Universiteit Leiden

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Physics - Faculty of Science - Leiden University

Physics (MSc)

About the programme

The MSc programme Physics offers 5 research-oriented specialisations where you can focus on Theoretical Physics, Quantum Matter and Optics, Biological and Soft Matter, Cosmology or Casimir pre-PhD. You can also combine Physics with education, management or science communication.

Programme overview

The MSc Physics programme offers eight specialisations:

  • Theoretical Physics: you follow a two-year programme constisting of 3/5ths of coursework and one 9month long project that prepares you for scientific research towards a PhD in a broad range of topics in theoretical Physics.
  • Quantum Matter and Optics: you follow a programme in experimental physics constisting of 50% course work and 2 research projects in Condensed Matter problems.
  • Biological and Soft Matter Physics: you follow a programme in experimental physics consisting of 50% coursework and 2 research projects in Biophysics or Soft Matter.
  • Cosmology: You follow a joined programme with the department of Astronomy where you cover all aspects of modern astrophysics and carry out research projects tackling observation, interpretation, simulation and theory.
  • Casimir pre-PhD: After entry to one of the Experimental or Theoretical Physics specialisations, you can be selected to the program that gives you the opportunity to raise the funds for a PhD on a topic of choice within the Casimir Research School (a collaboration between the University of Leiden and the Technical University of Delft) .
  • Physics and Business Studies: You combine a training in Physics (1 year of courses and research project) with courses in business and entrepreneurship and an internship with a company
  • Physics and Education (in Dutch): You combine a training in Physics (1 year of courses and research project) with courses in education and a teaching internship at a Dutch highschool. It leads to a teaching qualification valid for secondary education.
  • Physics and Science Communication and Society (SCS): You combine a training in Physics (1 year of coursework and research project) with courses in communication and relating science to the public.

The research-oriented master’s specialisations consist of two components: courses and research. Depending on your specialisation, the programme consists of:

  • Mandatory courses (15-30 EC)
  • Electives (27-45 EC)
  • One or two research projects (48-60 EC)

Find out more about the research-oriented specialisations:

These three specialisations combine at least one year of the Physics research curriculum (minimally 60 EC) with training to prepare you for specific science-related careers (minimally 45 EC).  

Find out more about the mixed specialisations:

Educational methods

  • Lectures
  • Working groups
  • Presentations
  • Individual papers
  • Colloquium
  • Lab work
  • Literature study

Study guidance

The Physics MSc programme has a small intake and a relatively large staff to student ratio. It can thus afford to provide students with individualized attention. The study programme is discussed and decided with the Study Advisor who remains a reference point throughout the programme. The staff to student ratio is particularly low. Interaction during classes is informal and strongly encouraged. Besides direct interaction with the lecturer, classes are supported by PhD students and often post-docs. Interaction during the research project(s) is direct and informal and takes place within a small group of which an MSc student is integral part. There are regular group meetings. Interaction often extends outside office hours and incorporates social events.