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Physics and Astronomy: Astronomy and Astrophysics (track)
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Study programme

Astronomy and Astrophysics in Amsterdam is firmly embedded in the Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, which has a long track record of world leading research in both observational astronomy and theoretical astrophysics. Researchers of the institute are well-positioned to train you in both the observational and theoretical aspects of modern astronomy and astrophysics, and to teach on current international research topics, such as:

  • X-ray binaries and compact objects
  • Gamma ray bursts and radio transients
  • Advanced instrumentation
  • Planet and star formation

You will be able to make use of a wide range of tools - both in theory and application - to define the properties of astrophysical objects, and to identify the fundamental laws that govern their behaviour. Among these tools are:

  • Supercomputers (the faculty campus houses the premier data and computing hub of The Netherlands)
  • Ground-based telescopes, operating at wavelengths from radio to optical (such as ESO's VLT and the new LOFAR)
  • Space observatories (such as Hubble, Chandra, XMM, Swift, Herschel, GLAST)


The following courses are compulsory:

  • Stellar Atmospheres (6 EC)
  • Basic Linux/Coding (3 EC)
  • Statistical Methods (3 EC)
  • Open Problems in Modern Astrophysics (6 EC)
  • Structure and Evolution of Stars (6 EC)
  • Academic Skills (6 EC in total)

You can choose the rest of your course load  from a broad variety of electives, such as:

  • Fluid Dynamics (6 EC)
  • Space Instrumentation for Astrophysics (6 EC)
  • Particle Cosmology (6 EC)
  • Star and Planet Formation (6 EC)
  • Interstellar and Circumstellar Matter (6 EC)

The programme emphasises interaction, with many courses employing non-traditional, project-based forms of testing. An example is the Observation Project*, which requires you to write a proposal for an observing project and travel to a professional observatory (on La Palma, Canary Islands) to execute it and report on the data.

*The Observation Project is very high in demand, and may become a merit-based course whereby only top students are eligible.

Detailed course information

For detailed information regarding the curriculum and courses, please see the UvA Course Catalogue via the link below. 

Master's project and thesis

The second year of the programme (another 60EC) is dedicated to an independent state-of-the art research project. You conduct this project by yourself, within one of the UvA research groups, at an institute abroad via e.g. an Erasmus agreement, or within industry - under the close guidance of a UvA staff member. Your project culminates in a written Master's thesis (ideally of publishable quality) and an oral presentation during a public colloquium, usually within the API’s Master Symposium day.

A few recent examples of Master's theses in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the UvA are:

Pre-Master's programme

If you lack the required knowledge and skills to be admitted to the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy, you can close the gap in our pre-Master’s programme.

Extra scholarships available

For Physics and Astronomy only, we have in addition to our regular Amsterdam Science Talent Scholarships, extra scholarships available for excellent (non-Dutch) EU/EER students. The Amsterdam Physics and Astronomy Scholarship.

Majors and minors

At the UvA  you can choose to do your Master’s programme with a society-/ business-oriented major or minor that focuses on other skills than doing research. In this case you will follow the programme of your chosen scientific discipline during the first year of your Master’s (although slightly adjusted), and a society-/ business-oriented major or minor during the second year. You will graduate as a Master of Science. If you have the ambition to do a professional specialisation make sure to inform about conditions early in your Master's programme.   

Accreditation and academic title

This Master's programme has been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). Upon successful completion of the programme (a total of 120 ECTS), students will receive a legally recognised Master's degree in Physics and Astronomy and the title of Master of Science (MSc).

Bring your own device

All students enrolled in the Physics and Astronomy Master's programme are requested to bring their own laptop. More information on specific system requirements can be found here.