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Astronomy

A Master's degree in Astronomy is a gateway into a wide world of science and technology.

Students are trained by astronomers from the world-renowned Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, a centre leading in astronomical research on galaxy formation and evolution, cosmology, star and planet formation, neutron stars and black holes.

The two-year curriculum of the Master's degree can be tailored according to your own interests and capabilities. The wide range of options include the possibility to focus on observational astronomy, theoretical astronomy, astronomical instrumentation and informatics, data science or astronomy teaching.

Dutch Astronomy graduates in general, and Kapteyn graduates in particular, have excellent career prospects, within and outside of science. The Master's programme in Groningen is ranked as a top-degree in the Netherlands (by the 'Keuzegids'). Facilities are being ranked as outstanding, while the quality of the lecturers, the research component as well as the preparation for the professional field through e.g. internships are ranked as very good.

To enable students to gain additional experience in business and economics as well as to follow a company internship, the special Master's profile 'Business and Policy' has been designed.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Astronomy
Course type
Master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60200
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Science and Engineering
Keuzegids Masters Top Rated Programme
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Awarded 'Top Rated Programme' label (Higher Education Guide 2017)
  • Close connections with ASTRON and SRON
  • Specialisation on instrumentation and informatics possible
  • Excellent facilities
  • International and vibrant research environment
  • Our faculty is the home of the 2016 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Ben Feringa, and the Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Frits Zernike
Programme

Curriculum

2-year programme; credits per year: 60 ECTS; most courses are 5 ECTS.

Programme options
Quantum Universe: Theoretical and Observational Astronomy (track)

The Theoretical and Observational Astronomy master is jointly organized with Physics and Mathematics in the Quantum Universe track.

It comprises 60 ECTS of coursework. 20 ECTS are spent on Advanced Astrophysics, and 20 ECTS are spent in joint courses such as General Relativity and Electrodynamics of Radiation Processes. The last 20 ECTS are optional courses.

The research project (Master's thesis) comprises 60 ECTS and is carried out under the supervision of the research groups at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute.

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=6391&ocasysyear=2019

More information about this option

Quantum Universe: Instrumentation and Informatics (track)

In the Instrumentation and Informatics track, you follow a number of courses aimed at supplying you with skills dealing with astronomical instrumentation and informatics.

The research is split into 40 ECTS worth of Master's research/thesis and 20 ECTS for an industrial research project, as well as 60 ECTS of coursework which includes a substantial component (40 ECTS) of instrumentation and informatics courses. The research work is carried out under the supervision of a staff member from the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute (including affiliated staff members from SRON and ASTRON, see below), and often in interaction with his or her research group, resulting in Master's thesis of high international standard.

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=6391

More information about this option

Science, Business and Policy (track)

Interested in the business side of science? You can combine this Master's programme with the Science Business & Policy profile. The SBP profile includes a six-month internship as a scientific advisor.

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=6390

More information about this option

Quantum Universe: Data Science and Systems Complexity (track)

As part of this new specialization you must take a number of courses in Data Science.

Modern astronomy deals with big data, and this specialization supplies you with skills which are also highly demanded in other sciences as well as in society and business.

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=6391

More information about this option

HTSM Honours Master (honours program)

This Master's degree programme gives access to the additional, highly selective, High Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM) Honours Master.

The HTSM Honours Master is organized in cooperation with Philips and other major industry partners.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 60 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

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Bachelor's degree in Astronomy; possible admission for a Bachelor's degree in Physics or Applied Physics.

Information about admission possibilities and requirements for students from a Dutch HBO institute is published on: https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission

other admission requirements

BEFORE YOU APPLY Make sure to visit 'MSc Application Procedure' at https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
AstronomyAll Research universities

No additional requirements

More information:

(to be decided by the admissions board)

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
PhysicsUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
Applied PhysicsUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
additional subject

The Admissions Office will advise the Admissions Board on your application, after which the Board will decide if you meet the admission requirements in terms of general level of previous education and specific background knowledge. Applications are evaluated on a continuous basis. You do not have to wait until the application deadline to apply.

language test

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

previous education

At least a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy; admission is decided on a case by case basis for applicants with at least a Bachelor's degree in Physics or Applied Physics.

This is merely an indication of required background knowledge. The Admissions Board determines whether the specific contents of your previous degree programme meet the admission requirements.

other admission requirements

BEFORE YOU APPLY Make sure to visit 'MSc Application Procedure' at www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

SCHOLARSHIPS

ASML Scholarship: ASML is one of the world's leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. The €5000 p/y scholarship is awarded every year to 25 exceptional students, who get the chance to become a Technology Ambassador within their scholarship period. More information can be found here: https://www.asml.com/careers/for-students/asml-scholarship/en/s32512?rid=30027

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL computer based237
TOEFL internet based92

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 201901 September 2019
15 October 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
15 October 202001 February 2021
EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
15 October 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
15 October 202001 February 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
15 October 201901 February 2020
01 May 202001 September 2020
15 October 202001 February 2021
Tuition Fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 14600full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

The objective of the Groningen Master's degree program is to give students the best opportunity for participation in major European or global astronomical research projects, in PhD programs, and in professions dealing with astronomical instrumentation and informatics.

While the Master's program in Astronomy is primarily aimed at training researchers, a substantial amount of graduates successfully find employment in the public or private sector. Astronomy graduates are well-trained problem solvers, skilled professionally not only in astronomy but also in physics, mathematics, IT and computing science.

Job examples

  • PhD research position
  • Participate in astronomical research projects
  • Professions dealing with astronomical instrumentation and informatics
Research

Close Connections with two Major Astronomical Foundations

Kapteyn Institute
Kapteyn Institute

The research work is carried out within one of the research groups of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, under the supervision of a staff astronomer. Kapteyn staff are involved in observational and theoretical research dealing with:

Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars

Cosmology and the Large Scale Structure of the Universe

Formation, Evolution and Structure of Galaxies

High-energy astrophysics: Neutron stars and black holes

Instrumentation

Star and Planet formation and the Interstellar Medium of Galaxies

Virtual Observatory and Astronomical Datacenters

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, again on the ground and in space. Master students at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute work in research groups which are currently shaping 21st-century astronomy and astrophysics. The Kapteyn Institute has close connections with the two major national foundations 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 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute-SRON Groningen connections (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)
  • sciencemasters@rug.nl (For international students who are interested in a Campus Tour or have other practical questions)
    Email: sciencemasters@rug.nl
  • 
								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!’

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