Physics and Astronomy

120 credits (MSc, 2 years )

From the Higgs boson to the cosmos, Physics & Astronomy encompasses the fundamentals of modern physics. We provide an open environment where students team up with faculty members to gain knowledge of the known universe and explore the unknown. Chalmers hosts the Onsala Space Observatory and has research connections to many other universities and laboratories. Our research in basic science makes use of the newest technology and may lead to new technical developments.

Programme description

Understanding the basic laws of physics has posed a challenge since the birth of modern science. The area is of great intrinsic interest, and forms the basis for other branches of science. Trying to probe the smallest structures of matter and the largest structures of the Universe also drives the development of new technologies. At Chalmers we are actively engaged in many areas of modern physics and astrophysics:
  • In theoretical particle physics we look beyond the Standard Model and at the possibility for the Higgs boson to be a harbinger of new physics.
  • In experimental nuclear physics we work with international accelerator laboratories like CERN or GSI/FAIR on experiments of key importance for understanding both the microscopic world and astrophysical phenomena.
  • In theoretical nuclear physics we focus on modelling and simulation of stable and unstable isotopes with small numbers of nucleons.
  • In mathematical physics we investigate the cross-fertilization between mathematics and string theory, where abstract mathematical theorems find new applications in physics, and where physical insight has in turn sparked new developments in mathematics. We also investigate the recent applications of string theory to condensed matter.
  • In astrophysics we explore distant stars and galaxies by radio astronomical methods and model galaxy formation by numerical simulations.
  • In geophysics we study the solid earth and its atmosphere.

This programme gives you the opportunity to be part of an intimate environment among active researchers in these fascinating areas of science. As a student you will gain knowledge of fundamental physics and acquire specialised skills in a chosen sub-field of physics or astronomy. You will be able to construct mathematical models or design or conduct experiments in physics and astronomy. In addition, you will gain experience in scientific communication from working in projects.

Educational methods

All of the faculty are engaged in research and we have a high teacher-to-student ratio.
After completing a few core courses, students choose elective courses that prepare them to specialise in theoretical, observational or experimental aspects of astronomy, in mathematical physics, particle physics, subatomic physics or string theory. Students finish the program with a research project that forms the basis for a MSc thesis.

Other Programmes that might interest you

Applied Physics
Materials Engineering
Nuclear Science and Technology
Wireless, Photonics and Space Engineering

Please note that the above schematic view corresponds to the academic year starting in autumn 2015. Minor changes may occur.

Elective courses
Students can choose from a wide range of elective courses, including the following:
  • Relativistic Astrophysics
  • Computational PhysicsQuantum Matter
  • Quantum Informatics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical Physics II
  • Modern Imaging, Spectroscopy and Diffraction Techniques
  • Image processing
  • Remote Sensing

Programme content in detail

You will find the programme content in detail, incl. syllabus and description of the courses for the current year in the Student Portal, the intranet for enrolled students at Chalmers.

Career opportunities

Our graduates’ expertise in problem-solving and in advanced experimental or theoretical techniques is highly valued on the job market. Their research projects also provide valuable experience in collaboration, scientific writing, and presentation of results. The programme is an excellent preparation for an academic career and roughly half of our graduates move on to Ph.D. studies. Others have found positions in industrial research, consulting, product development, management, financial analysis, teaching and research organizations.

Research connections

The programme has close connections to leading labs around the world. Within particle and subatomic physics, these include facilities such as the particle accelerators at CERN and GSI. Within astrophysics, students have access to the Swedish National Facility for Radio Astronomy; Onsala Space Observatory, and to numerous other facilities both on Earth and in orbit. Several large international research facilities are under construction or being planned: the fusion facility ITER (Cadarache, France), which aims to resolve the world’s energy problems by providing a sustainable source of energy, the super-microscope ESS (Lund, Sweden) and the FAIR facility for subatomic physics (Darmstadt, Germany). Astronomers at Onsala Space Observatory helped to conceive the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) and continue to play a leading role in its use.

Department of Earth and Space Sciences
Interviews with Chalmers Doctoral Students

Published: Thu 25 Nov 2010. Modified: Fri 11 Nov 2016