Universiteit Leiden

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Physics - Faculty of Science - Leiden University

Specialising in quantum? New Leiden-Delft master's degree launched

Quantum technologies are in demand worldwide, but until now Leiden students could not specialise in them. The new master’s program QIST (Quantum Information Science and Technology) is going to change that. Researcher and professor Jordi Tura i Brugués: ‘We need to train the next generation of quantum engineers to meet the increasing demand.’

Professor Martin van Exter was involved in setting up the new program from the beginning: ‘The first master’s programs on quantum computers and technologies abroad have already started and we want to offer the Dutch students the same opportunity.’ ‘Quantum information science is gaining more importance every day, in research, industry and society,’ Tura agrees. ‘That’s why this master's program is so important.’

Subject areas come together

The Delft University of Technology and Leiden University have therefore joined forces to offer students the best education. ‘In Leiden, we have expertise in both theoretical and experimental subjects, and in Delft, there is a lot of knowledge about technology and hardware. That complements each other very well,’ van Exter explains.

The new program is special for several reasons. ‘First of all, this master’s is enormously interdisciplinary, because in quantum technology a lot of disciplines come together. We welcome students from physics, mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering and astronomy,’ says van Exter. ‘In addition, we are deploying innovative teaching methods such as online learning materials, but more importantly, many group assignments. This allows students to learn from each other’s disciplines.’ Tura adds: ‘I think it’s a strong point that they will learn very early on during their studies to collaborate with colleagues coming from other disciplines. That is good preparation for the work environment they will encounter after their studies.’

'We have invested lots of effort in developing a unique and timely program.'

Innovative teaching methods

Several new courses were developed for the master’s degree. This was a new experience for Tura: ‘For me, these were the first courses I developed from scratch. In addition, I was new to teaching methods such as flipped classroom and blended education, which combine online and offline materials. I learned a lot from my colleagues in Delft and the learning developers. Personally, this has been a rewarding experience.’ Van Exter enthusiastically emphasises: ‘My compliments to all the QIST teachers! They worked extremely hard to set up this program.’

The first batch of students will start in September 2023. Van Exter and his colleagues hope to attract about 25 to 50 students. In any case, Tura is looking forward to starting: ‘We have invested lots of effort in developing a unique and timely program. Now that the first students start coming in, I am eager to start with the most important part: the teaching!’

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