Stockholm university logo, link to start page
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Stellar Structure and Evolution

Stars play a critical role in astronomy and astrophysics. As astronomers, we use stars for everything from learning about galaxy formation to discovering exoplanets and understanding where the elements come from. In this course, we’ll learn all about the physics of stars, how they live, evolve, and die.

M45 - Plejaderna
Den öppna stjärnhopen M45, Plejaderna. Credit_NASA, ESA, AURA_Caltech, Palomar Observatory

In this course, you will learn and use the fundamental principles of stellar structure and evolution including hydrostatic equilibrium, nucleosynthesis, and energy transfer.  Armed with these tools we will study the life of stars through the various stages until their death. We’ll study stars like the Sun, which end their life ejecting most of their mass and leaving behind a white dwarf. We’ll also study stars more massive than the Sun.  These more massive stars produce many of the elements present in the period table and the most massive of these produce neutron stars, black holes, and gamma-ray bursts.

  • Course structure

    The course is given during day time at the 50% level. It is part of the Bachelor’s programme in Astronomy. The course is normally given in English.

    Teaching format

    The course includes video lectures, in-class exercises and group work, and laboratory assignments with an associated report.


    Examination is done in three main ways.

    1. During the course, weekly exercises are assigned and graded to give formative assessment to the students on their understanding. 
    2. The laboratory section of the course involves passing in a written report on the laboratory assignment. 
    3. A final written exam is used as a summative assessment of the content and knowledge of the learning outcomes of the course.




    Evan O’Connor

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    The course closely follows “An Introduction to the Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution” by Dina Prialnik, Cambridge University Press, Second Edition.

  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via