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COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

Working in astronomy puts you at the forefront of science and revolutionary technology. As our scientific ambitions have grown, so have the technological challenges that enable us to further increase our understanding of the Universe. In Leiden we have combined astronomical instrumentation engineering and science to offer you this unique master’s specialisation.

What does this master's programme entail?

The overall goal is to fully understand the physical principles and performance of astronomical instruments and to contribute to the development of new instrumentation technologies. The courses in the Astronomy and Instrumentation specialisation go beyond astronomy and space applications of instrumentation technology. This enables you to use your knowledge and skills in adjacent areas of science and engineering, including the development of instrumentation for environmental and medical applications.

Reasons to choose Astronomy and Instrumentation at Leiden University

  • Leiden University offers a world-exclusive master’s programme fully focused on astronomical instrumentation.
  • You will get hands-on field and laboratory experience through participation in cutting-edge instrument projects for ESO (VLT, E-ELT) and ESA (JWST, Euclid).
  • Apply for the Walraven Scholarship for excellent international master’s students.

Astronomy and Instrumentation: the right master’s programme for you?

Do you want to contribute to the hightech world of astronomical instrumentation engineering? Do you have a bachelor’s background in Astronomy, Physics or equivalent degrees? Then the master’s specialisation Astronomy and Instrumentation is the right choice for you.

Career prospects

The broad scope of the Astronomy and Instrumentation specialisation provides you with an MSc level training highly sought after by employers, not only in astronomical instrumentation, but also in other areas of high-tech instrumentation development.

Acquired skills and competence

After graduation, you will have obtained in-depth knowledge of state-of-the-art approaches to developing hightech instruments. You will be prepared to work with highly skilled engineers on instrument-development and you are able to bridge the gap between engineering and science.


Most graduates holding a MSc degree in Astronomy from Leiden University find work in many different capacities, including:

Research: universities, observatories, research institutes
Industry and consultancy: ICT, R&D, telecom, high technology, aerospace
Finance: banking, insurance, pension funds
Public sector: governments, policy makers, high schools
Science communication: journalism, popular writing, museums

Typical jobs for Astronomy graduates include:

  • Scientific researcher (postdoc, research fellow, professor)
  • R&D engineer
  • Consultant
  • Data scientist, statistician
  • Policy advisor, public information officer (e.g. Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • High school physics teacher
  • Scientific editor for magazines, newspapers and other media

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Science

Study options

Full Time (2 Years)

Tuition fees
€18,016.00 (14,55,250) per year
Application deadline

Expected October 2022

More details

Start date

Expected September 2022


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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