Astrophysics – University of Copenhagen

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Physics > Specialisations > Astrophysics


Astrophysics is a specialisation at the Master of Science Programme (MSc) in Physics.

Astrophysics is the branch of physics that studies phenomena in space/the universe/the cosmos, e.g. stars, galaxies and the substances between them, both at a theoretical level and via astronomical observation.

Visual or optical observation was originally associated with classical astronomy, but modern technological advances enable astrophysicists to study signals over most of the electromagnetic spectrum, and to build up a far clearer picture of what the universe contains and how it is constructed. 

In practice, modern astronomical research consists of a considerable amount of physics. A good understanding of physics is necessary in order to describe and understand the luminosity, density, temperature and chemical composition of the various astronomical objects and phenomena. Due to the very broad nature of the topic, astrophysicists need to master elements of multiple disciplines, from classical physics to quantum mechanics, and to be well versed in the methodology of mathematical physics.

A specialisation in astrophysics enables you to build on your BSc degree and to build up the academic knowledge, analytical skills and autonomy necessary to apply scientific theory and methodology in an astronomy context. You will be well qualified to work in private or public companies or organisations, both nationally and internationally, that require a high degree of expert knowledge in astronomy/astrophysics. You may also progress to a PhD programme. 

Study Track

It is a good idea to use your elective and restricted elective courses to design a study track that allows you to study a subject area in depth during the specialisation. The obvious choice is to target your specialisation in the following direction:

However, you can also customise your programme with a mixture of courses and projects which are relevant to you.


As a graduates with the specialisation in astrophysics you acquire special skills in: 

  • independently planning and running astronomical and astrophysical projects.
  • setting up relevant analytical or numerical models for an astronomical system based on the laws of physics, and using observed data for analyses and for verification of the models.
  • working independently on astrophysical subjects.
  • explaining and communicating, both orally and in writing, specialised knowledge of general astrophysical principles.


Astrophysicists possess specialist knowledge of: 

  • key disciplines, methods, theories and concepts in astronomy, including phenomena such as stars, galaxies and the substances between them.
  • the links between astronomy and other scientific disciplines.
  • advanced technological methods in astronomical observation.

Programme structure

The Astrophysics specialisation can be structured in two different ways, depending on when you begin your thesis.

Course of study 1 – starting your thesis in the first year of the programme:

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
Year 1 Theoretical Astrophysics Observational Astrophysics
Year 2 Thesis

One block equals nine weeks and 15 ECTS

Course of study 2 – starting your thesis in the second year of the programme:

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
Year 1 Theoretical Astrophysics Observational Astrophysics
Year 2 Thesis

One block equals nine weeks and 15 ECTS

     Compulsory course
     Restricted elective course
     Elective course

Restricted elective courses

Choose your restricted elective courses from the lists below. Click on each course for a detailed description.