Physics and Astronomy

Cutting edge research at the heart of modern society

Groundbreaking research at the heart of modern society

Physics is an indispensable part of modern society. Modern life would be entirely different without computer chips, lasers, MRI screening and all the other benefits of physics research. The Master’s programme in Physics and Astronomy provides you with plenty of opportunities to study and engage in groundbreaking fundamental research and its applications. Whether you are interested in physical processes within cells, creating artificial photosynthesis, astroparticle physics or testing fundamental symmetries at the atomic scale, the Master’s programme in Physics and Astronomy gives you the opportunities to deepen your knowledge and engage in groundbreaking fundamental research.

You will have the opportunity to concentrate on a specialization track of your choice:

  • Advanced Matter and Energy Physics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Gravitation, Astro- and Particle Physics
  • Physics of Life and Health
  • Science for Energy and Sustainability
  • Theoretical Physics


You will learn to test, explain and develop theories of physical phenomena and to analyse and solve problems using a scientific approach. The result is a well-balanced education in which you combine a broad understanding of physics and astronomy with in-depth knowledge of specific areas and the ability to reason and work at an academic level.

Physics and Astronomy is a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam. Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities.

VUvA logo

The Master’s programme in Physics is a two-year programme during which you will take compulsory modules in your chosen specialization, plus a number of optional subjects. These options can be general physics subjects or courses drawn from another specialization. The programme also involves writing an essay on a subject which is not directly related to your field of specialization. In your second year, you will join one of the participating research groups. Your research will culminate in a Master’s thesis and a final presentation. 
You can choose one of the following tracks:

  • Advanced Matter and Energy Physics
  • Particle and Astroparticle Physics
  • Physics of Life and Health
  • Science for Energy and Sustainability
  • Theoretical Physics

Structure of the programme 
On the Master’s curriculum, you will gain wider knowledge and a deeper understanding of physics in general and of one or more specific areas of physics. The programme consists of the following elements, though the balance will vary depending on whether you take the Research profile or one of the other profiles:

  • Optional courses in Physics
  • Compulsory courses in chosen specialization
  • Essay, student seminar or project (Research profile only)
  • Research project
  • Presentation and Master’s thesis
  • Optional courses (to make up for any deficiencies)
  • Additional courses and projects (does not apply to Research profile)

Course descriptions

Physics & Astronomy: UvA/VU joint degree courses in study guide.

Our graduates are employed by research institutes like the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). But they also find careers with major multinationals like Shell and Philips, and with telecommunications companies and banks. The public sector likewise offers opportunities, as do software houses and consultancies. If you choose the Research profile, you can become an assistant or trainee researcher at a university and work towards a PhD. 

PhD programme  
The four-year PhD programme trains you as an independent researcher. PhD students are employed by the university under a contract which includes agreements about the character and content of their education. The first year is mainly spent complementing your theoretical knowledge and preparing the ground for your research. To obtain your PhD, you must write a thesis. 

In addition to those financed by the university, other PhD positions are supported by bodies like the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), as well as various companies and the European Union.  
  
Postgraduate training course for clinical physicists 
The Master’s programme in Physics, and the specialization in Biophysics and Physics of Complex Systems in particular, can be organized in such a way that it provides admission to a postgraduate training course for clinical physicists. 

A career in teaching 
Graduates of the Education profile can pursue a career in teaching. Detailed information about the further study programmes in this sector can be found in the study guide 'Lerarenopleiding Onderwijscentrum VU' available from the CETAR secretariat: 

Telephone: +31 (0)20 59 89222 
E-mail: onderwijssecretariaat@ond.vu.nl 
Website: www.onderwijscentrum.vu.nl

Organization and facilities
 
VU Amsterdam scores highly for the organization of its curriculum, its working methods and its facilities such as the LaserLaB. Student guidance plays an important role in the Master’s programme. You will remain in close contact with your personal tutor throughout, enabling you to optimize your performance on the Master’s programme. 

Research training in advanced laboratories 
The Master’s programme in Physics and Astronomy offers you the opportunity to prepare for your future career. You will be working with leading international researchers in advanced laboratories. 

Diversity in courses 
The Master’s programme is highly diverse. Courses such as Particle physics, Quantum Optics, Physics of Organs, Femtosecond Lasers, Nonlinear Techniques and Mechanics of Human Tissues provide the ideal opportunity for in-depth specialization, both in terms of theory and practical application. 

Home to leading research groups  
The Physics Department has strong ties with Chemistry, Biology and Medicine and is home to leading research groups working on physics of the cell, biophysics, physical chemistry and laser-related sciences. Through its participation in the National Institute for Subatomic Physics (NIKHEF), the department is involved in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva. Our department also cooperates in projects at renowned institutes such as the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF) and the Institute for Plasma Physics. 

Joint degree programme of University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam 
Physics and Astronomy is a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam. Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities.

Neutrinos as a gateway to new physics 
Neutrinos are the most intriguing of all known elementary particles, due to their extraordinary properties. These almost massless particles barely interact with matter. Recent measurements of neutrino masses and neutrino mixing point to a new physics, beyond the Standard Model. Our Theory group is exploring possible new theories and their predictions. 

The physics of DNA repair 
DNA is the carrier of genetic information in all organisms. In a cell, DNA is constantly being damaged by forces such as UV light or reactive chemicals. Cells contain complex mechanisms to repair this damage and prevent cell death or cancer. Our Physics of Complex Systems group uses optical tweezers in combination with fluorescence microscopy to study the mechanism of DNA repair at the level of single molecules. 

What can we learn from plants? 
Photosynthesis is a remarkably efficient and robust mechanism which not only works in very bright sunlight but also at low levels, when plants are in the shade or under cloud cover. Our Biophysics research group is studying the mechanism plants use to protect themselves from excessive sunlight. This knowledge can be used to develop a new generation of bio-based solar cells. 

How constant are physical constants? 
How do we know if the mass of a proton is the same today as it was just after the Big Bang? Measuring and exploring new theories involving the fundamental physical constants is one of the areas you can explore at VU Amsterdam’s internationally renowned LaserLaB Amsterdam. 

Working with extremely low temperatures 
Temperature can have a startling effect on matter. At the LaserLaB Amsterdam, helium atoms are cooled to temperatures around one millionth of a degree above absolute zero. At these extremely low temperatures the wave-like nature of matter manifests itself. 

Mapping the sky 
Mankind has been using electromagnetic radiation to study the universe for centuries. If Einstein’s theory of general relativity is correct, then the VIRGO detector near Pisa, in which VU Amsterdam participates, will soon be mapping the sky using gravitational waves. 

Science in Amsterdam  
VU Amsterdam collaborates closely with the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in most MSc tracks in physics, chemistry and mathematics. Both universities have an excellent international reputation, with several research groups playing leading roles in various fields of science. Their collaboration has resulted in a range of high-quality MSc programmes. Due to this cooperation, students can enjoy the expertise of two universities, as well as benefiting from the existing networks and collaborative projects at both universities. For example, the Accelerators Department at CERN in Geneva, the Dutch national institute for subatomic physics Nikhef and the FOM Institutes for Plasma Physics (Rijnhuizen) and for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF). 

MSc track Advanced Matter and Energy Physics in Amsterdam

Gideon Koekoek

Student

"For me, cosmology is the perfect specialization within Physics and Astronomy. There are two very big theories in physics, from which – as far as we know – all the others are derived: the quantum field theory and the relativity theory. To explain physical phenomena, you usually need only one of these. But cosmology is such a huge challenge, as it is one of the few branches of physics in which you need both theories at the same time. This programme really offers me all the challenges I was looking for.”

Overview Physics & Astronomy: UvA/VU joint degree

Language of instruction

English

Duration

2 years

Tuition fee

Application deadline

1 June for Dutch students. 1 April for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students.* * EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam University Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Specializations

Theoretical Physics; Particle and Astroparticle Physics; Advanced Matter and Energy Physics; Physics of Life and Health; Science for Energy and Sustainability.

Career profiles:
Research; Physics and Society (taught only in Dutch); Physics and Communication (taught only in Dutch); Physics and Education (taught only in Dutch).

Field of Interest

Natural Sciences

Joost van Mameren

Alumni

“During the final stages of my studies at the Physics of Complex Systems section, I took up a student placement with a leading research group at the University of Chicago. There I was taught all about the chemical synthesis of quantum dots: tiny crystal beads, only about 10 millionths of a millimetre in size, which we wanted to use at VU Amsterdam for fluorescence microscopy. At the time, only a couple of labs in the whole world had mastered this technique. I received excellent supervision from a Chinese PhD student. And not only on the academic side. He also arranged a good place for me to live, and we saw a lot of the country together. We are still in touch. He is even planning to come to Amsterdam. A fine follow-up to a useful and instructive placement.”

MSc track Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam

Specializations

Within the Master’s programme in Physics and Astronomy, the following specialization tracks are offered:

  • Advanced Matter and Energy Physics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Gravitation, Astro- and Particle Physics
  • Physics of Life and health
  • Science for Energy and Sustainability 
  • Theoretical Physics

For each track you can choose one of the following career profiles: 

  • Research: the research profile trains a student as a scientific researcher and as a specialist in a particular field. Often these students aim to continue their study with a PhD education, in order to obtain an executive job as researcher or group leader at a university, a research institute, government department or in industry.
  • Physics and Society: the society profile prepares for a career in executive and/or management functions in industry, business or public organisations, by combining a sound background in disciplinary subjects with a business, administratitive or economic training.
  • Physics and Communication: the communication profile prepares for a career as a science journalist, a science public relations officer (e.g. in industry or in a museum) or a science policy-maker.
  • Physics and Education: the eduction profile prepares for a career as a science teacher (equivalent to the former post-graduate teacher's training).

The Physics and Society, Physics and Communication and Physics and Education profiles are partly taught in Dutch. The Research profile is taught in English.

Structure of the programme 

For the general structure of the Master's programme in Physics and Astronomy and course descriptions, see the study guide.

The specialization Advanced Matter and Energy Physics gives you a solid understandig of gas phase, soft condensed matter and hard condensed matter physics. Using state-of-the-art equipment and under the supervision of top-ranked physicists you will be able to do research into topics as:

  • Tests of fundamental physics theories at the atomic scale; frequency metrology of cold atoms and molecules; properties of new forms of ultracold atoms and molecules; quantum computation
  • Artificial photosynthesis; bio-fuels; next generation energy materials, such as nanocrystals, nanowires and nanophotonic systems for tomorrow's solar energy conversion
  • Emergence, the surprising and theoretically mysterious properties condensed matter systems exhibit when they are sufficiently complex
  • Unravelling how new (un)conventional superconductors work and how they can be applied as qubits, field senors, magnets or in power applications
  • Properties of complex liquids, granular, soft and bio-matter including jamming and selforganisation

Programme outline

The specialization Advanced Matter and Energy Physics is organized into three study paths:

  • Emergent energy materials
  • Atomic quantum physics
  • Soft and complex matter

Each of these paths contains:

  • A set of compulsory courses taken bij all students
  • A selection of two of four guided-choice electives
  • Free choice electives

Each of the study paths provides a coherent programme that equips students to conduct their research projects in one of the participating groups. The major elements of the curriculum are shown schematically in this PDF file

Study paths can also be combined. The programme coordinator will help you to design a coherent study programme tailored to your own interest and optimally suited to prepare you for your research project. The programme coordinator will also act as tutor to help you graduate on time after two years of study.

Research project

A small literature survey and an extensive one-year research project form an essential part of the programme. Usually these projects are conducted at one of the associated research groups, but these can also be conducted in a research laboratory abroad or in an industrial lab. Our contacts include top physicists at the world's most prestigious scientific institutions. The VU Amsterdam research groups are all part of LaserLaB Amsterdam which is part of a consortium of 27 leading laboratories in laser based research throughout Europe.

Participating research institutes

The Advanced Matter and Energy Physics programme is powered by three major players in experimental physics research in Amsterdam: the Physics Department of VU Amsterdam (VU), the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and the premier NWO/FOM institute AMOLF. Top researchers from all three institutions teach groundbreaking topics in each of the three study paths, and challenging reseach projects at the forefront of ongoing and new research are on offer from all three partners.

Career perspectives

As a successful graduate, your training in the important and growing fields of experimental physics research will make you a highly prized commodity in the market for PhD candidates. You will be of interest to research groups at VU, UvA and AMOLF, as well as to the hosts of your international or industrial research placement. Besides this, your strong analytical and problem-solving skills, along with your ability to design, set up, exploit and communicate successful experimental solutions providing clear answers to important (scientific) questions will make you highly attractive to the world beyond physics. 

Our MSc graduates have gone on to work in the knowledge-besed sector (for example Philips, Philips Medical Systems, ASML, Shell, Océ, TNO, ESA), the financial sector, the IT and consultancy secor (KPN, McKinsey, ING, ABN AMRO), as well as in government (for example Ministries of EZ, VROM, OCW). Students with strong writing and communication skills can go on to a career with a newspaper, magazine or science-oriented non-profit organization.

Contact

dr. Rick Bethlem 
E-mail: h.l.behlem@vu.nl 
Phone: 020 5987951 

The dynamic field of astronomy and astrophysics is currently gaining importance worldwide. New generations of instruments - situated on the earth's surface and in space - enable us to study the origin, structure and evolution of planets, stars, star systems, and the universe in a more profound way than ever before.

Is Astronomy and Astrophysics the study for me?

It is, if you:

  • have a solid background in physics and mathematics (with at least some basic knowledge of astronomy)
  • are ambitious and creative
  • are interested in the birth of planetary systems and stars, the history of the universe, and the origin and nature of (extreme physical processes occurring around) black holes and neutron stars
  • are eager to explore how the laws of physics play out in the universe.

What does Astronomy and Astrophysics have to offer me?

The programme provides you with thorough training in both the observational and theoretical aspects of modern astronomy and astrophysics. It focuses on current international research topics, such as:

  • X-ray binaries and compact objects
  • gamma ray bursts and radio transients
  • advanced instrumentation
  • planet and star formation.

You use a wide range of theoretical and applied tools to define the properties of astrophysical objects, and to identify the fundamental laws that govern their behaviour. Among these tools are:

  • supercomputers (the faculty campus houses the premier data and computing hub of The Netherlands)
  • ground-based telescopes, operating at wavelengths from radio to optical (such as ESO's VLT and the new LOFAR)
  • space observatories (such as Hubble, Chandra, XMM, Swift, Herschel, GLAST).

The programme is firmly embedded in the Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, which has a long track record of world leading research in both observational astronomy and theoretical astrophysics.

Joint degree programme with University of Amsterdam

This is a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam. Courses are given at the two Faculties of Science. Graduates receive a diploma accredited by both universities. Therefore, as a Physics and Astronomy student you benefit from the expertise, networks and research projects at both universities.

Contact

Prof. dr. C. Dominik  
msc-astronomy-and-astrophysics@uva.nl 
kamer C4.106  

The specialization Specialization in Gravitation, Astro- and Particle Physics is unique in the Netherlands. Its programme is fully embedded in the research of Nikhef, the Dutch national institute for subatomic research. Nikhef staff teach the subjects at the forefront of particle and astroparticle physics research. The programme provides an excellent springboard for PhD positions, both within the institute and elsewhere. Burning questions:

  • What are the smallest building blocks of the universe?
  • What forces cause these “particles” to interact?
  • How can we understand apparently random particle masses?
  • Why do we live in a universe dominated by matter as opposed to anti-matter?

Experiments 
Physicists use particle accelerator experiments to investigate high-energy interactions in a controlled environment aimed at approximating the conditions a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. They study the neutrino radiation from the sun, supernovae and other speculative sources. Such experiments often rely on state-of-the-art technology and innovative software, including distributed computing as part of the GRID project. This specialization is offered in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University.

Programme outline

Students take compulsory courses on particle and astroparticle physics and experimental techniques. They can also choose from a wide range of courses offered by VU Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. 

Online study guide 
Check the online study guide for more detailed information about the curriculum and the research opportunities.

Participating research institutes

Subdepartment of Particle and Astroparticle Physics   
National Institute for Subatomic Physics (Nikhef)

Contact

Dr. Henk-Jan Bulten 
E-mail: h.j.bulten@vu.nl 
Phone: +31 (0)20 598 7902 

In the two-year track Physics of Life and Health in the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy, a joint degree with the Universiteit van Amsterdam , you will use the language of physics to explore the secrets of life processes. Supported by the cutting-edge technologies available in our laboratories and by a series of theoretical classes delivered by our enthusiastic staff members, you can dive into the fascinating world of DNA unfolding, protein function, cell mechanics, tissue engineering, and organ function. You will learn about photonics and its use in the development of new imaging techniques; or you can choose to deepen  your knowledge in the application of physics in the area of biomedical imaging and therapy, in close collaboration with the medical doctors of the two academic medical centers of Amsterdam. After this programme, you can continue an exciting career in an academic research institute, apply for a post-graduation training to become a clinical physicist, work in hospitals, schools, or the private sector.

Is Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam the track for me?
If you enjoy working in a multidisciplinary environment where you are challenged to bridge fundamental physics and life sciences, Physics of Life and Health is the track for you. Building on your previous knowledge in mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, quantum mechanics, and mathematics, in the first year you will attend a series of classes that will strengthen your physics background while expanding your knowledge in life related topics. In the second year, you will choose the subject of your research internship, where you will have the opportunity to work side by side with leading research professionals. Thanks to the extended number of collaborating institutes, we can offer internships in all the areas of Physics of Life and Health, from single molecule to patients, from very fundamental to bed-side.
What does Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam have to offer me?
The track Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam is unique in that it involves leading research groups from the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Amsterdam, as well as the two academic hospitals (AMC and VUmc) and other research institutes in Amsterdam, including

  • the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
  • the Netherlands Cancer Institute
  • the Amsterdam Movement Sciences Institute
  • the Academic Center of Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA).

Thanks to this broad network, we can offer you the opportunity to learn what it is like to work in multidisciplinary research teams where physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers and medical professionals come together to further develop and improve the underlying physical principles, theories and methods for, for instance:

  • Quantitative functional monitoring and imaging of living tissue
  • Biomedical imaging, molecular and cellular biophysics and photonics
  • Diagnosis and monitoring (such as optical coherence tomography and magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Research in molecular and cellular biophysics (such as single-molecule fluorescence, optical tweezers, stimulated emission depletion microscopy and femtosecond spectroscopy)

Joint degree programme with VU University Amsterdam
Physics of Life and Health is a track in the Master programme Physics and Astronomy – a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Courses are taught at locations of both universities. UvA and VU jointly issue a degree certificate in Physics and Astronomy to graduates. As a Physics and Astronomy student in Amsterdam, you will benefit from expertise, networks, and research projects at both universities and affiliated research institutes.

For more information on the study program and on how to apply, please visit:

http://gss.uva.nl/future-msc-students/exact-sciences/content9/physics-of-life-and-health.html

Contact
Prof. dr. Davide Iannuzzi
E-mail: d.iannuzzi@vu.nl
Phone: +31 20 59 87577

Scientific research in the field of energy and sustainability is of utmost importance to ensure a sustainable society. The specialization Science for Energy and Sustainability is a broad, interdisciplinary specialization, covering topics from both physics and chemistry. This specialization trains you to provide sustainable solutions to the current pressing global situation with regard to energy, climate and sustainability. Besides your scientific involvement in the development of new technological solutions to these problems, you will also be trained in analysing the societal context of global developments in this field.

PROGRAMME

The program consists of a 12 EC core programme, 24 EC restricted choice, a 6 EC literature thesis and a 60 EC research project. The research project may be divided into a major project and a minor project. In addition, 6 EC academic skills and 12 EC of free choice are included in the programme. The programme has been designed to accommodate a student influx of various backgrounds, and to enable conferral of a physics or a chemistry character in keeping with the requirements of VU and UvA Physics and Chemistry exam committees.

Updated 27/1/2015

Year 1 (60 EC)

Core programme, 12 EC

Period 3: Current Sustainable Energy Technologies

Period 6: Project Sustainable Future 


Restricted choice, 24
 EC, choose 4 courses from this list:

Period 1

BioSolar Cells 

Energy Materials 

Environmental Chemistry ) 

Green Chemistry 


Period 2

Energy and Climate Change; Science, Policy and Economics 

Open Innovation in Science and Sustainability 

Management of Sustainable Innovation 


Period 3: (year 2): Heterogeneous Catalysis  


Period 4 

Catalysis for Sustainable Energy       

Photovoltaics 


Period 5 

Homogeneous catalysis 

Organic Photovoltaics 

Photosynthesis for Energy 

Free choice/deficiency, 12 EC (all-year round)

The 12EC free choice can be used to fulfil specific requirements (e.g. physics students can do 12 EC courses in physics to allow a research project in physics). This programme will be carefully chosen after consultation of the master programme coordinator.

Generic to the MSc physics: Literature thesis

Period 1-6: Literature thesis 6

Academic Skills, 6 EC (all-year round, depending on schedule course)

Year 2 (60 EC)

Period 1-6: Research project / MSc thesis 60

The research project can be split into a major and minor project that add up to 60 EC.

Master Programme Coordinators

Physics: Dr. Raoul Frese (VU, r.n.frese@vu.nl); Chemistry Prof. Dr. Bas de Bruin (UvA, b.debruin@uva.nl) and Dr. Chris Slootweg (VU, j.c.slootweg@vu.nl)

CAREER PERSPECTIVES

The program trains you to become an independent researcher in the emerging field of energy and sustainability, which is essential for advancing the sustainable development of our society. After graduation you are qualified to pursue a PhD degree. 

You are also well equipped to pursue a career as a chemist or physicist in industry, such as Shell, ECN, energy start-ups. Your broad education enables you to participate in advisory and policy functions of companies and governments with respect to science, energy and sustainability matters.   

CONTACT

Dr. Raoul Frese 
Phone: +31 20 598 7263 
E-mail: r.n.frese@vu.nl

The work of theoretical physicists has captured people's imagination for many generations. We need only mention such names as Maxwell, Einstein, Bohr, Feynman and Hawking. This fascination is in part due to the fundamental nature of questions it seeks to answer:

  • What is the nature of space and time?
  • What is matter made of?
  • How does matter behave in extreme circumstances?
  • What are the fundamental forces of nature?
  • Can physical principles explain the organization and dynamics of complex, living systems?

In order to address such questions, mathematical descriptions need to be explored and developed. This makes present-day theoretical physics an advanced subject that requires a high level of conceptual and technical sophistication. It’s a challenging but exciting field of study. 
This track is offered in collaboration with the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA).

Programme outline

Theoretical Physics offers a wide range of advanced courses in all aspects of the field. Extensive training in areas such as quantum field theorystatistical physics and condensed matter theory forms the backbone of the Master’s programme. In addition students can take optional physics and mathematics courses, such as string theorycomputational methodsquantum opticsgroup theorygeneral relativity, and, nonlinear dynamics and chaos. At the same time, seminars and other informal meetings give students a taste of the original creative and imaginative spirit of the field, and train them in the craft of explaining things to others ("If you can't explain it, you don't understand it"). 

Online study guide 
Check the online study guide for more detailed information about the curriculum and the research opportunities.

Contact

Dr. Greg J Stephens 
Email: g.j.stephens@vu.nl 
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GregStephensProfile/about

MSc Track Theoretical Physics in Amsterdam

Admission and application

Important notice for Dutch students in the application procedure (Studielink)
Please note that starting in 2016-2017 the Master’s programme Physics and the Master’s programme Astronomy & Astrophysics have merged into the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy.

Specific requirements master’s programme
Important: All students must contact the programme coordinator of the specific specialization.

  • Students from the Netherlands
    Students have unconditional admission to the Master’s programme in Physics if they have a Bachelor’s degree in Physics (and Astronomy) from a Dutch university. The Examination Board may also admit students who do not meet these requirements. In those cases the Board will decide whether there are deficiencies that have to be made up for during the programme.
    Once you have been admitted to a Master’s programme, you need to contact the programme coordinator for an introductory interview. At this meeting, you will discuss strategies for coping with any problems that might cause you to fall behind with your studies. You will also draw up a study plan, a copy of which will be sent to the study advisor. In the Master's programme, you will have to decide which courses (general, specialized and optional) you wish to take. It is essential that you discuss these choices at an early stage with the coordinator of the programme in which you will carry out your final project. Options other than those listed may also be possible.
  • Students from abroad
    The Examination Board can admit students on the basis of a diploma (Dutch or foreign) which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. These students are also required to demonstrate a sufficient command of English.

Pre-Master’s programme and assessment
Applicants who are not eligible for admission to the Master’s programme may be eligible for admission to a pre-Master's programme (60 credit points maximum) to bring their knowledge up to Master's entry level. If the pre-Master’s is not enough, the applicant is advised to take a Bachelor’s programme in Physics. In such cases, students can often obtain exemptions from certain parts of the Bachelor’s programme. Other opportunities are open to Dutch higher professional (HBO) graduates who wish to join the Education profile of the Master’s programme in Physics.

Application procedure

Dutch students can follow the application procedure here.

Admission to a Master’s programme: the Bachelor-before-Master rule
The Bachelor-before-Master rule (‘harde knip’) is applied to all VU programmes since 1 September 2013. This means that you can only start a Master’s programme on 1 September 2015 if you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree. Uncompleted Bachelor’s subjects are not permitted if you want to start a Master programme.

What does this mean now for students?
You may have to adjust your study plan. For example, if you’re planning a semester abroad in the first semester of the academic year 2015-2016, and you would like to start the following Master’s programme in September 2016, please note that every part of the Bachelor’s study programme has to be completed – not only the compulsory parts of the programme. Other (short) interruptions of your study programme can also have an effect on your ability to proceed onto a Master’s programme. If the Bachelor’s programme is not fully completed, you cannot start the Master’s programme until the start of the next academic year. Take this into account when planning your study path! Please contact our faculty’s study advisors when you have any questions.
Physics and Astronomy is a joint degree between the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. All student administration and services for this programme are organized by the University of Amsterdam. Please follow the UvA application procedure for this programme.

VU FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME

VU Amsterdam offers fellowships to promising students through the VU fellowship programme (VUFP). There is a vast number of fellowships available for the 2008/2009 academic year and recipients will be awarded an amount of 5500 euro per year. This amount could cover tuition fee, rent and living expenses.

Application procedure:

  • Prospective students: Outstanding students who have been admitted to the Faculty of Sciences Master’s programmes will be selected automatically as VUFP candidates by the faculty at its own discretion. There is therefore NO application required. 
  • Current students: Students from the Faculty of Sciences who have not been awarded a fellowship through the VUFP programme in their first academic may apply for the fellowship in their second year. Please refer to the terms and conditions below in order to determine if you are eligible for a fellowship, and submit your transcript of records to the International Office for the Faculty of Sciences by 15 April 2008.


Terms and conditions:

  • VUFP will be awarded on the basis of academic merits, i.e., based upon excellent grades obtained at your home university or for current students grades from VU Amsterdam. 
  • The fellowship is applicable for all nationalities, except for Dutch citizens and for those receiving another type of fellowship. 
  • Candidates or recipients are obliged to inform the faculty if another type of fellowship has already been awarded. 
  • If deemed necessary, the faculty reserves the right to terminate the payments of the VUFP fellowship, or request a refund of the funds already disbursed, should the recipient also receive other scholarships that offer full coverage, e.g. an HSP scholarship. 
  • The recipient of the VUFP must have valid student registration with VU Amsterdam for the Master's programme as initially approved by the Examination Board of the Faculty of Sciences. Payment of the VUFP will hence automatically cease if the recipient is no longer a student of the faculty. 
  • Students must meet the following conditions in order to be eligible for the VUFP in their second year. 
    1. Registered as a student of VU Amsterdam with the Faculty of Sciences for the same Master's programme.
    2. Sufficient academic progress, i.e., successful completion of minimum 80% of the first academic year with a grade average of at least 7.
    3. A positive recommendation from the Master’s Coordinator.


Please submit your transcript of records to the International Office for the Faculty of Sciences by 15 April 2009.

Payment:

  • The number of years that the VUFP will be awarded, is dependent on the period of the Master's programme. 
  • The VUFP will be paid in 9 instalments, i.e. the first payment is in September and last payment is in May. 
  • Payments can only be made if the recipient has an active Dutch bank account.

OTHER FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMMES

More information on other fellowship programmes

TUITION FEE LOAN FOR EU-STUDENTS

If you are from an EU member state, pay tuition fees and do not receive another income from a Dutch source that is based on your programme of study, you may be entitled to a loan. Please apply well in advance. For information please contact the Informatie Beheer Groep by telephone (+31 505 997755) or on the internet: www.ib-groep.nl.

LIVING EXPENSES

Information on living expenses

WORKING ALONGSIDE YOUR STUDIES

Dutch students generally have no problem finding a part-time job to help finance their studies. EEA students are allowed to work under EU regulations. EU students with a valid residence permit with the aim to study are allowed to work alongside their studies. Please note that for non-EU students, Dutch employers do need a work permit. Your employer must apply for the work permit at the Centre for Work and Income (CWI) in Zoetermeer. 

For general information on working in the Netherlands: www.nuffic.nl

More job links: 
www.labourmobility.com, knowledge provider on international work issues 
werk.nl, website on working in the Netherlands 
www.undutchables.nl, website of recruitment agency for internationals

For specific questions about the different master’s specializations, please contact any of the people below.

SpecializationContactPhoneEmail
Astronomy and AstrophysicsProf. dr. C. Dominik+31 (0)20-5257477C.Dominik@uva.nl
Advanced Matter and Energy PhysicsDr. Rick Bethlem+31 (0)20 598 7951h.l.bethlem@vu.nlempty
Gravitation and Astroparticle PhysicsDr. Henk-Jan Bulten +31 (0)20 598 7902h.j.bulten@vu.nl 

Physics of Life and healthProf. Dr. D. Iannuzzi+31 (0)20 59 87577d.iannuzzi@vu.nl  empty
Science for Energy and SustainabilityDr. Raoul Frese+31 (0)20 598 7263 
r.n.frese@vu.nl 
Theoretical PhysicsDr. Greg Stephens+31 (0)20 598 7855g.j.stephens@vu.nl

Practical information for international students

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office.

Email: admissionsfs@vu.nl

General information about VU Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

MSc track Gravitation, Astro- and Particle Physics in Amsterdam