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Astronomy and Instrumentation

Structure of the programme

This specialisation offers students the option to conduct a research master in astronomy with a particular focus on advanced astronomical instrumentation, techniques and instrument development. It prepares students as much for a career in research as for a career outside academia. The 2-year programme consists of two parts. First, students follow advanced courses in both instrumentation and general astronomy. Second, students carry out a minor and a major research project.

Programme (120 EC)

Level EC
Mandatory Courses
Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments 500 6
Detection of Light a + b 500 6
Elective Courses
Astronomy Core Courses, at least 500 6
Instrumentation-related Courses 400-500 12-18
Astronomy Courses of any type 400-500 24-30
Research Projects
First Research Project in General Astronomy 500 30
Master's Research Project in Astronomical Instrumentation 600 30

Master Study Plan

At the start of the Master’s programme, students are required to draw up the Master Study Plan: a complete list of planned courses and projects for two subsequent academic years in consultation with the Study Advisor Astronomy. To select courses, consult the course list for academic year 2017-2018 (see below) and the preliminary course list for academic year 2018-2019.

Learn more

For more information on the specific requirements of this specialisation, see the appendix of the Course and Examination Regulations.

Courses 2017-2018

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Mandatory Astronomy Courses

Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments 6
Detection of Light a + b 6

Astronomy Core Courses

Origin and Evolution of the Universe 6
Galaxies: structure, dynamics and evolution 6
Interstellar Medium 6

Instrumentation-related Astronomy Courses

Astronomy from Space 3
High Contrast Imaging 3
Project Management for Scientists 3

Other Instrumentation-related Courses

The following courses offered by the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering (AE) at Delft University of Technology may be included as instrumentation-related courses in the above programme:

Code EC
Space Instrumentation AE4880 4.0
Space Systems Engineering AE4S12 3.0
Geometrical Optics AE4S12 3.0
Advanced Photonics AP3382 6.0
Imaging systems AP3221 D 6.0

See also: Enrolment as a minor student (guest student) at TU Delft

General Astronomy Courses

Computational Astrophysics 6
Large Scale Structure and Galaxy Formation 6
Star and Planet Formation 6

Specialist Astronomy Courses

Astrochemistry 3
Compact Objects and Accretion 3
Databases and Data Mining in Astronomy 3

Inter-faculty Electives

Science and the public: contemporary and historical perspectives 6
Science Methodology (SCM) 4

Additional Astronomy bachelor courses if required

On being a Scientist 3
Introduction to Solid State Physics 3
Radiative Processes 6

Career Orientation

Career orientation
During the Astronomy master’s education programme, we support you in making choices that are relevant to your future career. You will be stimulated to think about your ambitions and potential and to reflect on how to reach your goals. By actively exploring the possibilities, you enable yourself to make motivated study and career choices.

We organise various activities to help you think about questions like:

  • What are my strong skills and what skills can I still learn?

  • In which subjects do I want to specialise?

  • What subject will I choose for my Master Research Project?

  • Which electives fit my future ambitions?

  • Which type of job would I like to do after my Astronomy master’s?

  • What kind of employer would I like to work for?

Events Click here for the Astronomy career event calendar. This calendar contains an up-to-date overview of all career events relevant to Astronomy master’s students, including:

LU Career Zone
The Leiden University Career Zone is a website that offers support to Leiden University students and alumni, both during their studies and career. It offers advice, information and tools, including professional tests to draft your personal profile and job aplication tips.

Soft skills
In the Astronomy course descriptions in this e-Prospectus, behaviour-oriented skills are listed for each course. Although these soft skills cannot be measured like course objectives, being aware of the skills you acquire is important. They determine how you approach your work and your life and are therefore highly relevant to shaping your study path and future career.The soft skills you will come across in the Astronomy course descriptions include:

  • Problem solving - recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking

  • Analytical skills - analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence

  • Structured thinking - structure, modulated thinking, computational thinking, programming

  • Complex ICT-skills - data analysis, programming, simulations, complex ICT applications

  • Project management - planning, scope, boundaries, result-orientation

  • Responsibility - ownership, self-discipline, bear mistakes, accountability

  • Motivation - commitment, pro-active attitude, initiative

  • Self-regulation - independence, self-esteem, aware of own goals, motives and capacities

  • Verbal communication - presenting, speaking, listening

  • Written communication - writing skills, reporting, summarizing

  • Collaboration - teamwork, group support, loyalty, attendance

  • Flexibility - adaptability, dealing with change, teachability, eagerness to learn

  • Critical thinking - asking questions, checking assumptions

  • Creative thinking - resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box

  • Integrity - honesty, moral, ethics, personal values

Questions about your study and/or career path? Make an appointment with the Astronomy Study Advisor.