MSc and PhD programme


The de Sitter programme contains a 2-year MSc Specialisation, as well as 4-year PhD studentships.

The MSc programme is a two-year degree, provided jointly by the Leiden astronomy and physics departments. It is fully embedded in the Leiden Astronomy and Theoretical Physics Masters degrees. The MSc programme consists of 50% coursework and 50% research projects undertaken under the supervision of academic research staff of both departments. De Sitter cosmology students take courses from a predefined menu, which covers the full spectrum from theoretical early universe physics to observational cosmology and astronomy. The two research projects done by de Sitter students will also have to cover practical and theoretical aspects of cosmology.

The current course offerings for MSc students include the five core courses

  1.     Theory of General Relativity

  2.     Origin and Evolution of the Universe

  3.     Origin of the Standard Model

  4.     Particle Physics in the early Universe

  5.     Large-scale structure and Galaxy Formation

as well as many electives from the astronomy and theoretical physics MSc programmes.

Further information can be found in the physics and the astronomy MSc web pages (look for the cosmology specialization).

The PhD programme is a four-year research studentship. Research topics should match with the research topics of participating faculty, but otherwise students are encouraged to help define their own projects as much as possible. PhD students are members of the departments of astronomy and physics, and to the extent possible will be co-located in shared offices. Access to many observing facilities, advanced computers, travel funds, as well as the vibrant research environments of both departments, is available to the PhD students.

The PhD programme is open to all candidates with the appropriate background (i.e. not only to people who have completed the MSc programme described above). In some cases, depending on their previous experience, PhD students may be required to take one or more MSc courses during their first year.

Applications for PhD Fellowships should be submitted to the general call for PhD positions announced at the Leiden Observatory  application page, mentioning the de Sitter programme in the cover letter. The annual application deadline is given there: it is usually around December 1st.