Master's degree in astrophysics


Program Description

The exceptional atmospheric conditions for the highest quality astronomical observations in the Canary Islands, together with their geographical proximity and good connection with Europe, justify the presence of the European Observatory of the Northern Hemisphere (ENO). This fact, together with the consequent concentration of professors and researchers around the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, the Department of Astrophysics of the ULL and the Observatories, generates an ideal environment for the development of a Master in Astrophysics in which direct contact with prestigious professionals supposes an exceptional added value. The Master has been designed based on a wide and rigorous offer of subjects, options and itineraries that are concreted in three specialties: "Specialty in Theory and Computation", "Specialty in Observation and Instrumentation" and "Structure of Matter".

Justification title

The new Master in Astrophysics is a proposal of the Departments of Astrophysics (DA), with the collaboration of the Departments of Fundamental Physics II (F2), Basic Physics (FB) and Fundamental and Experimental Physics, Electronics and Systems (FE) of the University de la Laguna (ULL) and is supported by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC).

Astrophysics is a multidisciplinary experimental science that integrates diverse areas of physics with multiple connections with Mathematics, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Technology and Computing. Currently Astrophysics has become a scientific discipline of great interest to the society that supports research as a priority area. This interest is also reflected in the daily press, at conferences and exhibitions for the general public, and also a significant demand for academic training by university students.

Astronomy is probably the oldest science known and practiced. Astrophysics, which arises as a result of the application of physics to the study of the structure, composition and evolution of the stars, has developed towards the end of

nineteenth century and, mainly, throughout the XX. Astrophysics directly related materials have entered universities in the past 40 years, settling solidly in the curriculum and having an extraordinary acceptance among students of experimental sciences, basically.

On the other hand, it is enough to review the daily press to realize that currently Astrophysics is one of the experimental sciences that arouses greater interest in our society. This is due, among others, to the following causes:

  • Many of the questions that man poses about nature and its origins belong to the field of study of this science (such as those referring to cosmology, exobiology, study of planetary climates, black holes, dark matter, astroparticles, etc.).
  • Recent technological and experimental developments (space and giant telescopes, infrared and X-ray observation satellites, new detectors, radio and visible interferometry, gravitational wave detectors, supercomputers, etc.) are allowing or will allow in the near future effective progress in solving the aforementioned enigmas and, in addition,
  • It is a markedly interdisciplinary science, having relationships fundamentally with Physics and Mathematics, but also with Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Engineering, Computing, among others.

This interest of the society makes that at the present time an academic formation in Astrophysics is requested by a significant number of students (in spite of the general decrease of students in the experimental sciences degrees) and, in addition, turns it into an attractive offer both for teaching in high school and high school and for the dissemination of science to the general public.

On the other hand, Astrophysics is a priority subject in research not only in our country but also in the countries of the European Union (EU) and other advanced countries of the world. Even national and supranational organizations such as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), ESA (European Space Agency), ESO (European Southern Observatory) and many others maintain scientific programs

dedicated to research in this area.

Entry and exit profile

Admission Profile

Future students of the master's degree are expected to have one of the following profiles:

  • Graduates in Physics, fundamentally, but also in Mathematics and Engineering (including Informatics) of Spanish universities that want to complete their training with a Masters in Astrophysics.
  • Active graduates who want to improve their training or expand their professional profile (eg teachers of middle schools).
  • Graduates of Iberoamerican, European (and the rest of the world) universities who want to study the Master or some practical credits based on collaborations with the ULL.
  • Graduates in Physics or in any of the experimental sciences, engineers and technical engineers.

Requirements of previous training of the Master.

The previous training requirements of the students who want to take the master's degree will be the following:

  • Be graduates or graduates in Physics, or
  • To be graduated or licensed in other Experimental or Technical Sciences and have completed at least 30 credits of Physics subjects similar to those found in the current Physics Degree.

In those cases in which the potential students could not meet the criteria specified above, they will be advised, in personal tutoring, which subjects of the Degree or Physics Degree should be taken as previous training to enter the master's degree.

Graduation profile

  • Researcher: complete, rigorous and current training in Astrophysics. Analysis and processing of time series images and spectra. Development of theoretical models in different contexts. Terrestrial, space and virtual observatories.
  • Computer expert: Programming languages. Numeric Codes. Computer applications. Experimentation and numerical simulation in 3D. Visualization of structures and processes. Dynamic simulation of complex systems. Parallelism. Databases. Supercomputing
  • Virtual observatories
  • Expert in instrumentation and technology: Detection in the visible, infrared and other spectral ranges. Optical and electronic instrumentation. Spectral study of matter. Management of high technology projects. Space projects. Software tools. Scientific specifications. Quality control and technical requirements monitoring.
  • Teacher, disseminator: Development of teaching units. Techniques of scientific divulgation. Scientific journalism.


The objectives of this degree are to train researchers in the field of Astrophysics and professionals with the following profiles:

  • Researcher in theoretical or observational areas in Astrophysics or Structure of Matter.
  • Expert in computer languages ​​and realization of codes and numerical simulations.
  • Expert in instrumentation and technology applied to Astrophysics.
  • Discloser on Astrophysics.


Basic skills

  • Possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and / or application of ideas, often in a research context.
  • That the students know how to apply the acquired knowledge and their problem solving capacity in new or little known environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their area of ​​study.
  • That students are able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments from information that, incomplete or limited, includes reflections on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments.
  • That the students know how to communicate their conclusions and the latest knowledge and reasons that support them to specialized and non-specialized audiences in a clear and unambiguous way.
  • That students have the learning skills that allow them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous.

General competitions

  • To know the advanced mathematical and numerical techniques that allow the application of Physics and Astrophysics to the solution of complex problems through simple models.
  • Understand the technologies associated with observation in Astrophysics and instrumentation design.
  • Analyze a problem, study possible solutions published and propose new solutions or lines of attack.
  • Evaluate orders of magnitude and develop a clear perception of physically different situations that show analogies allowing the use of synergies and known solutions to new problems.

Specific skills

  • Understand the basic conceptual schematics of Astrophysics.
  • Understand the structure and evolution of stars.
  • Understand the mechanisms of nucleosynthesis.
  • Understand the structure and evolution of galaxies.
  • Understand the models of the origin and evolution of the Universe.
  • Understand the structure of matter being able to solve problems related to the interaction between matter and radiation in different energy ranges.
  • Know how to find solutions to specific astrophysical problems for themselves using specific bibliography with minimal supervision. Know how to develop independently in a novel research project.
  • Know how to program, at least, in a language relevant to the scientific calculation in Astrophysics.
  • Understand the instrumentation used to observe the Universe in the different frequency ranges.
  • Use current scientific instrumentation (both Earth-based and Space-based) and learn about their innovative technologies.
  • Know how to use current astrophysical instrumentation (both in terrestrial and space observatories) especially the one that uses the most innovative technology and know the basics of the technology used.
  • Apply the knowledge acquired to carry out an original research work in Astrophysics.

Orientation and tutoring

In addition to the usual tutorials of each subject, there will be individualized tutorials (face-to-face and / or electronic) assigning a teacher to each student throughout the postgraduate course.

These individualized tutorials will help the student to choose the subjects, to organize their work and to contact the researchers and teachers. They will also be very important to receive the student's impressions about the master's program and give information about their professional future.

Initially, assistance to them will be encouraged with a mandatory first appointment system.

The tutorials as a whole will involve 4 hours of contact teacher / student over a semester.

Additionally, the Academic Director of the Master is always available to guide and support students before, during and after enrollment. Students can contact him at the address both to resolve any questions and to arrange a personal appointment.

In addition, the master's degree in Astrophysics, as it is a degree taught in the Faculty of Physics, is part of the Quality Assurance System of the Faculty of Physics (SGIC). The design of the SGIC of the Faculty of Physics of the ULL, developed according to the requirements of the AUDIT program designed by the National Agency for the Evaluation of Quality and Accreditation (ANECA), is an axis on which other quality criteria are articulated, fundamental for the accreditation of official undergraduate or postgraduate education.

Among the objectives of the SGIC of the Physics Faculty of the ULL is Student Orientation. For the implementation and monitoring of the IQAS of the Faculty of Physics, the figure of the Coordinator of the Tutorial Action and Guidance Plan was created among others.

External practices

This master does not contemplate the performance of external practices.

Master's thesis

The Final Master's Project will consist in the student's realization of a research project whose final objective is to demonstrate the academic sufficiency to obtain the Master's degree. The student must use for this the set of skills, skills and attitudes acquired throughout the lessons, evaluating the progress and learning result of two equally important aspects: on the one hand, the scientific orientation related to the contents and, on the other , the learning of research techniques.

Likewise, the public defense will be evaluated before a qualified Court composed of Doctors. In this public exhibition, the student demonstrates his abilities in oral expression, argumentation and ability to respond to questions raised by the evaluating court.

The Final Master's Project will be qualified by the court.

The Final Master's Project will be carried out under the supervision of a director with the degree of Doctor or a prestigious professional endorsed by the corresponding institution or company; in the latter case, a member of one of the Department Councils Involved will endorse the work.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad ... Read More

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad y contribuyendo decisivamente a su modernización. Read less
Santa Cruz de Tenerife