Masters degrees in Solid-State Physics explore matter in its solid form, the properties of solids and the processes which form them.
Related subjects include Engineering Physics and Advanced Materials. Entry requirements usually include an appropriate undergraduate degree such as Mathematics, Chemistry or Physics.
Courses in Solid-State Physics encourage you to examine how large-scale properties of solid materials are determined by their atomic-scale properties, and the ways in which these can be manipulated.
You may specialise in areas such as metallurgy, nanotechnology, crystallography and electromagnetism, developing a range of materials such as metals and polymers for use in technology (particularly transistors and semiconductors).
Expertise in this field may be applied in a range of industries. For example, you may work within the automotive or aerospace engineering industries to conduct thermo- or hydrodynamic tests. Or, you might work within the mining and quarrying industries or in civil engineering to design highly durable machinery and structures.
Other careers include the development of clinical machinery and surgical tools, communications systems, and consumer items such as jewellery and mobile technology.
The global challenges of climate and energy require new technologies for renewable energy sources, methods of energy storage, efficient energy use, new lightweight vehicular structures, techniques for carbon capture and storage and climate engineering. This is a broad-based MSc, designed for graduates who wish to acquire skills in energy and materials science in order to participate in the emerging challenges to meet climate change targets.
Students gain an advanced knowledge of materials science as it applies to energy and environmental technologies and research skills including information and literature retrieval, critical interpretation and analysis, and effective communication. They can benefit from modules in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering or mechanical engineering, thus offering future employers a wide-ranging skills base. Graduates will be well qualified to deal with the problems of energy decision-making and the implications for the environment.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (15 credits each) and a research project (60 credits).
An exit-level only Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is available.
An exit-level only Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is available.
Students take all of the following, totalling 90 credits, and a 60-credit research dissertation.
Students take 30 credits drawn from the following:
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 7,000-10,000 words, an oral presentation and a viva voce examination (60 credits).
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, self-study and research supervision. Assessment is through unseen written examination and coursework. The literature project is assessed by written dissertation and the research project is assessed by a written report and a viva voce examination.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Materials for Energy and Environment MSc
The UK has committed to 80% reduction in CO2 emissions on a 1990 baseline by 2050. CERES, the organisation that represents the largest institutional investors would like to see 90% reduction by 2050. National Systems of Innovation (NSI), which includes the universities, research centres and government departments working in conjunction with industry, will need to apprehend new opportunities and change direction, diverting personnel to energy and climate issues in response to changing markets and legislation. This MSc will contribute to the supply of personnel needed for the era of sustainability.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
This programme is designed for graduates from a wide range of science and engineering backgrounds who wish to broaden their knowledge and skills into materials science with an emphasis on the energy and climate change issues that will drive markets over the next century. It delivers courses from five departments across three faculties depending on options and includes a self-managed research project which is intended to introduce the challenges of original scientific research in a supportive environment.
Research activities span the whole spectrum of energy-related research from the development of batteries and fuel cells to the prediction of the structure of new water-splitting catalytic materials.
Students develop experience in scientific method, techniques for reporting science and in the many generic skills required for a future career.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Chemistry
94% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The Masters in Physics: Advanced Materials provides an understanding of the principles and methods of modern physics, with particular emphasis on their application to global interdisciplinary challenges in the area of advanced materials and at a level appropriate for a professional physicist.
*For suitably qualified candidates
Modes of delivery of the MSc in Physics: Advanced Materials include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, project and team work.
The programme draws upon a wide range of advanced Masters-level courses. You will have the flexibility to tailor your choice of optional lecture courses and project work to a wide variety of specific research topics and their applications in the area of advanced materials.
Career opportunities in academic research, based in universities, research institutes, observatories and laboratory facilities; industrial research in a wide range of fields including energy and the environmental sector, IT and semiconductors, optics and lasers, materials science, telecommunications, engineering; banking and commerce; higher education.
The Graduate Diploma is designed for graduates whose first degree may be inappropriate for direct entry to an MSc in Physics at a UK university. Though it may be taken as a free-standing qualification, most students take this programme as a pathway to the MSc. This pathway forms the first year of a two-year programme with successful students (gaining a merit or distinction) progressing onto the MSc Physics in second year.
Students will undertake a total of 120 credits
For students with an undergraduate degree or equivalent who wish to have the experience of one year in a leading UK Physics Department, or who may not be immediately eligible for entry to a higher degree in the UK and who wish to upgrade their degree. If you successfully complete this programme with a Merit or Distinction we may consider you for the MSc programme.
The compulsory modules are assessed via coursework. The majority of the other optional modules avaiable are assessed by written examinations.
Many students go on to do a higher Physics degree, work in scientific research, teaching or work in the financial sector.
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.