Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Advanced) (MAA)


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Program Description

A two year postgraduate degree offered by The ANU College of Science.

Postgraduate students in astronomy and astrophysics at ANU receive an innovative education. You will have access to Australia’s largest optical observatory and to the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre, which designs, builds and tests world-leading instrumentation for astronomy and space science. As a postgraduate student, you’ll be based at our Mount Stromlo Observatory, where our staff and students have made major contributions to astronomy, mapping the structure and formation of the Milky Way, discovering planets orbiting other stars, and discovering the accelerating expansion of the Universe. Our staff include winners of the Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and the Nobel Prize.

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The Master of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Advanced) incorporates both coursework and research components. The coursework component can be tailored to your interests and can include astrophysical techniques, astrophysical computing, planetary science, stellar astrophysics, galaxies, and cosmology. The research project provides the opportunity to enhance and develop your detailed knowledge and skills in a specific area of astronomy or astrophysics. It may include the acquisition and analysis of telescope data, the development of theoretical models, or the development and testing of new astronomical instrumentation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the skills and knowledge to:

  1. demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge in their area of study;
  2. apply their knowledge in astronomy & astrophysics to new problems;
  3. interpret, synthesize and critically analyse newly published literature of relevance to astronomy & astrophysics;
  4. demonstrate basic and complex analysis skills that are commonly used in astronomy & astrophysics research;
  5. perform telescope observations or create theoretical simulations, interpret and analyse results, write reports and collate data into a thesis;
  6. present own research work with peers and research scientists;
  7. clearly communicate theory and results in both written and oral formats to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Career Options

Studying astronomy and astrophysics at ANU, ranked the best university in Australia (QS World University Rankings 2017), provides you with the opportunity to not only diversify your career options but also make international connections. Many of our graduates go on to do research in astronomy and astrophysics at some of the best institutions in Australia and overseas, including Harvard, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Cal-Tech, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, and of course, ANU.

Admission Requirements

A Bachelor degree in a related discipline or international equivalent with the approval of an identified supervisor for the research project/thesis. All applicants must meet the University’s English Language Admission Requirements for Students.

Applicants with a Bachelor Degree or Graduate Certificate in a related discipline may be eligible for 24 units (one semester) of credit. Applicants with a Graduate Diploma or Honours in a related discipline may be eligible for 48 units (one year) of credit. Students must achieve a minimum 70% weighted average mark in the first 24 units of coursework and have the approval of the supervisor for the research project to continue in the Master program.


Domestic students can apply for the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Advanced) Scholarship which provides a $10,000 stipend per annum. There are NO scholarships available for successful international applicants. The indicative annual fee for the program in 2017 is A$25,000 or about A$50,000 for the completion of the 2-year degree. Living expenses in Canberra strongly depend on lifestyle, but are typically between A$15-25,000 per annum for students living on ANU campus. The total cost for doing the MAA(Adv) degree at ANU is of the order of A$80,000-100,000 over two years.

Last updated Dec 2017

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About the School

You’ll find our researchers at the forefront of scientific practice and discovery, wherever it may be. Whether it’s on the front line of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, on a tree branch in the Tas ... Read More

You’ll find our researchers at the forefront of scientific practice and discovery, wherever it may be. Whether it’s on the front line of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, on a tree branch in the Tasmanian wilderness peering into a parrot’s nest, among the life-support machines of the neonatal intensive care unit or at a lab bench, and in front of the classroom. Read less