduates have no problem finding a job. They find jobs in astronomy, but just as easily in the business sector – both within and outside the Netherlands. Depending on which Master's specialization you choose, - Research, technology, advising - there are many career paths open to you!

Continue with astronomy research

As a PhD student you will spend four years carrying out research with professors in a particular field. You then write a thesis, which will earn you the title of Doctor.

Interested in the technology of astronomy?

The degree will qualify you for positions in companies that develop advanced technologies for satellites and telescopes. Many of the techniques you learn as an astronomer are also very useful in other disciplines. The newest medical scanners for example, contain technical advancements originally developed for telescopes.

Excellent career opportunities in the business sector

Astronomers have strong analytical abilities, and are able to solve complicated problems. You will therefore be highly employable in areas where strategy, risk assessment and models are important. A large number of graduates therefore find work with large international companies, software firms and large financial institutions.

Job examples

  • Researcher
  • Advisor
  • Technical innovator
Research

Research interests

Research interests within the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute:

Close Connections with two Major Astronomical Foundations

The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute uses the most advanced instrumentation on the ground and in space, as well as the most advanced computing facilities. Kapteyn staff are involved in the operation as well as planning and construction of major astronomical instrumentation efforts. Master students at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute work in research groups that are working on state-of-the-art astronomy and astrophysics topics. The Kapteyn Institute has close connections with the two major national organizations dealing with astronomical instrumentation: ASTRON and SRON.

ASTRON, the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, provides front-line observation facilities for Dutch astronomers and astronomers worldwide across a broad range of frequencies and technologies. ASTRON operates the Westerbork Radio Synthesis Telescope, one of the largest in the world, and offers a strong technology development programme, encompassing both innovative instrumentation for existing telescopes and new technologies for future facilities. The latter include the new, revolutionary low-frequency array LOFAR and the APERTIF antenna array, which will be operated by ASTRON together with the University of Groningen. ASTRON and its facilities are within a one-hour drive from Groningen.

SRON is the national centre of expertise for the development and exploitation of satellite instruments for astrophysical and earthoriented research. The low energy astrophysics branch of SRON (infrared and submillimeter instrumentation and techniques) is hosted by the University of Groningen. Scientific discoveries and instrumentation development go hand in hand as a result of the connections between Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and SRON Groningen (IRAS, ISO, Herschel Space Observatory, just to mention a few successful missions). In short, the combination offered by the University of Groningen and the ASTRON and SRON Institutes is unique in the world.


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Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Astronomy, please contact:

  • Academic Advisor (For questions regarding the programme)
  • sciencebachelors@rug.nl (or international students who are interested in a Campus Tour or have other practical questions)
    Email: sciencebachelors@rug.nl
  • 
								Testimonial of Pieter van Dokkum

    The work I do now isn't vastly different from the studies I did at Groningen

    – Pieter van Dokkum
    Read more

    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.

    Close
  • 
								Testimonial of Michael Zuravlovs

    The best advice I could give to anyone wanting to study here is to just do it. I'm sure they won't regret it

    – Michael Zuravlovs
    Read more

    I'm from Riga, the capital of Latvia in Eastern Europe. Although it's a large city and there are some good universities, I didn't feel challenged enough in my studies. I wanted to broaden my horizon and really dig into a subject in order to stay motivated. Riga couldn't offer me that. That's why I decided to go abroad.

    When I looked for places to study, I wanted to make sure that I would go to a 'top 100' university that offered interesting degree programmes in English. That way, I would be challenged studying, but I would also be able to improve my language skills. English is essential, and I didn't get a chance to speak, read or write it much at home.

    When I found the University of  Groningen, they were very helpful with the application process. There is a lot of stuff to fill in and sort out, and it is important to get it right. Fortunately, I could always get in touch with any questions. The only thing I wish I'd known then was to start looking for rooms straight away. It's not hard to find one, as long as you take the time to look.

    The programme was exactly what I was looking for: tough, but interesting. I like being busy and putting a bit of pressure on motivates me. The lecturers all speak English and are really engaging. I particularly like the tutors that are students themselves, as they are able to explain things on our level, from our point of view. There's always someone to ask for help or advice.

    The Netherlands did not disappoint either: it is a cool country, and although I was excited about being able to learn more about my study subject, I also enjoyed discovering a new city. It really broadens the mind. It's a very compact, beautiful city, so it's easy to get around and find your way. There are lots of busses and of course you can get anywhere on a bike.

    It's a real student city: over 25% of the population are students, and there are lots of things to do to entertain yourself and meet people. There are over 4000 other international students from all over the world, and it's nice to hang out with them and share similar experiences. The Dutch students are really easy to talk to and are always up for a chat or helping out. And although everyone speaks English – even in the supermarket - the Dutch spirit is contagious.

    The best advice I could give to anyone wanting to study here is to just do it. I'm sure they won't regret it. Oh, and they can drop by my place any time they like.

    Close
  • 
								Testimonial of Willeke  Mulder

    Sometimes I can't stop going on about the latest discovery in space

    – Willeke Mulder
    Read more

    '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!’

    Willeke Mulder

    Close
  • 
								Testimonial of Boudewijn Hut

    Practical work for hard science

    – Boudewijn Hut
    Read more

    '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

    Close

Study associations

FMF

The FMF is an association for the Bachelor's programmes Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, Applied Physics, Physics, Astronomy and all of the subsequent Master's programmes at the University of Groningen.
The association pursues three objectives. The first objective is that it wants to contribute to the broadening of the scientific education of its members. This is done by organizing various activities in the scientific field, such as study excursions, lectures and symposiums.
https://www.fmf.nl

Sirius A

Sirius A is the study association for astronomy in Groningen, the Netherlands. Astronomy in Groningen is taught at the Kapteyn Institute and is part of the University of Groningen.
Besides aiding you in your study, Sirius A informs you on future career prospects, promotes social bonding between you and your fellow students by many events and gives you the opportunity to participate in voluntary work and explore your qualities. Furthermore, Sirius A is always open for cooperation. Please contact us if you have any questions or queries.
https://www.astro.rug.nl/~sirius/
Read more
(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be issued a study advice at the end of your first year of study. You can expect a positive study advice if you have earned at least 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS; most course units are 5 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative study advice, you will not be allowed to continue your degree programme.

You will receive a preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you are. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system.

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