MSc in Astronomy

University of Groningen

Program Description

MSc in Astronomy

University of Groningen

University of Groningen

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 includes the possibility to focus on observational astronomy, theoretical astronomy, astronomical instrumentation and informatics, data science or astronomy teaching.

Astronomy graduates in the Netherlands in general and Kapteyn graduates, in particular, have excellent career prospects. 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.

We have two scholarship available of €10.000,- per year for talented international students, offered by the Research School for Astronomy (NOVA).

Programme options

The Master in Astronomy is a 2-year programme. There are 60 credits per year, most courses are 5 ECTS. As a Master student in Astronomy, you have the option of deciding what you want to specialize in. Below are the specialization tracks available for this Master.

Theoretical and Observational Astronomy (specialization)

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.

Instrumentation and Informatics (specialization)

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.

Science, Business and Policy (profile)

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.

Data Science and Systems Complexity (specialization)

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.

HTSM Honours Master (honours programme)

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.

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.

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More 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.
previous education Bachelor's degree in Astronomy; possible admission for 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 this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the master programme for which you applied.
other admission requirements SCHOLARSHIPS: In cooperation with major national and international companies we welcome students with several 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.

Language requirements

Exam Minimum score
IELTS overall band 6.5
TOEFL paper-based 580
TOEFL computer-based 237
TOEFL internet-based 92

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Programme form
EU/EEA 2018-2019 € 2060 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2018-2019 € 14200 full-time

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
EU/EEA students 01 May 2018, 01 November 2018 01 September 2018, 01 February 2019
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2018, 01 November 2018 01 September 2018, 01 February 2019

Job prospects

The objective of the Groningen Master's degree programme is to give students the best opportunity for participation in major European or global astronomical research projects, in PhD programmes, and in professions dealing with astronomical instrumentation and informatics. While the Master's programme 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.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated March 7, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Feb. 2019
Sept. 2019
24 months
Full time
14,200 EUR
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
Start date : Feb. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Start date : Sept. 2019
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Feb. 2019
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
Application deadline Request Info
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