Studying Astronomy

The University of Vienna offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral study programmes in astronomy. 

Due to the large quantity of experimental and theoretical knowledge regarding planets, stars, galaxies, and the cosmos as a whole, astronomy has long established itself as its own field of study at the University of Vienna, independent of physics and mathematics. However, because mathematical and physical principles represent indispensable tools for research work, future astronomers are given a thorough education in these areas for six semesters in the course of their Bachelor’s studies. Thus, even students without prior scientific knowledge are optimally introduced to the field’s basics. At this level, the courses are held in German.

The subsequent Master’s program, designed to be completed in four semesters, is intended to intensify and deepen one’s expertise in, among other things, extragalactics and/or planetary dynamics and/or stellar astronomy, and culminates in the writing of a Master’s thesis. Some MSc courses are held in English. 

During one’s studies, the focus is not only on astronomical and physical concepts. Special emphasis is also placed on the acquisition of computer skills, especially in the area of programming. This allows for a wider variety of possible career options, e.g. in the field of data analysis. 

At the University Observatory, inaugurated in 1883, at which most of the astronomical courses are held, one enjoys a high degree of individuality, as the low student-to-instructor ratio typical of small institutes assures good personal supervision. This is also the reason why students become actively included in research very quickly. In this way, contact is established with the international scientific community relatively early in one’s studies. There is also the great tradition of active observation with telescopes, practised at the Institute as well as all over the world, which one can experience during the course of one’s studies. 

Since German is the prevailing language in astronomy courses at the University of Vienna, most information on the sub-pages of this website is provided in German as well.