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Masters Degrees in Nuclear & Particle Physics, Belgium

We have 3 Masters Degrees in Nuclear & Particle Physics, Belgium

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This interuniversity 'master after master' program (60 ECTS) is jointly organized by the Belgian Nuclear Higher Education Network (BNEN), a consortium of six Belgian universities. Read more

Organizing institutions

This interuniversity 'master after master' program (60 ECTS) is jointly organized by the Belgian Nuclear Higher Education Network (BNEN), a consortium of six Belgian universities: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Universiteit Gent, Université de Liège , Université Catholique de Louvain et Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN). Students can enroll for this master program at each of the six partner universities. The program is built up of 31 ECTS of common compulsory courses, 9 ECTS of elective courses and a compulsory Master Thesis of 20 ECTS.

The primary objective of the programme is to educate young engineers in nuclear engineering and ts applications and to develop and maintain high-level nuclear competences in Belgium and abroad. BNEN catalyses networking between academia, research
centres, industry and other nuclear stakeholders. Courses are organised in English and in a modular way: teaching in blocks of one to three weeks for each course, allowing for optimal time management for professional students and facilitating registration for individual modules.
All courses take place at SCK•CEN, in Mol, Belgium. The lectures take place in a dedicated, brand-new classroom in the conference centre of SCK•CEN (Club-House), located in a wooded area and nearby the SCK•CEN restaurant and library services. SCK•CEN offers a variety of accommodation options: houses, villas, studios and dormitories. For more information visit: http://www.sckcen.be

About the programme

The one-year progamme was created in close collaboration with representatives of the utility companies and power plants and teaches students in all aspects of nuclear technology and its applications, creating nuclear engineering
experts in the broad sense. Exercises and hands-on sessions in the specialised laboratories of SCK•CEN complement the theoretical classes and strengthen the development of nuclear skills and attitudes in a research environment. Various technical visits
are organised to research and industrial nuclear facilities.
The programme can be divided into three core blocks:
ƒ- A set of introductory courses allowing refreshing or first contact with the basic notions of nuclear physics, material sciences and the
principles of energy production through use of nuclear phenomena.
ƒ- A core block of nuclear engineering applied to power generation and reactor use; theory of reactors and neutronics, thermal hydraulic problems encountered in reactor exploitation, the nuclear fuel cycle and the specific material corrosion problems.
-ƒ An applications block where safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants and the legal and practical aspects of radiation protection and nuclear measurements are discussed.


BNEN grants are available for full-time students.



Nuclear energy: introduction 3 ECTS credits
Introduction to nuclear physics 3 ECTS
Nuclear materials I 3 ECTS
Nuclear fuel cycle and applied radiochemistry 3 ECTS
Nuclear materials II 3 ECTS
Nuclear reactor theory 8 ECTS
Nuclear thermal hydraulics 6 ECTS
Radiation protection and nuclear measurements 6 ECTS
Operation and control 3 ECTS
Reliability and safety 3 ECTS
Advanced courses 4 ECTS
Master thesis 15 ECTS
Total 60 ECTS

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What is the Master of Physics all about?. The programme aims to train physicists capable of working in research institutes or corporate environments. Read more

What is the Master of Physics all about?

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:

  • thorough knowledge of physics in general as well as more in-depth knowledge of at least one specialized area;
  • the ability to make sound judgments informed by current research;
  • the ability to gain new insights and results and to develop new methods;
  • the ability to solve physical problems using the most appropriate experimental and/or theoretical methods and to report on research findings;
  • the ability to structure and analyse specific problems in different situations;
  • strong teamwork skills;
  • the ability to communicate findings and insights;
  • a critical understanding of the role that physics plays in society.

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 Research option prepares you for a research career in academia or industry. You broaden your research skills by choosing a minor research domain, including at least 12 ECTS courses from that domain and complemented by a research internship or with other courses.
  • The Physics and Society option offers you the opportunity to prepare for a career as a physicist outside academia, through courses preparing you for entrepreneurship or via an internship in a company.


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.

Career perspectives

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.

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Are you interested in theoretical and/or experimental research of elementary particles, stars and the universe? Do you want to attend lectures by Nobel… Read more

Something for you?

Are you interested in theoretical and/or experimental research of elementary particles, stars and the universe? Do you want to attend lectures by Nobel Prize laureates and other internationally renowned researchers during your education? Do you want to participate actively in the latest, innovative experiments at CERN or on Antarctica? Or do you aspire to have a career in academia, industry, banking, in the medical sector or education? In that case this Master programme is what you are looking for!

About the programme

This MSc programme combines the expertise in research of both the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University (UGent). This allows you to tailor your study programme according to your interests. The programme consists of several components: basic competences, electives, Master’s thesis and, specifically for the minor Research, mobility / internship. Mobility means taking courses at another university, usually in Belgium, while the internship can be either in Belgium or abroad.


Elementary particles
The structure of this Master’s programme ensures a broad formation as a physicist and offers you the opportunity to partake in top-level research in our very own research groups. This programme focuses on the physics of elementary particles, where both experimental and theoretical research topics are discussed, as well as astro-particle physics.

Experimental physicist
As an aspiring experimental physicist you can focus on the experimental study of high-energy interactions and cosmic radiation, and you can work with the most innovative detectors in the biggest particle accelerators.

Theoretical physicist
As a future theorist you will be confronted with gauge theories, strings and branes, gravitation and cosmology. This theoretical part has links with theoretical research in astrophysics, since that discipline studies the evolution of massive double stars, the evolution of star birth galaxies and the chemical evolution of galaxies.

As an aspiring astronomer you can choose to do observational research on topics such as astroseismology and the development of photometric techniques.

Quantum physics
Finally, you can also decide to specialise in the most fundamental aspects of quantum physics and its recent applications in the field of quantum information.


The curriculum consists of four components:

1. Mandatory courses
2. Electives
3. Internship
4. Master thesis
This structure ensures that you will have a solid formation as a physicist, while offering you the possibility to participate in high-level research in our research groups.

Room for interaction and discussion

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.

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