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MSc Astronomy

Leiden University
Program overview
2 years
Full time
Master's degree
Start dates
September 2019  (English)
September 2019  (Dutch)
September 2020  (English)
September 2020  (Dutch)
September 2021  (English)
September 2021  (Dutch)

Program Description

astronomy program

Study an MSc in Astronomy at Leiden University

The Observatory offers a challenging 2-year masters program in astronomy for exceptional students. Research at the cutting edge of modern astronomy is an integral part of the program. Both education and research focus on two major themes:

  • the formation and evolution of galaxies, from high-redshifts to the nearby universe
  • the birth and death of stars, including the lifecycle of dust and gas

You'll choose from six specializations, each containing a different study path. The overall goal of the MSc in astronomy is to integrate students in research as soon as possible. Master’s students get involved in front-line research, have access to all facilities, and get their own workspace at the institute. During the astronomy program, students learn to analyze and evaluate scientific information independently and critically, and to conduct academically sound research.

Reasons to choose Astronomy in Leiden

Leiden Observatory is a vibrant astronomy department with a distinguished history. It has both a strong international reputation, and is widely known to produce masters and doctoral students of the highest caliber. The favorable student-staff ratio guarantees a high degree of interaction with and personal attention from the senior staff.

The Leiden program is particularly known for its emphasis on the interface between observation and theory, interpretation, modeling and simulation. Leiden astronomers have access to the foremost observing facilities and the largest high performance computer facilities in the world.

The Observatory provides an international atmosphere with close ties to other astronomy institutes in Europe and the U.S. Many students, postdocs, and staff come from abroad, and there are regular visits by guests from all over the world. 

Admission requirements

Entry requirements for international students:

  • A BSc degree in physics that includes modules in astronomy OR an equivalent degree to the BSc degree (to be decided by the Board of Admissions)
  • Candidates holding a BSc degree in other sciences, such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science or Aerospace Engineering, may be considered
  • English, evidenced by an appropriate language test: - IELTS: minimum 6.5 - TOEFL: internet based 90 - Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE), minimum grade C A good command of Dutch, both written and verbal, to be assessed by language advisers at ICLON (the Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching)
  • The previous training of all applicants will be assessed by the Board of Admissions. In case of notable deficiencies in the student’s record, the Board of Admissions may propose an adapted program either as precondition for admission, or as part of the student’s program.
  • The admission process may also include an interview with the Board of Admissions. This requirement does not apply if you have completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia, or when you hold an International Baccalaureate, or for Dutch students, if you have completed VWO level English.

Entry requirements for Dutch students:

  • A BSc degree in Astronomy or its equivalent in Physics and Astronomy from one of the universities participating in the NOVA Netherlands Research School for Astronomy. Applicants holding such a degree will be admitted without further requirements OR an equivalent degree to the BSc degree (to be decided by the Board of Admissions)

Degree & diploma

Master of Science in Astronomy

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Want to find out more about this program? Fill in your details below and receive the brochure.


With a long and rich history, Leiden University is the oldest in the Netherlands. Students may choose to study from 7 faculties and 3 campuses, watch this video to learn what Leiden can offer you!

Leiden University

Leiden University

Services & Facilities

Founded in 1575, Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands offering a wide variety of programs. Leiden University is a truly international university, uniting people and knowledge from all corners of the world.  The university is comprised of...

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Location & accommodation

leiden the Netherlands

Leiden, Netherlands

Leiden, the Netherlands

Life in Leiden is greatly influenced by the relatively large number of students, as most of them both live and study in the historic city of Leiden, which has approxomately 120.000 inhabitants. Leiden University does not have a campus, but the city is it’s campus. You will almost always run into someone you know when you go shopping or when you go out at night. Since Leiden is...

Contact information for Leiden University

Leiden University

Rapenburg 70
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

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Want to find out more about this program? Fill in your details below and receive the brochure.


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