Members of our group teach on a number of Bachelor’s and Master’s level astronomy courses. All courses, except the Open Problems in Modern Astrophysics course, are taught in a two year cycle.

The Bachelor’s level courses are a part of the Bachelor’s Programme in Physical Sciences (Fysikaalisten tieteiden kandiohjelma), in which the courses are lectured in Finnish.

The Master’s level courses are a part of the English-language Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences (PARAS).

Doctoral studies and PhD supervision in Astrophysics are organised through the Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences (PaPU).

For students interested in pursuing a Master’s thesis within our group we recommend the following courses during your Master studies in the PARAS programme:

  • PAP302 Open Problems in Modern Astrophysics
  • PAP317 Galactic Dynamics
  • PAP318 Galaxy Formation and Evolution
  • PAP348 & PAP349 General Relativity I & II
  • MATR322 Numerical Methods in Scientific Computing

Courses taught by members of our group

Bachelor level courses

FYS 2046 Astrofysiikan peruskurssi I

Basic course in Astrophysics I, taught in Finnish.

This Bachelor level astrophysics course aimed at second and third year students covers blackbody radiation, the basics of radiative transfer, the Maxwell velocity distribution, the laws for excitation and ionisation for different atomic species, the origin of stellar emission and absorption lines and the basic modelling of stellar atmospheres.

Course wiki

FYS 2052 Galaksit ja kosmologia

Galaxies and cosmology, taught in Finnish.

This Bachelor level course aimed at second and third year students covers the basic classification of galaxies and the basics of galactic dynamics and cosmology. In the latter part of the course the properties of elliptical galaxies, spiral galaxies and active galactic nuclei are also discussed. The course ends with a discussion on the local galaxy group, large-scale structure of the Universe and the formation and evolution of galaxies from the cosmic seeds imprinted during the epoch of inflation.

Course wiki

FYS 2053 Linnunradan rakenne

Galactic structure, taught in Finnish.

This Bachelor level course aimed at second and third year students covers the techniques for measuring the distances and velocities of stars in the Milky Way together with stellar statistics. In addition we discuss the impact of the interstellar medium and extinction on Milky Way studies. This is followed by a general discussion on the structure of the Milky Way and a more in depth discussion on the kinematics of stars near the Sun. Finally the rotation of the Milky Way and the orbit of the Sun within it is covered. The course ends with a discussion on the formation and future evolution of the Milky Way.

Course wiki

Master level courses

PAP 302 Open Problems in Modern Astrophysics

The aim of this Master level course is to survey the current state of modern astrophysics by reading, discussing and answering questions on 7 chosen topics that are likely to remain at the forefront of modern astrophysical research. The topics to be discussed varies from year to year. Most recently the following seven topics were covered: 1) Exoplanets, 2) Brown dwarfs, 3) Gamma-ray bursts, 4) Black hole environments and gravitational waves, 5) Dwarf galaxies in the Local group, 6) The formation of the first galaxies and 7) Dark energy and the accelerating Universe.

Course wiki

PAP 317 Galactic Dynamics

The aim of this advanced Master/Graduate level course is to provide a good understanding of galactic dynamics and the role of gravity in shaping the properties of the observed galaxy population. The course covers potential theory, the calculation of orbits in spherical, axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric potentials. In addition, the Boltzmann equation and its various applications are discussed, including the Jeans and virial equations. Finally, the stability of collisionless systems, disk dynamics, kinetic theory and the mergers of galaxies are also covered.

Course wiki

PAP 318 Galaxy Formation and Evolution

The aim of this advanced Master/Graduate level course is to provide a thorough understanding of the theory of galaxy formation. In order to accomplish this the course covers basic cosmology and the evolution of perturbations in an expanding Universe. The role of dark matter in galaxy formation is also discussed in detail. In the second half of the course this knowledge is applied for understanding the formation and evolution disk galaxies, elliptical galaxies and active galaxies. In addition star formation and feedback mechanisms are discussed together with dynamical friction, galaxy interactions and mergers.

Course wiki

Undergraduate theses

Completed Master theses

  1. Jacob Kosowski: “Synthetic Observations of Simulated Clusters: Bridging the Gap between Observations and Simulations”, August, 2023
  2. Iida Kostamo: “Formation of Galactic Cores through Black Hole Binary Scouring and Gravitational Wave Recoils”, February, 2023
  3. Kasper Siilin: “Simulations of the Local Group with Two Periods of Inflation”, June, 2022
  4. Atte Keitaanranta: “Supermassive black hole binaries and the formation of massive early-type galaxies in cosmological simulations”, January, 2022
  5. Alexander Rawlings: “The Final Parsec Problem in Massive Early-Type Galaxies”, January, 2021
  6. Joonas Suortti: “Simulating Core Formation Through Supermassive Black hole Mergers”, January, 2020
  7. Vili Oja: “Simulating the dynamics of supermassive black holes”, December, 2019
  8. Anni Järvenpää: “Statistical estimation of the Local Group Mass”, December, 2018
  9. Matias Mannerkoski: “Ray-Tracing Based Polarized Radiative Transfer in General Spacetimes”, March, 2018
  10. Lasse Liljedahl: “The Effects of Supernova Feedback on Disk Galaxy Formation”, December, 2017
  11. Natalia Lahén: “Equal-mass Galaxy Mergers: Initial Conditions and Subresolution Astrophysics, April, 2015
  12. Antti Rantala: “Forming Galaxies in Cosmological Zoom-in Simulations”, March, 2014.
  13. Heidi Yli-Kankahila: “Formation of Early-type galaxies through mergers of gas-rich disk galaxies”, October, 2012.

Completed Bachelor theses (in Finnish)

  1. Joonatan Kölhi: “Supermassiivisten mustien aukkojen vaikutus galaksien kehitykseen”, June, 2023
  2. Roosa Heiskanen: “Kosmologisten parametrien mittaaminen galaksijoukkojen avulla”, May, 2023
  3. Rilla Laitila: “Maailmankaikkeuden ensimmäiset galaksit”, May, 2023
  4. Jemina Mattero: “Linnunradan keskuksen supermassiivinen musta aukko”, November, 2022
  5. Meri Teeriaho: “Paikallisen galaksiryhmän massan määrittäminen koneoppimisella”, August, 2022
  6. Jere Mäki-Ikola: “Teorioita ja kandidaatteja pimeälle aineelle”, July, 2022
  7. Elina Zetterman: “Supermassiivisten mustien aukkojen synty ja rooli massiivisten galaksien kehityksessä”, April, 2022
  8. Hanna Tolonen: “Eksoplaneettojen elinkelpoisuus”, March, 2022
  9. Aurora Koskela: “Supermassiivisten mustien aukkojen synty ja rooli aktiivisissa galakseissa”, February, 2022
  10. Nico Stirling: “A geometric derivation of the Logarithmic Hamiltonian Method”, November, 2021
  11. Sonja Soininen: “Lentoratojen kehittäminen kosmologisten simulaatioiden visualisoinnin tueksi”, August, 2021
  12. Iida Kostamo: “Pimeän aineen halojen rakenne, synty ja kehitys”, June, 2021
  13. Atte Keitaanranta: “Supermassiivisten mustien aukkojen rooli galakseissa”, June, 2020
  14. Arttu Hyvönen: “Liikeyhtälöiden numeerinen ratkaiseminen”, May, 2020
  15. Pekka Lampio: “Logaritmisen Hamiltonin funktion käyttö taivaanmekaniikassa”, June, 2019
  16. Kasper Siilin: “Kahden jakson inflaatio ja rakenteenmuodostus standardi-LCDM-kosmologiassa”, August, 2018
  17. Vili Oja: “Ellipsigalaksien rakenne, synty ja kehitys”, July,  2018
  18. Sanna Damsted: “Missä ovat puuttuvat kääpiögalaksit? - Tutkielma havaintojen ja LCDM-teorian välillä vallitsevan ristiriidan nykytilasta”, August, 2017
  19. Antton Luoma “Spiraaligalaksien rakenne ja kehitys”, February 2016
  20. Anni Järvenpää: “AMR-simulaatiotulosten visualisointi Pythonilla yt-pakettia käyttäen”, July 2015
  21. Akke Viitanen: “Universumin suuren mittakaavan rakenne”, July 2015
  22. Jussi Aaltonen: “Pimeä aine ja maailmankaikkeuden rakenteenmuodostus, March, 2015.
  23. Natalia Lahén: “Galaksienväliset vuorovaikutukset”, February, 2014.
  24. Antti Rantala: “Pimeä energia ja maailmankaikkeuden kiihtyvä laajeneminen”, July, 2012.

Prospective students

If you are interested in doing a B.Sc. and M.Sc. thesis on a topic related to our research, please come and talk to me in my office (D311) and/or send me an email at:

Topics for astronomy Bachelor and Master thesis can be found on this Moodle page (login required, link only for Helsinki students).