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Observational Cosmology


Admission requirements

None. This course is designed to complement the Astronomy master´s course Origin and Evolution of the Universe. Completing this course is very helpful preparation before taking this one.


The purpose of this course is to provide a general overview of the observational basis for our modern view of cosmology. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Major tests used to establish the age of the universe

  • Hubble constant

  • Dark matter

  • Dark energy

  • Baryonic content of the universe

  • Matter power spectrum

  • The ‘w’ parameter

Course objectives

The primary objectives of this course are for students to learn the general observational techniques and physical principles for making a wide variety of inferences about the current state, evolution, and origin/age of the universe.


See Astronomy master schedules

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Written exam

Reading list

Observational Cosmology, 2010, Stephen Serjeant (Cambridge University Press)


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturer: Dr. R.J. (Rychard) Bouwens