Materials Theory - Master's Programme in Physics 2020/2021

Photo for Materials Theory - Master's Programme in Physics 2020/2021

Materials properties are ultimately determined by the dynamics of electrons and nuclei. The Master's Programme in Physics, specialising in Materials Theory, gives you a deep understanding of the underlying interactions that is the prerequisite for the design of new materials for devices of improved performance or of a completely new kind. The wide research activities 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 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?

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.

This specialisation in Materials Theory, within the Master's Programme in Physics, lets you 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.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • learn how to theoretically treat complex interactions based on the principles of quantum theory
  • be able to predict novel materials properties
  • be able to write efficient code and optimise it for use in high-performance supercomputing facilities.
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 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.

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 your knowledge to analyse data or create computer-based tools to solve problems. Obviously, you need the basics of Quantum Physics.

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


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.

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.

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 about research work and research techniques. During your Master's degree, you will be able to build your contact network, which will be important for your future professional life.

Courses within the programme

See outline for courses within the specialisation.

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. Lectures will be intertwined with the seminars and advance numerical exercises. The examination work will be done in a research 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, for example Sandvik, ABB, Volvo and governmental authorities like the Swedish Energy agency. Job titles include manager, strategic consultant, and VP research and development.

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.

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.

Materials Theory

120 credits

Autumn 2020 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2020-01-15

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 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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