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Education in astronomy and astrophysics

Lund Observatory is a part of the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics. The astronomy researchers here at Lund Observatory focus much of their attention on the stars and planets of our Galaxy, but also pursue other interests as described on the Research pages.

Once you decide to join us, to study astronomy and hopefully pursue a career as an astronomer, you start by enrolling to the Bachelor programme in astronomy and astrophysics. After three years of studies you will have gained the tools that you need to understand both physics and astronomy, and you will be rewarded with a Bachelor of Science degree.

If you have already received (or are about to receive) your Bachelor degree, you can apply for entry into our Master program in astrophysics. The Master program takes two years and includes both courses and thesis work. With a Master of Science degree from Lund University you are fully qualified and ready to apply for a PhD position either here or at other institutions.

Bachelor programme

The bachelor program in physics, specializing in astronomy, is a three year program resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree. The program starts by giving you the physics and math tools you need to further your education. As you specialize more and more the program becomes increasingly flexible, giving you the opportunity to choose the (astronomy) course you are most interested in.

Master programme in astrophysics

Lund Observatory offers a Master programme in astrophysics for students who already have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent in physics or astronomy. The Master programme is equivalent to two years of full time work (120 ECTS), out of which one year (60 ECTS) consists of course and the other half (60 ECTS) consists of a research project carried out at the department.

The first semester is entirely devoted to coursework, in order to give you a solid foundation of knowledge to use in your project work, while the remaining three semesters are split between working on your research project and taking courses.  

First year Fall 1 Extragalactic astronomy or Planetary systems Stellar structure and evolution
Fall 2 Dynamical astronomy Statistical tools
Spring 1 Optional course 1  
Spring 2 Optional course 2
Second year Fall 1 Extragalactic astronomy or Planetary systems Project
Fall 2 Optional course 3
Spring 2

Postgraduate studies

Lund Observatory offers a postgraduate programme in Astronomy and Astrophysics, equivalent to four years of full-time studies (240 credits or ECTS). The programme consists of courses (60 credits) and thesis work (equivalent to 180 credits). The thesis work could be in any of the research areas currently represented at the Observatory. After having successfully completed the programme the student receives the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Lund University.

Postgraduate studies are a vital part of the Department's research activities. The PhD students work in close collaboration with their supervisors and colleagues in small research groups, which very often are parts of much larger international collaborations. Travels to conferences and visits to other institutes or observatories are natural ingredients of the education. Many of our postgraduate students continue their academic careers, after completing their PhDs, as postdocs at astronomical institutes abroad.


Briefly, to be eligible for PhD studies in Astronomy and Astrophysics the student should either have a degree at advanced (MSc) level, or four years (240 credits) of university studies including one year at advanced level, or the corresponding knowledge gained within or outside Sweden. The studies should include physics, mathematics, and/or the corresponding technical subjects as essential ingredients, as well as a degree project of at least 30 credits.


Admission to PhD studies furthermore requires that adequate financing exists for the student's salary (or similar) during the whole four-year period. Normally PhD positions are financed directly by the Department or by an external grant to the Department, e.g., from EU's Marie Curie programme or a Swedish funding agency. Once a student has been admitted to PhD studies, he or she receives a monthly scholarship or salary that is usually more than sufficient to cover the living expenses in Lund. PhD positions are only advertised when the relevant funding is available within the Department.

Openings for PhD studies in Astronomy and Astrophysics are advertised on the Lund Observatory web page. Typically about two such positions are advertised each year. There are no fixed dates at which the advertisements are posted, but it will always be at least three weeks before the deadline for applications.

Lund Observatory building. Photo: Florent Renaud
Lund Observatory
Lund Observatory at dawn. Photo: Florent Renaud.

Information about the Bachelor programme

Nils Ryde
046 - 222 1574
studievagledning [at] astro [dot] lu [dot] se

Information about the Master programme

Florent Renaud
046 - 222 1588
florent [at] astro [dot] lu [dot] se

Information about Postgraduate studies

Thomas Bensby
046 - 222 7324
tbensby [at] astro [dot] lu [dot] se