Master's Programme in Physics – Astronomy and Space Physics

120 credits

In the Master's Programme in Physics with a specialisation in Astronomy and Space Physics, you will learn about topics beyond planet Earth. You study electromagnetic environments of solar-system planets, exoplanet characterisation, stars and their atmospheres, their winds and evolution. Most of the topics taught are true specialities of researchers at the Department and the associated Swedish Institute of Space Research (IRF).

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

Autumn 2024 Autumn 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

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 this specialisation, 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 our branch of the national Swedish Institute of Space Research (IRF).
  • Get a mentor to guide your course selection and tailor your own programme.

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. Or take a course in Gravitation and Cosmology to understand general relativity.

Our researchers are involved in various international projects and missions, for example, 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 country 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 is just as important as finding the answer. You have a good theoretical foundation in both physics and mathematics. You also have experience in using the foundation to analyse data or create computer-based models to solve problems. You already know the basics of Quantum Physics.


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

The first one and a half years are spent taking courses on a wide range of topics and you can tailor your Master's programme by either choosing a broad syllabus or by specialising in an area of your choice. Except for the five-month thesis work in the last semester, 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 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 the programme outline for courses within the specialisation.

During the two-year programme, you will apply your background in physics to the field of the cosmos. No prior knowledge of astronomy is required and you choose from a wide range of courses according to your interests and career plan.

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 examinations during the course, such as group discussions and hand-in exercises.

The programme takes place in Uppsala.

With our Master's degree in Physics, you will be qualified for PhD studies in physics. Many of our physics Master's students continue as PhD students, at Uppsala University or elsewhere in the world. You will also be able to work with research and development (R&D) at various companies and public authorities.

Our previous graduates work at companies or government agencies like ABB, the Swedish 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 (in such as numerical modelling and data mining) will make you an attractive recruit for a wide range of professions. As an astrophysicist/space physicist who graduated from Uppsala University, you can definitely 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 a specialist in banking, insurance or research organisations.

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.