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Astro(particle) physics and Cosmology

Our researchers study the universe and its most common building blocks. Experimentally, dark matter is studied in underground direct detection experiments, such as XENON as well as indirectly using annihilation products. Also, gravitational waves are investigated with the aim of a space-based detector in LISA. Theoretically, the properties of gravitational waves, clustering of dark matter in galaxies as well as galaxy and planet formation are pursued.

Coordinator: Prof. Ravit Helled

This master’s program offers an advanced education in astrophysics and cosmology. After introductory lectures, practice sessions and labs, students begin with their master’s thesis that should take 9 months.

The following research groups offer master theses:
Experiment: Group Baudis
Mainly Theory: Groups Helled, Jetzer, Mayer, Moore, Saha, Teyssier and Yoo

Guide to Physics Studies

Compulsory Modules


Astro compulsory modules

If 'Introduction to Astrophysics (AST241) ' was not attended in the BSc study, it is an additional compulsory module

Research Seminar
During two semesters, students are required to attend at least one seminar per week


Core Elective Modules

At least 18 ECTS credits must be earned from elective modules.
PHY 511 and AST 513 are recommended for concentration in cosmology. AST 514 and AST 243 are recommended for concentration in astrophysics. 
Astro Core Elective


Elective Modules

The remaining credits needed to fulfil the requirement of 90 credit points must be earned in elective modules. For instance, we recommend: ESC411 Computational Science I, QTF1 (PHY551) or specialized astrophysics modules that take place every year (for instance, Stellar Structure and Evolution).  Compulsory courses of other master concentrations in physics may also be chosen. If you have any questions, please discuss the program with the coordinator of the master's program (Christof Aegerter) or the coordinator of the physics specialisation Astrophysics and Cosmology.


Continuing from a BSc 180/150 major in Physics

Compulsory module:  'Introduction to Astrophysics (AST241) '
it is recommended to attend this course during BSc studies

Continuing from a BSc 120 major in Physics

Compulsory module: 'Introduction to Astrophysics (AST241) '

Course contents in the compulsory modules

PHY511 General Relativity

  • repetition of special relativity
  • principle of equivalence
  • motion in the gravitational field, gravitational red-shift
  • tensors in Riemann-Space
  • covariant derivative, parallel transport
  • Riemann tensor, Bianchi-Identities
  • Einstein’s field equations
  • Schwarzschild-solution
  • precession of the perihelion, deflection of light
  • geodesic precession
  • gravitational waves
  • black holes
  • Friedman-Robertson-Walker universe

AST512 Theoretical Astrophysics

  • radiative processes in the interstellar medium
  • Star structure
  • Star development
  • Supernovae
  • White dwarfs
  • Neutron stars
  • Black holes
  • Planet formation

AST513 Physical Cosmology

  • big bang and early universe
  • nucleosynthesis
  • inflation
  • relativistic perturbation theory and growth of structure
  • cosmic microwave background and large scale structure
  • dark matter and dark energy



Study guide

The Guide to Physics Studies (PDF, 504 KB) provides comprehensive information about the Bachelor's and Master's programs.