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Master programme

Astronomy and

Specialization in astronomical phenomena and the physics of space objects.

1. Aims and Educational Objectives

The Master’s program in “Astronomy and Astrophysics” in the specialty “Astrophysics, meteorology and geophysics” has a specialized character. The program aims to provide in-depth knowledge and to help students to develop practical skills in the main fields of modern astronomy and astrophysics. 

2. Admission of students (knowledge and skills required for a successful professional realization; general and theoretical background, specific areas of study, etc.)

The program is intended for the training of persons who hold: i) a “Bachelor’s” or “Master’s” educational-qualification degree in the fields of higher education “Physical sciences”, “Technical sciences” or “Pedagogy of training in: natural sciences, mathematics and informatics” from Bulgarian universities; or, ii) a “Bachelor of Science” or “Master of Science” degree from universities in other countries worldwide. Admission of students is done through a test and on the basis of educational documents: degree certificate(s) and an official transcript of records covering the full length of studies and including full titles of the course units completed for the degree(s). If the candidate has not yet graduated, the transcript of records must include the name of the degree that will be awarded to him/her after graduation (Bachelor of, Master of, etc.). Since teaching is conducted in English an internationally recognized certificate in English is required: level B1, B2 or higher (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

3. Description of the educational content (knowledge and skills required for a successful professional realization; general and theoretical background, specific areas of study, etc.)

Prerequisites for successful study in the master’s program “Astronomy and Astrophysics“ are good fundamental knowledge in physics and mathematics and basic computer skills. The total duration of studies is three semesters, starting from the winter semester (October 1) each academic year. The teaching curriculum is very liberal and contains only one compulsory course. The possibilities to select a set of course units enables the student to acquire specific theoretical and practical knowledge in topics in astronomy and astrophysics he/she is particularly interested in. The students have to elect from a list of 24 elective courses. These elective courses must bring at least 70 ECTS credits: 30 ECTS credits in the first semester, 25 ECTS credits in the second semester and 15 ECTS credits in the third semester. The course of study ends with defense of a master thesis. A list of possible topics and of the corresponding tutors approved by the director of the program is offered during the second semester and, at the end of the latter, the student must choose a topic. He/she has to work on the thesis in parallel to the studies in the third semester. The thesis’ manuscript must be prepared by use of LaTeX. The defense of the thesis is scheduled either for February or for July.

4. Professional and general competences, specific competences 

Graduates of the master’s program “Astronomy and Astrophysics” shall be competent to: work with astronomical instruments in observatories and laboratories; use standard packages for processing astronomical data; understand and follow the recent scientific research in the field; work with various sources of astronomical information (data bases, catalogs etc.); to participate as investigators in scientific projects; to contribute in writing astronomical papers.

5. Professional realization (according to the National Classification of Occupations in the Republic of Bulgaria /based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO)/ and in reference to the place of the future specialists in the National Qualifications Framework for higher education and the European Qualifications Framework for higher education)

Graduates of the master’s program “Astronomy and Astrophysics” can work as research fellows in various scientific institutions and astronomical observatories and/or apply for a PhD study and/or assistant professorships in the EU countries and worldwide. They can be also employed in R&D and analytical departments in the industry, in scientific and government research laboratories.