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Masters Degrees in Solid-State Physics, Belgium

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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.

Structure

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.

Department

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.

Objectives

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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