Programme structure

The Master's programme Astronomy is a two-year full time study consisting of 120 ECTS credits.

The programme has the following structure:

  • Courses, 60 ECTS credits
  • Master's thesis, 60 ECTS credits

You can choose between three specializations: Solar physics, Cosmology or Extragalactic astronomy.

Course of study

Your course of study depends on your choice of specialization, and is usually planned in cooperation with your supervisor. Below you can see an example:

4. semester Master's thesis
3. semester Master's thesis Master's thesis
Elective course
2. semester Master's thesis Elective course Elective course
Elective course
1. semester AST4310 – Radiative Processes in Astrophysics AST4320 – Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy FYS4150 – Computational Physics
  10 ECTS credits 10 ECTS credits 10 ECTS credits

If you plan to study a semester abroad, we recommend that you do so in the second semester.

Programme structure for students attending this study programme Autumn 2017 or earlier.


During the first semester you must find a supervisor amongst the scientific staff at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics. The work with your thesis will be carried out under close supervision. In cooperation with your supervisor, you set up a study plan with all courses you will be taking during the programme, including a project description for your thesis.


Prior to the start of the studies, you must provide a temporary study plan of courses that you will be taking in the first semester. During the programme, you must take at least 20 ECTS credits of master level courses in Astronomy. Other courses of a total of 40 credits can be chosen from master level courses in astronomy, physics, mathematics, mechanics, statistics and informatics. At least 20 of these 40 ECTS credits must be courses in other fields than Astronomy. Up to 20 ECTS credits of other courses can be approved by a Master's programme Board at the department.

Recommended elective courses: Cosmology and Extragalactic astronomy

For those who are to write a thesis in Theoretical Cosmology, the course FYS4170 – Relativistic Quantum Field Theory can replace AST4310 – Radiative Processes in Astrophysics if recommended by the supervisor.

Recommended elective courses: Solar physics

Master's thesis

Within the three possible specializations, Solar physics, Cosmology and Extragalactic astronomy, the thesis may have two main forms, or a combination of these two:

  • Observational Astronomy: You will use observational data either obtained from an astronomical observatory abroad (e.g. Nordic Optic Telescope or Swedish Solar Telescope, both on La Palma, the Canary Islands) or from other sources (e.g. space observatories). You will handle and analyse data using computer-based tools.
  • Theory/modeling: You will use your knowledge in physics to solve astrophysical problems. In most cases, the work will be done by using computers.


The completion of the Master's programme is a 30 minutes public presentation of your thesis, followed by an oral examination. The final grade will be determined shortly after the examination.

Recognition of Master's courses from former education

If you are admitted to the Master's programme and you have completed Master's courses outside the University of Oslo, you may apply to have these courses recognised as part of your degree. Please contact the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics for more information.

Diploma and degree

This programme leads to the following degree: Master of Science in Astronomy

The diploma is issued when you have completed the courses that meet the requirements for a degree. Read more about diplomas.

Published May 23, 2017 12:21 PM - Last modified Nov. 25, 2019 12:32 PM