Master’s studies

Physical Chemistry - Master Programme in Chemistry 2018/2019

Photo for Physical Chemistry - Master Programme in Chemistry 2018/2019

The Master Programme in Chemistry with the specialisation in Physical Chemistry has been developed in cooperation with world leading research groups in this field at the university. This specialisation will go in depth into advanced aspects of physical chemistry and modern experimental techniques. You will meet lecturers and professors who are leading experts in areas like femtosecond laser spectroscopy, reaction dynamics, and electron transfer reactions applied to solar cells, artificial photosynthesis and photocatalysis, and have the opportunity to do your degree project in ​a dynamic and world-class research environment, using state-of-the art equipment. 

Uppsala University is a highly ranked university, and two of our eight Nobel laureates have been chemists. The chemistry education at Uppsala University was also ranked excellent in the latest ranking by the Centre for Higher Education Development, and was ranked top 100 by the QS World University Rankings.

A degree from Uppsala University will give you advantages in your career, not least thanks to the close connection to excellent and world leading research, but you will also have the opportunity to develop a personal contact network. You will have a personal mentor who will invite you to seminars, group-meetings and other events in order to prepare you for your future career and you will meet PhD-students and post-docs who have come to Uppsala to be part of an excellent research environment to do cutting-edge research. The groups have also a well-developed cooperation with other institutions and research agencies which is beneficial for you when choosing a project for the Master's thesis, and to make contacts for your future career.

Why this programme?

The specialisation offers a firm basis in advanced physical chemistry covering all major areas, and a cutting-edge expertise through in-depth studies, especially in the field of reaction dynamics and spectroscopy related research areas. The studies combine theoretical knowledge and practical skills in physical chemistry, as well as insight into theoretical and computational chemistry methods. It is oriented towards fundamental physical chemistry, but it also includes the physical and chemical foundations needed to take part in the development of new solutions for sustainable production of energy and fuels, e.g., the kinetics and mechanisms of electron transfer reactions in solar cells, photocatalysis, and artificial photosynthesis, or the theoretical aspects and simulation methods related to, e.g., new materials. These are important research fields, and you will be well-equipped for either future research within academia or in research and development in industry. From the outline you can see that you will have a solid foundation in all modern areas in physical chemistry.

During the first semester you take courses which will give you the basis for the more specialised ones during the following two semesters. The courses during the second semester are given together with the specialisation Chemistry for Renewable Energy. Photochemistry, electrochemistry, and catalysis are necessary for a thorough understanding of, e.g., solar cells, batteries and photocatalysis, and the lecturers are all active researchers, which means that you will be able to discuss current research trends with leading experts. During the third semester you will have a course in statistical thermodynamics and simulation methods which is one of the cornerstones of physical chemistry. You will also have advanced courses in laser spectroscopy and molecular chemical physics, taught by leading experts in the field. Given the close connection to research, these courses often provide the inspiration for a degree project.

The versatility of the field is also evident from where you can do your Master's thesis project, which can be in the research group where you have your mentor, or in another group doing research in related fields, depending on your research interests.
Some examples of Master's thesis titles from spring 2017

  • A. Nilsen-Moe: Inter- and Intramolecular Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer reactions in Tyrosine-Containing De Novo Proteins
  • C. Bozal Ginesta: Mechanistic Studies of a Cobaloxime Catalyst by Infrared Spectroscopy
  • A. Thomson: Effects of entanglement and chain length on mechanical properties of interpenetrating networks


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Chemistry as the main field of study.

All specialisations of this programme


First semester
You will study chemistry courses which provide you with the theoretical and experimental skills needed for the subsequent semesters, Some of these courses are common to other specialisations in the Master Programme in Chemistry. In the very first course, you will also meet many of the chair professors in different fields of chemistry will give seminars about the current trends in their respective research fields. The semester ends with a profile course in physical chemistry.

Second, third, and fourth semester
During the second semester, you will take courses in different areas of physical chemistry, including photochemistry and advanced electrochemistry, while the during the third semester there will be further advanced courses, including topics such as femtosecond laser spectroscopy, reaction dynamics and computer simulation methods. The programme ends with a degree project of 30 credits or 45 credits.

Courses within the programme

See outline for courses within the specialisation.

Learning experience

Theory and practical work are always interwoven into the courses, and instruction takes place in the form of lectures, laboratory work, problem solving, seminars, and projects.

The lecturers are active researchers, and we emphasise coaching you to adopt a scientific approach in your work where you will develop the necessary skills to solve problems, to think critically and analytically, to plan and formulate research problems, and to independently carry out the necessary experiments and to analyse and interpret the results.

You will also receive systematic training in both oral and written presentations as an integrated part of the courses. The ability to communicate well will be very important in your future career.

The language of instruction is English.  


A Master of Science in Chemistry from Uppsala University will provide you with plenty of opportunities to build an exciting future career in academia, in industry, the public sector, or in entrepreneurship. Not only will you gain the knowledge and ability to perform special and advanced tasks related to both applied and more fundamental aspect of chemistry, you will also be qualified for positions in many other areas where problem-solving, abstract thinking and analytical ability are required.

Surveys have shown that the labour market for chemists with a degree from Uppsala University is excellent, with 97 per cent of those who obtained their degree during the last ten years being either employed or undertaking doctoral studies.

Chemical issues are found in most sectors, and having a specialisation in physical chemistry makes it possible for you to hold key positions in addressing many future challenges related, e.g., to clean and efficient production, conversion and storage of energy, but also in areas related to more fundamental chemical questions, being able to contribute to the development of new methods for the investigation of chemical and physical processes and reactions, the knowledge which is needed for the development of new materials and more environmentally friendly production processes.

Possible career paths can vary. You may work with research and development, production processes, analysis of materials, management of safety and legal issues, patenting of inventions, marketing and sales, or environmental and sustainability issues. 


Physical Chemistry

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1375 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Also required is 90 credits in chemistry and physics, of which at least 60 credits must be in chemistry.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000