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.