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University Observatory Munich

Faculty of Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University

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Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Astrophysics


The Masters degree can be commenced following the successful completion of a Bachelor's degree in physics or astrophyics. The four semester Master course which leads to the qualification of “Master of Science” is divided into two parts. The first two semesters consist of lectures in basic astrophysics and advanced courses in physics. A specialized subject area is chosen. The masters thesis is completed in the last two semesters with accompanying colloquia, tutorials and seminars.

The modular design of the Masters degree course in astrophysics allows the participants to study with emphasis in either experimental or theoretical topics. The primary goal of this course is to provide an overview into the deeper interconnections in astrophysics in a physical context. The masters degree is the professional qualification attained by examination after scientific training has been completed. In addition, it enables the student to be admitted to doctoral studies in physics.


The primary goals of the course are to impart expertise in current research topics on the basis of a deeper physical understanding. Here research methods, strategic planning, critical evaluation of the scientific results, independence as well as a career relevant qualifications are central. The ability to think astrophysically and to proceed methodically in both theory and practice are developed during the two year course of study. A mixture of lectures, exercises, seminars, colloquia, tutorials, practicals and field studies provides this training. Building on the knowledge gained in the first two semesters, these abilities will be strengthened during the year long research phase of the third and fourth semesters.

Professional qualification

Graduates of the Master of Science in Astrophysics have attained a degree of knowledge in a modern specialized area of physics at the highest international level. Because of the broad range of the course they are able to apply their training to other areas and research topics in their subsequent professional careers. The Masters degree in Astrophysics enables the student to work independently as a physicist in research and university teaching, an industrial environment and the service industries. The professional qualification attained is applicable in fundamental physical research, applied research and development in natural science, technical, IT and medical areas as well as modern administration and service businesses.

Curriculum summary

  • Essentials of Astrophysics (P1 = 9 ECTS)
    Principles of radiation and radiative transfer, stellar atmospheres, potential theory, stellar astronomy, stellar structure and evolution, stellar remnants, interstellar medium and star formation, exoplanets, observational methods and observational instruments. Principles of chemical evolution, stellar dynamics, structure and dynamics of galaxies, dark matter, active galaxies, super massive black holes, large scale structure, groups and clusters of galaxies, cosmology, early universe, galaxy formation.
  • Astrophysical Laboratory I + II (P2 + WP1 or WP2 = each 9 ECTS)
    Interpretation and analysis of absorption and emission line spectra with respect to atmospheres, gaseous nebulae, galaxies and quasars, and of photometrical observations with respect to galaxies, stars, stellar clusters, and planets. Methods of Integration, Matrix-inversion, Ordinary differential equations, N-body simulations, Random numbers and Monte Carlo Simulation.
  • One Lecture of Essential Astrophysical Tools (P2 = 6 ECTS)
    • Statistics
    • Quantum Mechanics
    • Hydrodynamics
    • Plasmaphysics
    • Observational Instruments
  • Astrophysics “Hauptseminar” (WP1 or WP2 = 3 ECTS)
    Astrophysical advanced Seminar “Tools in modern Astrophysics”
  • One Lecture of the (Modern) Physics curriculum (P3 = 6 ECTS)
  • Four Elective Lectures (P4 or P5 = each 6 ECTS) from the fields of
    • Observational Techniques
    • Interstellar Medium
    • Radiative Processes
    • Stellar Structure and Evolution
    • Star and Planet Formation
    • Gravitational Dynamics
    • Galaxy Evolution
    • Cosmology
    • Theoretical or numerical methods of astrophysical topics
    • Experimental or observational methods of astrophysical topics

Outline of studies

1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd and 4th Semester
Courses of the Astrophysics Modules Preparation for Master’s Thesis
and Master’s Thesis
CLA Astrophysics
L 4 + SWS 2
9 ELA Astrophysics
L 2 + SWS 2
6 ELA Astrophysics
L 2 + SWS 2
AM: P2 CP ELA Astrophysics
L 2 + SWS 2
6 AM: WP3 . . . WP8 CP
P/E Laboratory I
9 ELA Astrophysics
L 2 + SWS 2
6 Attendant research seminar
SWS 2+2

Preparation project for TW
SWS 4+4


CLA Astrophysics
L 2 + SWS 2
6 AM: WP1 or WP2 CP
  P/E Laboratory II
S Advanced Seminar
SWS 2+2
3 AM: WP9 . . . WP14 CP
Supplementary Courses / Elective Lectures Methods and tools tutorial
SWS 4+4
PM: P3 CP   AM: P6 CP
ELP/P/S Modern Physics
L 2 + SWS 2
6 TW research project
26 weeks work

Attendant research seminar
SWS 2+2

Total Number of CP: 30 Total Number of CP: 30 Total Number of CP: 60


CLA = Course Lecture Astrophysics AM = Module of Astrophysics
ELA = Elective Lecture Astrophysics PM = Module of Physics
ELP = Elective Lecture Physics/Mathematics SWS = Number of weekly hours (the unit is 45 min)
S = Seminar L = Lecture Duration (the unit is 45 min)
E = Exercises CP = Credit Points based on the ECTS-system
P = Practical Work (Laboratory) TW = Thesis Work

Subordinate concept: Main focus on Astrophysics

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