BSc in Astronomy


Program Description

How old is the Universe? How do galaxies develop? What is found between the stars? How are planetary systems formed? Are you fascinated by questions like these? Then Astronomy is right for you!

If you are interested in the natural sciences, this international program will appeal to you. You will study the physical processes in the universe, which means that physics and mathematics are an important part of the program.

Our three-year program ranks as a top-degree in the Netherlands and has a regular intake of 50-60 students, ensuring many contact hours and availability of excellent facilities. You still have the opportunity to switch to (Applied) Mathematics in the first semester and you can still switch to (Applied) Physics in the first year. This means you can never go wrong!

Spectacular discoveries have recently been made in the field of astronomy, mainly because technological advances make new things possible. In Groningen, you can concentrate on the universe itself, or on developing and improving instruments. Our broad program even offers a specialization in instrumentation and informatics in the minor phase as an alternative to the general Astronomy minor.

The Groningen astronomers are among the best in the world. Research has been carried out at the University since 1883. Groningen astronomers collaborated in the development of the HIFI instrument in the Herschel space telescope, and are involved in the international LOFAR network of radio telescopes.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • The University of Groningen has its very own observatory! As an Astronomy student, you can use it to your own benefit and apply what you learn directly and make exciting observations.
  • Opportunity to participate in an observing program on the Canary Islands


Year 1


  • Calculus 1 and 2
  • Electives: Introduction Astronomy, Introduction Energy & Environment 1, Medical Physics, Physics of Modern Technology, Physics of Quantum Universe
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Introduction to Programming and Computational Methods
  • Linear Algebra
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Mechanics and Relativity
  • Observational Astronomy
  • Physics Laboratory 1

Year 2


  • Complex Analysis
  • Numerical Methods
  • Physics, Astronomy, Ethics, and Society
  • Physics of Galaxies
  • Physics of Stars
  • Quantum Physics 1 & 2
  • Statistics for Astronomy
  • Structure of Matter 1
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
  • Waves and Optics

Year 3


  • Astroparticle Physics
  • Astrophysical Hydrodynamica
  • Bachelor's Project (15 ECTS)
  • Electives and minor e.g. Cosmology, Materials Science and Engineering, Introduction to Radio Astronomy
  • Interstellar Medium


Astronomy in Groningen stands out for its academic excellence and research orientation. The work pace in the first year is generally high and the course contents demanding. The first-year curriculum concentrates on laying a sound basis in mathematics and physics. The third year includes a free minor, as well as a research project which is carried out in one of the research groups.

Credits per year: 60 ECTS; most courses are 5 ECTS.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 20 weeks

Exchange: All our science and engineering programs offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, the UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America. Our exchange programs have a typical duration of one semester and count toward your final degree.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
additional subject

Mathematics and Physics.

This is merely an indication of the required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the bachelor program for which you applied.

language test Proficiency in English is an admission requirement for all English-taught degree programs.
previous education

Secondary education equivalent to Dutch pre-university education is required.

This is merely an indication of the required general level of applicants' previous education.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 14000 full-time

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first-year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

Job prospects

Every year we are pleased to be able to report that Astronomy graduates have no problem finding a job. They find jobs in astronomy, but just as easily in the business sector – both within and outside the Netherlands. Depending on which Master's specialization you choose, - Research, technology, advising - there are many career paths open to you!

Continue with astronomy research

As a Ph.D. student, you will spend four years carrying out research with professors in a particular field. You then write a thesis, which will earn you the title of Doctor.

Interested in the technology of astronomy?

The degree will qualify you for positions in companies that develop advanced technologies for satellites and telescopes. Many of the techniques you learn as an astronomer are also very useful in other disciplines. The newest medical scanners, for example, contain technical advancements originally developed for telescopes.

Excellent career opportunities in the business sector

Astronomers have strong analytical abilities and are able to solve complicated problems. You will, therefore, be highly employable in areas where strategy, risk assessment, and models are important. A large number of graduates, therefore, find work with large international companies, software firms, and large financial institutions.

Job examples

  • Researcher
  • Advisor
  • Technical innovator


Research interests

Research interests within the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute:

  • Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars
  • Cosmology and the Large Scale Structure of the Universe
  • Formation, Evolution, and Structure of Galaxies
  • High-energy astrophysics: Neutron stars and black holes
  • Advanced Instrumentation
  • Star and Planet formation and the Interstellar Medium of Galaxies
  • Virtual Observatory and Astronomical Datacenters
  • Close Connections with two Major Astronomical Foundations

The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute uses the most advanced instrumentation on the ground and in space, as well as the most advanced computing facilities. Kapteyn staff are involved in the operation as well as planning and construction of major astronomical instrumentation efforts. Master students at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute work in research groups that are working on state-of-the-art astronomy and astrophysics topics. The Kapteyn Institute has close connections with the two major national organizations dealing with astronomical instrumentation: ASTRON and SRON.

ASTRON, the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, provides front-line observation facilities for Dutch astronomers and astronomers worldwide across a broad range of frequencies and technologies. ASTRON operates the Westerbork Radio Synthesis Telescope, one of the largest in the world, and offers a strong technology development program, encompassing both innovative instrumentation for existing telescopes and new technologies for future facilities. The latter include the new, revolutionary low-frequency array LOFAR and the APERTIF antenna array, which will be operated by ASTRON together with the University of Groningen. ASTRON and its facilities are within a one-hour drive from Groningen.

SRON is the national center of expertise for the development and exploitation of satellite instruments for astrophysical and earth oriented research. The low energy astrophysics branch of SRON (infrared and submillimeter instrumentation and techniques) is hosted by the University of Groningen. Scientific discoveries and instrumentation development go hand in hand as a result of the connections between Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and SRON Groningen (IRAS, ISO, Herschel Space Observatory, just to mention a few successful missions). In short, the combination offered by the University of Groningen and the ASTRON and SRON Institutes is unique in the world.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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