The Master's Programme in Physics, specialising in Nuclear and Particle Physics, puts you at the very frontline of fundamental physics where we explore the structure of matter at the subatomic level and applications of our findings. You will gain in-depth knowledge in the field as well as the theoretical and experimental methods. These are used by researchers trying to understand the nature at the most fundamental level, including astrophysics and cosmology.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University is ranked among the top 50 physics institutions in the world according to the recent Shanghai ranking, which makes it the highest ranked physics department in all of Scandinavia.
Why this programme?
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 specialisation in Nuclear and Particle Physics, within the Master's Programme in Physics, is a good choice if you are interested in the very frontline of fundamental physics. We aim at understanding the structure of matter at the subatomic level and the applications of this research. This involves both experimental and theoretical nuclear physics and particle physics.
Studying this specialisation puts you in contact with research groups that participate in major physics experiments around the world. Faculty members at Uppsala University are involved in theoretical research on the Standard Model and Beyond. Our researchers are also parts of various experimental research, such as in Higgs physics with the Atlas detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), neutrino physics with the IceCube detector at the South Pole, strong interaction physics with the PANDA, KLOE-2 and BES III experiments, and nuclear structure physics with the AGATA experiment, etc.
The technology that makes the experiments possible is also used in many other fields such as engineering, finance and medicine.
During the programme you can expect to:
explore the structure of matter at the subatomic level and applications of this research,
get in contact with research groups that participate in the leading physics experiments in the world,
gain a solid background for employment in engineering, data analysis, software development or further PhD studies.
A wide range of courses are available, including Accelerator Physics and technology such as radiation detectors for research and medical applications, Advanced Nuclear Physics, Advanced Particle Physics, Quantum Field Theory, Symmetry and Group Theory, Quantum Chromodynamics, and Effective Field Theories. More basic courses are also available, including Special Relativity, Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics. You have great freedom in choosing courses and tailoring your own Master's programme.
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. Furthermore, you have experience in using the foundation to analyse data or create computer-based models to solve problems. Obviously, you already know 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).
How did you choose the Master’s Programme in Physics?
– I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Turin in Italy. During my third year of Bachelor’s studies, in 2018, I spent a semester in Uppsala as an exchange student, both for attending courses and doing research for my thesis. Through this experience, I discovered the vibrant and international environment at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Uppsala University in general, encouraging me to continue my studies here.
What is it like to be an international student?
All courses at the Master’s level are taught in English and the university environment and student life are very international, making me feel welcomed from the very beginning. The possibility to meet students and teachers from every corner of the globe is one of the main reasons that made my experience in Uppsala so enriching. On the other hand, while the average English proficiency is extremely high in Sweden, I have also learnt some Swedish through the courses offered by the University. I believe that the language is a key to better understand a new culture and establish deeper connections.
What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University?
The combination of top-level research and a very dynamic and international student life is the distinctive feature of Uppsala. The city itself and the University cannot really be considered as separate entities, since the university buildings and the student nations are everywhere in the city and it is very easy to bike between them. Thus, overall, it feels like living in a corner of the world that is meant for students to meet, exchange ideas and start building their future.
How did you experience your first few days in Sweden?
Every semester, the student nations organise a one-week welcome reception before the official start of the semester, with several events intended for the new students to create a community. I participated in many of the events and also explored the city as much as possible during some very pleasant late-summer days.
What’s a normal day like for you
Currently, my classes are given online due to the coronavirus pandemic, so I am studying from home and collaborating with classmates via Zoom. However, under normal circumstances, I spend most of my time on campus, where I attend two or four hours of lectures per day, have lunch with my classmates and study in the library. In the evening, I often bike downtown, where I have dance classes or choir rehearsals. I live in a student apartment with my “sambo” (a Swedish word meaning a pair of romantic partners living together) Elias, who also studies physics. We often have long walks together in a nearby natural reserve or meet friends at a student nation during weekends.
What’s unique about your programme?
While I am officially enrolled in the theoretical physics track, I can build my own study path by taking courses from the other specialisations in physics or even other fields, such as mathematics and computer science. The programme coordinator and course counsellor are extremely helpful and flexible about this. This unique freedom allowed me to explore different areas of physics and to perform two research projects already before my Master’s thesis, one in Uppsala and one abroad, which I could carry out in parallel to my studies and be granted credits for. This continuous contact with research provided a very enriching learning experience and gave me a clearer idea about future working perspectives.
How would you describe the relationship between you and your teachers at the university?
It is often very easy to communicate with lecturers and ask questions if something is unclear during a course. The number of students in my programme is not too large, so it is common for the teacher to get to know each student quite well and provide useful feedback. Moreover, all the teachers I met have always been glad to tell about their work and give advice regarding the choice of a course or a research project. I was also very lucky to find a supervisor who guided me along my studies since my Bachelor’s thesis and with whom I could create a valuable intellectual connection.
How is your student life and what is your best experience so far?
The 13 student nations offer an infinite range of activities, from sport clubs, to choirs, fancy balls and pub evenings. They also give the opportunity to meet students from different programmes and collaborate by taking part in the organisation. I am currently involved at the Gästrike-Hälsinge Nation and responsible for equal opportunities and environmental issues. This provides an enriching complementary experience to my education.
What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
I would like to become a researcher and specialise in cosmology, connecting theoretical models with observations. My main drive is curiosity and I wish to give my own small contribution in the never-ending quest for a suitable description of the Universe. At the same time, I would like to give back what I learnt by becoming a teacher and engaging in science communication. The coronavirus pandemic has once more underlined the need for a better dialogue between the scientific community and society and I wish to invest my education for the benefit of this cause too.
Most course work is done in the first year and you have a wide range of courses to choose from, including Accelerator Physics and Technology, Advanced Nuclear Physics, Quantum Field Theory and Quantum Chromodynamics. More basic courses are also available, including those in Special Relativity, Electrodynamics and Quantum Mechanics.
A large part of the second year is devoted to a degree project. There are a variety of projects open to you, usually based on one of the experiments the group is actively engaged in. Topics that we offer can range from detector development, over experimental data analysis or simulations of experiments, to theoretical research.
The projects can involve data analysis and simulation, or can be more directed toward instrumentation. There is also the possibility of doing a more theoretical project, for example on the structure of hadrons and predictions for their properties, or interpretation of LHC data to test or find discrepancies with the standard model.
The programme has a very strong connection to research in the Division for Nuclear Physics and the Division for High Energy Physics at the same Department, which are internationally highly competitive. The research in our groups is highly collaborative, and during the thesis project you will be integrated in a research group.
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 and career plan. Several Löfberg scholarships are awarded to students of this specialisation every year.
Our teachers are active researchers and the courses closely follow current developments in astrophysics.
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 and 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 specialisation in Nuclear and Particle Physics gives you a versatile and solid background in fundamental physics and its applications. You will be very well prepared to go on to pursue a PhD degree in these, or related, fields.
You will also have great opportunities for jobs in industry or government. Our alumni can be found in a wide variety of industry, for example, in engineering, data analysis and software development. They work in fields such as medical technology, medical physics, Big Data, the energy sector, finance, or telecom. For a physicist with such a broad education, the opportunities are endless.
Career support During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.
Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose. Please verify that you have enough physics courses to meet the formal requirements (see below). For the specialisation in Nuclear and Particle Physics courses in electromagnetism, thermodynamics/statistical physics and quantum mechanics/physics are recommended.
Requirements: 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 Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at universityadmissions.se.
Students are selected based on:
an overall appraisal 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.