Master’s studies

Theoretical Chemistry - Master Programme in Chemistry 2018/2019

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The Master Programme in Chemistry with the specialisation in Theoretical Chemistry has been developed in cooperation with world leading research groups in this field at the university. This specialisation at Uppsala University will give you in-depth knowledge of advanced topics of theoretical and computational chemistry. You will have lecturers who are experts in, e.g., chemical bonding and electronic structure theory, molecular dynamics simulations, and reaction dynamics and you will have the opportunity to do your degree project in a ​dynamic and world-class research environment using state-of-the art computational methods and 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 provides you with a firm basis in theoretical and computational chemistry covering all major areas, and a cutting-edge expertise through in-depth studies, especially in the field of chemical bonding and electronic structure for molecules and materials, molecular dynamics simulations, reaction dynamics and spectroscopy-related research areas. The studies combine theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

One central theme of this Master's programme is to provide foundations that will allow you to embark on advanced studies in a range of modern research fields in academia or in industry. Some important examples of such areas are sustainable energy and fuel solutions, heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis, new materials and their properties, and molecular spectroscopies of various flavours. Thus in your degree work in theoretical chemistry you will have access to a range of chemistry areas to specialise in, and you will be well-equipped for a further career in academia or industry.

As the study plan shows, during the first semester you take courses which will give you the basis for the more specialised courses during the following two semesters. During the second semester, you will learn about energy related materials and catalysis together with students taking the specialisation of Chemistry for Renewable Energy and Physical Chemistry, as well as advanced methods in computational chemistry of molecules and solids. Here, courses on electronic structure theory and photochemistry will provide you with a thorough understanding of energy relevant applications, e.g., solar cells and various forms of chemical conversion through catalytic processes (homogeneous and heterogeneous). 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 theoretical chemistry. You will also have advanced courses in laser spectroscopy and molecular chemical physics, given by leading experts in the field. Given the close connection to research, the courses given in the second and third semesters often provide inspiration for the subject of the degree project.

The versatility of the field is also evident from where you can do your Master's thesis projects, 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. Brakestad: Ab Initio Characterization of Conical Intersections Related to Chemiluminescence in Methylated 1,2-Dioxetanes
    L. Kirchhof: Investigating the Accuracy of Nuclear Quadrupole moments for 63Cu Obtained by Theoretical Solid-state Calculations Using WIEN2k


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 professors in the different fields of chemistry giving seminars about the current trends in their respective research fields. The semester ends with a profile course in theoretical chemistry.

Second, third, and fourth semester
During the second semester, you will take courses in different areas of theoretical and computational chemistry, including courses on photochemistry and catalysis, which are related to the research in theoretical and computational chemistry, and a specialised course in quantum chemical methods for both molecules and solid state materials. During the third semester there will be further advanced courses, including topics such as femtosecond laser spectroscopy, reaction dynamics, statistical thermodynamics, 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 theoretical chemistry makes it possible for you to hold key positions in addressing many future challenges related to areas of both fundamental chemical questions, as well as more applied areas. These could include the development of new materials and more environmentally friendly production processes, as well as contributing to a deeper understanding of fundamental chemical processes, thus contributing. e.g., to the development of new catalysts and reactions facilitating the development of new solar fuels and catalysts as well as new pharmaceuticals.

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.


Theoretical Chemistry

120 credits

Autumn 2018 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2018-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1374 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. 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).


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