The programme aims to train physicists capable of working in research institutes or corporate environments. Upon successful completion of the programme, students will have acquired:
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
After a semester with advanced courses in different disciplines of physics, you choose a major research specialization consisting of advanced and specialized courses and a master’s thesis of 30 ECTS.
The remaining 30 ECTS allow you to follow one of two options: Research or Physics in Society.
The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modelling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. Fifteen teams perform research at an international level. Publication of research results in leading journals and attracting top-level scientists are priorities for the department.
New physics and innovation in the development of new techniques are important aspects of our mission. The interaction with industry (consulting, patents...) and society (science popularisation) are additional points of interest. Furthermore, the department is responsible for teaching basic physics courses in several study programmes.
The master students will grow into independent and critical scientists. Masters of physics will have developed sufficient knowledge and skills to participate in competitive national or international PhD programmes. Moreover the acquired research methodology will prepare the student for employment as a scientist in any chosen profession.
The curriculum is constructed in a way that the student can specialize in an area of choice by joining one of the research groups of the department. This specialization can be in the field of nuclear physics, condensed matter physics ortheoretical physics. A major part of the curriculum consists of research resulting in a master thesis. The subject of the thesis is chosen by the student during the course of the second semester of the 1st Master year and students join a research team from the 3th semester onwards.
The students can choose an option to prepare themselves better for a future in research or in industry or society related fields.
In the option "research" the student can take courses from another research specialization than its major one, which can be accompanied by an internship in one of the research teams of this minor discipline. As such our students have the possibility to broaden their knowledge in at least two scientific disciplines (in physics or a related field), which is invaluable when a further research career in or out of academia is considered.
In the option "Physics for society" students can choose for an internship of a full semester in a company or they can take courses from the LCIE Entrepreneurship Academy who wants to prepare academics for entrepreneurschip.
The Erasmus programme of the European Union offers an excellent opportunity for Belgian students who would like to combine their study with experience outside the KU Leuven. All research groups of the department have a network of European collaborators and we advise interested students to integrate this exchange with their thesis research during their second Master year. Choices concerning the Erasmus programme need to be made in December of the 1st Master year. Address the Erasmus coordinator to obtain specific information on this European programme.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at KU Leuven generates substantial research funding. Consequently, many research positions are available, and more than half the students obtaining a master’s degree in physics eventually start a PhD programme in one of the department’s research groups.
A number of graduates prefer to pursue a second master’s degree, with medical radiation physics, environmental sciences, and statistics as the most popular subjects. There are also excellent career opportunities in industry (ICT, material research, electronics), consulting, government, banking (statistics), and higher education. Unemployment is nonexistent among newly graduated physicists.
Physicists and astronomers try to understand nature: from the smallest building blocks of matter and their interactions to the evolution of the universe on a cosmological scale. Ultimately, this endeavour leads to new insights that are helpful in other scientific disciplines, and to many applications in our daily lives. Although our insights go ever deeper and reach ever further, there is much we still do not understand. That is why basic research remains so important.
This MSc programme combines the research expertise of both the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Universiteit Gent (UGent), allowing you to tailor your study programme to your interests. One choice you have to make in advance is which of our three minors you want to follow: Research, Economy and Business or Education (30 ECTS in Dutch). No matter which minor you choose, you will get a solid training as a physicist and we offer you the possibility to participate in high-level research. There is no wrong choice!
If you choose the Research minor, you will have to take up two External Mobility-courses. These allow you to follow courses at another university or to do an internship at a company or research institution. A combination of courses and internship is also possible. The internship will be assessed through a report and presentation.
The offered courses are strongly embedded in both universities' ongoing research programmes. Through intensive collaboration with members of the research groups, you will get the opportunity to develop and improve your scientific skills. The researchers at VUB have strong connections within Belgium and in- and outside Europe through research projects such as the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and the CMS experiment at CERN in Geneva. Many of our students have the opportunity to do an internship or research for their Master's thesis at CERN during their studies. this close connection to research means our students are well-prepared for a PhD-position, with around half of our graduates pursuing such a career in research.
Did you know that VUB postdocs and faculty are leading international teams of scienctists? For example Dr. Petra Van Mulders, a VUB alumnus and postdoctoral researcher, was until recently leading the team working on identification of particles called b-quarks at the CMS experiment at CERN. The results of her work are now used by researchers all over the world in the attempt to determine the characteristics of the recently discovered Brout-Englert-Higgs particle.
Physics students at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel attend lectures, exercises, lab sessions and excursions in small groups. There is room for interaction and discussion, and a low threshold for students to actively participate. This programme pays special attention to critical analysis.
The different research groups at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are in close contact with leading universities and research institutes around the world, which allows you to do part of your studies and/or the research for your Master’s thesis abroad. Our research groups work for example at the particle accelerator at CERN.