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Computational Astro- and Space Physics

Research in Cologne

The research in Astrophysics and Space Physics has a long tradition at the University of Cologne and is internationally known. The Astrophysical Institute has a focus on Star Formation and the Interstellar Medium. This research focus is specially funded within the Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 956. The Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology has a focus on Space and Planetary Physics and targets the Plasma environment of planets, magnetospheres, moons and exoplanets. Both fields apply methods of numerical modelling, high-performance computing, telescope observations and data analysis.

Contents within the Master Program

Students will gain advanced knowledge of astrophysics and space and planetary physics. That includes topics like the physics of star formation, interstellar medium and galaxies in the field of astrophysics as well as basics in planetary physics and physics of space plasmas, like e.g. single particle motion, kinetic theory, magnetohydrodynamics, plasma turbulence and aurorae.

Modules and Study Paths

Students will have to attend two compulsory modules called Advanced Astrophysics and Space Physics. Both modules account for 15 CP. Another 15 CP have to be chosen from a set of modules:

Geophysics of the Solar System

Computational Astrophysics

Interstellar Medium and Star Formation


Computational Many-Body Physics

Advanced Seminar on Current Topics of Molecular and Astrophysics


The choice of modules ensures that students will learn advanced concepts of astrophysics as well as plasma physics. In the following, students could focus on certain topics. Possible is a focus on computational plasma physics or on many-body physics. Other options are a stronger focus on astrophysics or geophysics, i.e., planetary physics. Entirely independent choices based on personal interests are also possible.

A possible exemplary study plan could look like this:

Which topics in Mathematics/Computer Science suit this Area of Spezialization?

Suitable courses for Computational Astro- and Space Physics are Lectures from the area of Numerical Mathematics and Scientific Computing, Data Analysis and Modeling or Artificial Intelligence and Visual Analytics.