Master's Programme in Chemistry – Physical Chemistry

120 credits

The specialisation in Physical Chemistry in the Master's programme in Chemistry offers a firm basis in advanced physical chemistry. It covers all major areas and a cutting-edge expertise through in-depth studies, especially in the field of reaction dynamics and research areas related to advanced spectroscopic techniques. The studies combine theoretical knowledge and practical skills, as well as providing insight into theoretical and computational chemistry methods.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Uppsala University is an internationally highly ranked university which has eight Nobel Laureates, of whom two have been chemists. In particular, the chemistry education was given a rating of "excellent" in the latest evaluation of the Center for Higher Education Development. Further, the chemistry program at Uppsala University has been ranked in top 100 by QS World University Rankings.

Choosing a specialisation in Physical Chemistry within the Master's Programme in Chemistry, will give you the opportunity to dive into advanced topics in physical chemistry and modern experimental techniques. Some of these topics include, solar energy conversion, artificial photosynthesis, photocatalysis, reaction dynamics and electron transfer. We utilise steady state and ultrafast time-resolved laser spectroscopy, as well as electrochemistry, to study physical processes in materials, polymers, molecular model systems, proteins and solar cells. Through your research in Physical Chemistry you will meet and learn from lecturers and professors who are leading experts in these advanced topics.

This specialisation is oriented towards fundamental physical chemistry, but it also includes the physical and chemical foundations needed to take part in the development of new solutions for sustainable production of energy and fuels. Also included are the theoretical aspects and simulation methods related to, e.g., new materials. You will be well-equipped to undertake research within academia or research and development in industry.

During the programme you can expect to

  • have a personal mentor who helps you prepare for your future career,
  • gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills in advanced physical chemistry, as well as insight into theoretical and computational chemistry methods,
  • be a part of a university with two Nobel prizes in chemistry.

Your mentor will provide guidance as you develop your research independence. You will participate in seminars, group-meetings and other events to prepare you for professional communication in your future career. You will interact with highly motivated PhD-students and post-docs who have come to Uppsala University to carry out cutting-edge research in our diverse and stimulating research environment. Our research groups have 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.

To increase your practical experience of working in a research group, you can also choose the course in Research Training which will further develop your theoretical knowledge and experimental skills.

Student profile

You are probably coming directly from your Bachelor's degree or have had a relevant job to strengthen your analytical and experimental skills. Your university was well equipped with experimental facilities so you have good practical training working in a lab, as well as a firm theoretical basis and can select relevant methods and stay safe while doing experiments.

You have an analytical mind and are able and willing to express your thoughts through both writing and speaking. You are extremely motivated and will take the responsibility needed to successfully complete your studies.

A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming into contact with current research and prominent researchers in the respective international field.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with Chemistry as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Science (60 credits).

During the 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. The semester ends with a profile course in physical chemistry.

The second semester, you will take courses in different areas of physical chemistry, including photochemistry, catalysis and advanced electrochemistry.

The third semester you will have a course in statistical thermodynamics and simulation methods, as well as an advanced course in laser spectroscopy taught by leading experts in the field.

Given the close connection to research, these courses often provide the inspiration for a degree project of 30 credits or 45 credits which ends the programme

Some examples of Master's thesis titles:

  • L. van Turnhout: Plasmonic monohybrid catalysts for selective reduction reactions
  • A. Križan: Time-resolved IR spectroscopic studies on FeFe Hydrogenase mimicking a reduction catalyst
  • R. Herboth: Free energy sampling of amino acids in water

Courses within the programme

See the programme outline for courses within the programme.

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 who will coach you to adopt a scientific approach in your work, where you will develop the necessary skills to solve problems, think critically and analytically, plan and formulate research problems, and independently carry out the necessary experiments and analyse as well as interpret the results.

In seminars, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates a course book or work you have conducted; while the teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills which will be required in your future professional development. All students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.

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 degree from Uppsala University will give you close connection to excellent and world-leading research and you will have the opportunity to develop a personal contact network.

Surveys have shown that the labour market for chemists with a degree from Uppsala University is excellent, with 97% of those who obtained their degree during the last ten years are either employed or undertaking doctoral studies.

A Master of Science in Chemistry from Uppsala University will provide you with many 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 in chemistry, you will also be qualified for positions in many other areas where problem-solving, abstract thinking and analytical ability are required.

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
  • Environmental and sustainability issues
  • Developing new and improved methods for quality control.

Salary in Sweden can vary greatly depending on education level, work task, previous experience, location, sector, etc. According to one of the largest Swedish work union SACO's statistics of salary in Sweden in 2021, newly graduated students in chemistry earned between SEK 25 000 and SEK 35 000 per month before tax.

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.