Astronomy and Space Physics - Master's Programme in Physics 2020/2021

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This specialisation covers topics beyond planet Earth. You study electromagnetic environments of solar-system planets, exoplanet characterisation, stars and their atmospheres, their winds and evolution. You explore the Milky Way and its origin as well as external galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe. Most of the topics taught are true specialties of researchers in the Division of Astronomy and Space Physics, with the associated Uppsala branch of the Swedish Institute of Space Research (IRF).

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 among the top 100 physics institutions in the world according to the recent Shanghai ranking, which makes it the highest ranked physics department in all of Sweden.

Why this programme?

Uppsala University is the only place in Sweden where you can study both space physics and astronomy. Here you can research the cosmos using state-of-the-art technology (ground and space-based instrumentation, supercomputers) to answer some of the most fundamental questions in physics.

In the specialisation in Astronomy and Space Physics, within the Master's Programme in Physics, you study how the earth's magnetosphere works, how stars evolve and how the Milky Way came to be. You explore the processes that govern the evolution of the universe and gain a deep understanding of physical phenomena from outside the earth's atmosphere to the far reaches of the observable universe.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • research the cosmos using ground and space-based instrumentation and supercomputers
  • study at the Uppsala branch of the national Swedish Institute of Space Research (IRF)
  • get a personal mentor to guide your course selection.
You can also tailor your own Master's degree and take a course in Advanced Quantum Mechanics if you are interested in the microphysics governing stellar light, the main source of information about the universe. Maybe take a course in Gravitation and Cosmology to really understand general relativity. You will be assigned a mentor helping you to make informed decisions towards your degree and your future career.

Researchers at Uppsala University are involved in various international projects and missions, e.g. CRIRES+ (the infrared high-resolution spectrograph at the Very Large Telescope in Chile), CLUSTER (earth's magnetosphere is 3D), Gaia (the billion-star Galactic surveyor), JUICE (the icy moons of Jupiter) and PLATO (next-generation exoplanet characterisation). Sweden is a member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) giving us access to cutting-edge instrumentation in the Southern hemisphere.

Student profile
You are naturally curious about how the world works and realise that formulating a question can be just as important as finding the answer. You have a good theoretical foundation in both Physics and Mathematics and experience in using it to analyse data or create computer-based models to solve problems. Obviously, you already know the basics of Quantum Physics.

You are extremely motivated and willing to take responsibility to tailor your own education from the wide range of courses offered. A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in the field. So, if you are searching for the answer, a Master's degree in physics from Uppsala University might be exactly what takes you there.


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


The first 1.5 years are spent taking courses from a wide range of topics and you can tailor your own Master's degree by either choosing a broad syllabus or by specialising in an area of your choice. Apart from the five-month thesis work, no specific astronomy course is compulsory. However, we recommend taking the four 10-credit courses (The Physics of Planetary Systems, The Physics of Stars, The Physics of Galaxies, and Cosmology) for a good overview of contemporary research in astronomy and space physics.

You can complement the taught courses with research projects (5, 10, 15 and 30 credits) which you design together with your chosen supervisor. The final semester is spent conducting a thesis project in one of the several research groups at the division. Be part of a research group and get to know frontline research. This is the best way to prepare yourself for a PhD position.

Courses within the programme

See complete outline

Learning experience

During the two-year programme you will apply your background in physics to the cosmos. No prior knowledge in astronomy is required and you choose from a wide range of courses according to your interests. Several "Löfberg scholarships" are awarded to for students of this specialisation every year.

During a typical week you will have about 8-10 hours of scheduled classroom time. The majority of time is thus spent studying on your own or in a study group outside the classroom. You can also choose to conduct research projects. They are a lot like thesis work, only shorter in duration, and are an excellent way into a new research field/group.

Classes are typically small, ranging from a few students up to about 20. This gives you close contact with the teachers as well as your fellow students. Our teaching is in English as the student group is international.

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 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 astrophysics.

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.

Our graduates work at companies/state agencies like ABB, the National Defence Research Institute (FOI) and insurance companies, as group leaders in research and development, data analysts and consultants.

Even if you do not continue to pursue a career in academia, your qualifications (numerical modelling, data mining) will make you an attractive recruit in a wide range of professions. As an astrophysicist/space physicist you can expect above-average employability.

Your mathematical competence and analytical problem-solving skills also make you an attractive employee. Depending on the courses you take and the specialisation you choose, there are many 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.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


With a Bachelor's degree that is not in physics (e.g. engineering, mathematics), you may or may not qualify for our Master's 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.

Astronomy and Space Physics

120 credits

Autumn 2020 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2020-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1171 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 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

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


For programme-specific information, please contact: Study counsellor:

+46 18 471 59 91

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1

Box 516, 751 20 UPPSALA

018-471 5952

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