Note: The course material and the details specific to the upcoming 4th edition of EXPLORE (Winter term 2023/24), especially the needed course material, can be found here.
▶ The first meeting of EXPLORE IV takes place Tuesday, 17 October 2023, at 6 - 7 pm (Frankfurt), 12 - 1 pm (Toronto), and 10 - 11 am (Edmonton) on Zoom.

Join our international student research teams to explore

What is EXPLORE?

  • EXPLORE is a research-focused course in which students from Germany, Canada and the US work in small international research teams on hot-topics of modern cosmology, astro-, particle and gravitational physics.
  • The EXPLORE program is supported by the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) at York University, Goethe University QSL (“Quality Assurance in Teaching”) funds, the DFG Collaborative Research Center CRC-TR 211 “Strong-interaction matter under extreme conditions” and the State of Hesse through the research cluster ELEMENTS and the Goethe Research Experience Program (GREP).

Start doing Research: About the course structure

  • Research groups & meetings:
    With your peers from Germany, Canada and the US, you will work in small groups exploring and working on real research topics (see below). Each group is being assigned at least one mentor (a professor) and one junior mentor (an early career researcher) with whom you will have weekly online meetings to discuss the project, to exchange your ideas and receive feedback.
  • Lectures & programming tutorials:
    The course will be initially guided by lectures, held by the professors in the mentors team, to provide the basic knowledge of the topics. Additionally, you will have Python programming tutorials to learn scientific coding or improve your coding skills.
  • Research journals:
    To keep track of the progress you have made with your project, you will hand in weekly research journals which will be corrected by your tutor.
  • Final Workshop:
    At the end of the course, your group will give a presentation on your research result in a final workshop, with which you will train your communication skills. After a successful presentation, you will have passed the course.
    To get an impression of past EXPLORE workshops, please take a look here.

Meet your peers and mentors: The EXPLORE Summer School

  • As a highlight after passing the course, you can sign up for the in-person EXPLORE Summer School, which will be hosted at one of the partnering universities. The summer school not only provides interesting talks by outstanding scientists, but also local social activities to get to know your peers and mentors!
    For the past EXPLORE summer schools, please see here.

NEW: Apply for a research stay abroad after the course!

  • After completing the EXPLORE course, students can now apply for a fully sponsored 2-months research stay abroad at one of the participating universities to continue with their EXPLORE research project, and/or to write a Bachelor’s/Master’s thesis under joint supervision of an EXPLORE mentor from Goethe University and one from the partner universities abroad. Seize the opportunity to study internationally and work side-by-side with your mentors!
  • From the side of Goethe University, the research stay is made possible by the GREP Programm.

How can students apply and participate?

  • Generally, the application procedure depends on at which university the interested student is enrolled in.
  • At Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany):
    Goethe University, this project will be offered as its own course (see QIS). If you are a student at Goethe University and interested in participating, please just register for the course via OLAT. All students are welcome to participate, though preference may be given to students who have completed the courses Introduction to Astronomy I-II (Einführung in die Astronomie I–II). While Python will be a large part of the research in EXPLORE, no prior experience in Python is needed (except for a strong motivation to learn). The course will be held in English.
  • At York University (Toronto, Canada):
    Canadian students from York University must apply for participation by submitting a cover letter stating their interest, their CV and a transcript (unofficial copy). If you have further questions, please contact Sean Tulin ( The application deadline was Friday, September 8, 2023.
  • At University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada):
    Canadian students from the University of Alberta must apply for participation by submitting a cover letter stating their interest, their CV and a transcript (unofficial copy). The deadline is 27 September, 2023. Please use this link to upload your documents. If you have further questions, please contact Saeed Rastgoo (
  • At MIT (Camebridge, USA):
    US students from MIT who are interested in participating in EXPLORE, please contact Mark Vogelsberger (

An Overview: All EXPLORE Editions

Course Material & Recommended Literature

  • Recorded lectures from previous EXPLORE Editions
    Below you can find the last EXPLORE edition's lectures online. In case there is a lecture you cannot attend this term regurlarly, please inform the EXPLORE mentors in advance and watch the corresponding recorded lecture.
    • Lecture 1: Introduction (Mentors) and Cosmology (Laura Sagunski)
    • Lecture 2: Dark Matter (Sean Tulin & Nassim Bozorgnia)
    • Lecture 3: Gravitational Waves (Saeed Rastgoo) & Quasars (Patrick Hall)
    • Lecture 4: Machine Learning (Jim Mertens) & Neutron Stars and compact objects (Jürgen Schaffner-Bielich)
    • Lecture 5: Near-field cosmology with stars (Camilla Hansen)
  • Learn scientific Python Programming
    Students of EXPLORE are encouraged to learn how to do scientific coding with the programming language Python. For this purpose, we have created a GitHub repository with tutorials and exercises for you.

Articles about the EXPLORE Programme

Faculty Supervisors

Supporting Partners