Master’s studies

Materials Theory - Master Programme in Physics 2018/2019

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As a student in the Master Programme in Physics, specialising in Materials Physics, you will learn and apply theoretical methods to study, understand and design new materials. How can we predict and understand magnetic, optoelectronic or catalytic properties of a material? How can we modify existing materials to improve a certain property and its performance in technological applications? The wide research activities at Ångström Laboratory will give you the opportunity to acquire a broad competence in materials science and to take part in multidisciplinary projects.

Physics at Uppsala University covers the entire length scale from subatomic strings to the whole universe, with forefront research across all sub-branches of physics — from research on elementary particles and materials, the structure of the earth and its atmosphere, to space and the properties of the universe. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University is ranked No. 36 in the world according to the recent Shanghai ranking which makes it the highest ranked physics department in all of Scandinavia.

At the Ångström laboratory at Uppsala University, physicists collaborate on questions regarding energy, elementary particles, materials, space physics and astronomy. At the Geocentrum in Uppsala, researchers use physical principles to study and understand the earth, its weather and climate. Geocentrum is also the home for the Swedish National Seismic Network which monitors earthquakes in Sweden and worldwide. These and other existing collaborations generate a creative environment for both teaching and research.

Why this programme?

Materials properties are ultimately determined by the dynamics of electrons and nuclei. A deep understanding of the underlying interactions is the prerequisite for the design of new materials for devices of improved performance or of completely new kind. Moreover, this understanding is valuable for analysing the experimental results.

In the Master Programme in Physics, specialising in Materials Theory, you can choose freely among many different courses for tailoring your own study programme, according to your interests and your plans for the future. You can prepare yourself for continuing in research (PhD education) or for a professional life in the private or public sector. However, among the many courses you can choose, we strongly recommend the courses in Density Functional Theory (DFT), Many Particle Physics, Condensed Matter Theory, Computational Physics and Hands-on Electronic Structure Calculations.

You will learn how to theoretically treat complex interactions based on the principles of quantum theory, and run numerical simulations. You will be able to write efficient codes and optimise them for using in high-performance supercomputing facilities, and to use the most advanced theoretical tools to understand modern materials, and predict novel materials properties.  Lectures will be intertwined with seminars and advanced numerical exercises.
As part of the programme, you will follow lectures and study on your own or in a group. Classes are typically small (varying from few up to about 20 students), giving you a close contact with the teachers as well as with your fellow students, often coming from different parts of the world. The programme also offers project courses where you will run short research projects. These courses are very good for getting a wider experience of research and research techniques. During your Master’s degree, you will be able to start your own network, which will be important for your future professional life.

Exchange Studies
You will have the great opportunity to study at a foreign university, for example under the Erasmus+ programme. At the department there are exchange agreements with many European universities. Here you will find more information about exchange studies.

There is also an agreement with South America's best physics institution (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil) which will allow you to spend up to one year in São Paulo and obtain a double degree in Physics. Here you will find more information about the exchange program with São Paulo.

In Materials Physics, we are also partners in the International Master Program Nanomat with the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, with the Universiteit Antwerpen in Belgium and with Università degli Studi Roma Tre in Italy. The programme gives you the opportunity for a double or even triple degree. Here you will find more information on Nanomat.


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Physics as the main field of study. After one year of study it may also be possible to obtain a Master of Science (60 credits).

All specialisations of this programme


Materials properties are ultimately determined by the dynamics of electrons and nuclei. A deep understanding of the underlying interactions is prerequisite for design of materials. New materials find applications in a variety of fields of societal importance, including nanoelectronics and magnetism, energy applications and environmental science.
As a student in the Maser Programme in Physics, specialising in Materials Theory, you will study advanced courses in quantum mechanics, atomic, molecular and solid state physics, and learn state of the art theoretical methods to predict properties of materials. You will learn how to theoretically treat complex interactions based on the principles of quantum theory, and make numerical simulations. You will be able to optimise your own programme, and to use the most advanced theoretical tools to understand modern materials, and predict new materials properties.
Lectures will be intertwined with the seminars and advance numerical exercises. The examination work will be done in a research group. Your choice of courses will permit you to prepare for research training as well as a career outside the university during your Master's studies.

See outline for courses within the specialisation.

Learning experience

Instruction consists of lectures, teacher-supervised tuition, and guidance in conjunction with laboratory work. The forms of examination vary depending on the course content and design. Final exams are more common for theoretical courses, although many tutors have gone over to continuous examination during the course, such as group discussions and hand-in exercises. The programme takes place in Uppsala.

The teachers are active researchers and the courses closely follow current developments in physics.

The language of instruction is English.


With a Master’s degree in physics, you will be qualified for PhD studies in physics. Many physics Master’s students continue as PhD students, at Uppsala University or elsewhere. You will also have the opportunity to work with research and development (R&D) at various companies and public authorities.

Your mathematical competence and analytical problem-solving skills will make you an attractive recruit. Depending on the courses you take and the specialisation you choose, there are many other individual career opportunities in special areas, both within and outside the field of physics.

For example, you may find employment as a company consultant, project manager in R&D, or as a specialist in banking, insurance or research organisations.


With a Bachelor’s degree that is not in physics (e.g. engineering, mathematics), you may or may not qualify for our Master programme. You must have passed physics courses worth at least 75 credits (out of 180 credits), i.e. 1.25 years of full-time physics courses (out of three years). Before applying, verify that you meet this requirement.

Materials Theory

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1177 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Also required is 75 credits in physics.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency. This is normally attested by an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS with the following minimum scores:

  • 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
Exemptions for students from certain countries.

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


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

Contact and further resources

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1

Box 516, 751 20 UPPSALA

Telephone: 018-471 5952

Fax: 018-471 5999

Study counsellor:

Telephone: +46 18 471 59 91

For general information about Master's studies at Uppsala University, please send an email to: