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Stellar Structure and Evolution


Admission requirements



The course will start with a review of the basic physics needed to understand the internal structure and evolution of the stars: the basic equation of stellar structure, the thermodynamics of classical and degenerate gases in both the non-relativistic and relativistic regimes, convection, sources of stellar opacity, and nuclear energy generation. This will be followed by a detailed description and analysis of all the main phases of stellar evolution. We will make use of simple models when possible, but we will also discuss the results of sophisticated computer simulations. Topics include the pre-main sequence, main-sequence and giant phases, the structure and formation of white dwarfs, stellar pulsations, and astroseismology.

Course objectives

The goal of the course is to understand the structure and evolution of stars, and their observational properties, from the pre-main-sequence, through the main-sequence, and post-main-sequence phases, how this relates back to fundamental physical processes including the interaction of matter and radiation, thermodynamics and the equation of state of gasses, nucleosynthesis and the formation of elements, and to apply this understanding to a state-of-the-art code for stellar evolution, MESA.


See MSc schedules

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Written exam.



Reading list


  • Stellar Structure and Evolution, Authors: Kippenhahn, R, Weigert, A, Weiss, A, Springer Verlag.


Via uSis
More information about signing up for your classes at the Faculty of Science can be found here
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Lecturer: Prof. dr. A.G.G.M. (Xander) Tielens
Assistant: Anne-Sofie Bak Nielsen, MSc
Course website can be found here