Physics, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Sign up for informationWould you like to be at the forefront of technological innovations? Do you want to contribute with scientific solutions to the known and unknown challenges of the future? The master's programme in Physics at Chalmers will give you extensive training in modern physics.

Physics master's programme at Chalmers

In this programme, you will be able to identify and explain general aspects of physics that are integral to applications in engineering and natural sciences. Furthermore, you will be able to identify relevant theoretical, computational, and experimental methods and apply these to problem-solving across a wide range of disciplines or multi-disciplinary fields.

The master's programme in Physics is intended for those who have a strong interest in theoretical, computational, and/or experimental aspects of physics and astronomy. In short, theory provides models and concepts that can explain and predict experimental observations. The use of computers allows for numerical computation of the fundamental laws of physics and the use of advanced techniques, in for example: machine learning and quantum computing.

T​he new specialization profile in quantum technology that starts in autumn 2022 is developed in close collaboration with the research effort to build a superconducting quantum computer at Chalmers.

Topics range from the subatomic to cosmological scale, covering complex phenomena relevant in, for instance, quantum technology, nanomaterials, and living matter. Further, the programme fosters creative thinking, critical evaluation, and problem-solving/engineering skills grounded in the fundamental principles of the physical world.

In the core courses of the programme, the focus lies in giving you a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of physics, thereby preparing you for a future driven by knowledge and technology. You are recommended to choose two out of five different specializations, namely astronomy, computational physics, high-energy physics, materials science or quantum technology.

Finally, the use of advanced instrumentation, both in-house and at large facilities, like our very own Nanofabrication laboratory, one of the best equipped university cleanrooms in Europe​ and The Onsala space observatory, will give you the in-depth knowledge of material and biological systems, and of distant stars and galaxies.

Topics covered

Topics covered in the master's programme in Physics at Chalmers include atomic simulations, bayesian statistics, biotechnology, continuum modeling, electronic structure, excitons, exoplanets, galaxies, machine learning, metamaterials, materials imaging, nanomaterials, plasmons, quantum computing, quantum field theory, quantum mechanics, quantum technology, spectroscopy techniques, star formation, string theory, the standard model.The subjects of biotechnical physics and computational  science are fundamental areas in the Physics master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as astronomy and materials imaging.

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree . During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of Compulsory courses, Compulsory elective courses and Elective courses.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with three compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Physics. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.

  • Learning from data
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Experimental methods in modern physics​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.

  • ​Master’s thesis

Compulsory elective courses

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in astronomy, computational physics, high-energy physics, material physics, quantum technology or a combination thereof. During year 1 and 2, you need to select at least two compulsory elective courses and four elective courses out of the following in order to graduate.

Profile: Astronomy

​​Compulsory Elective courses
  • Modern astrophysics
Elective courses
  • Stellar physics
  • Interstellar medium and star formation
  • Galaxies and observational cosmology
  • Exoplanets
  • Radio astronomy

Profile: Computational physics

​Compulsory Elective courses
  • Computational physics
Elective courses
  • Computational materials and molecular physics
  • Computational continuum physics
  • Plasma physics with applications
  • Advanced simulation and machine learning
  • Quantum computing

Profile: High-energy physics

Compulsory Elective courses
  • Symmetry
​Elective courses
  • Gravitation and cosmology
  • Quantum field theory
  • Standard model of particle physics
  • String theory

Profile: Material physics

​Compulsory Elective courses
  • Spectroscopy
  • Statistical physics
​Elective courses
  • Fundamentals of hard and soft materials
  • Condensed matter physics
  • Biological and biotechnical physics
  • ​Physics and applications of electromagnetic fields and optical materials
  • Semiconductor materials physics
  • Materials imaging and microanalysis
  • Surface and nanophysics
  • Functional energy materials

Profile: Quantum technology (New profile - starts autumn 2022)

Compulsory Elective courses
  • Quantum computing
​Elective courses
  • Superconductivity and low-temperature physics
  • Quantum optics and Quantum Informatics
  • Superconducting devices
  • Fundamentals of micro and nano-fabrication
  • Modeling and fabrication
  • Open quantum systems
Specialized course
  • Science, innovation and entrepreneurship​

 Programme plan, syllabus course description and learning outcomes​


This master's programme will prepare you for a professional career in the private or public sector, both nationally and internationally. You will acquire a broad insight into the areas of physics that will form the basis for the advanced technologies of today and tomorrow. You will be able to identify and explain general aspects of physics that are integral to applications in engineering and natural sciences.

Our graduates’ expertise in problem-solving and in advanced experimental or theoretical techniques is highly valued in the private or public sector. In addition, the resulting training renders the programme graduates less sensitive to e.g. fluctuations within a particular sector. The master's programme is an excellent preparation for careers in fields that benefit from quantitative and analytical thinking, e.g., industrial research, consulting, teaching, research organizations and an academic career.

Research within Physics

Examples of research activities include the study of string theory, computational methods to understand the atomic and sub-atomic scale, energy-related materials, such as lithium batteries, and materials for specific applications, such as nanoplasmonics, interfaces between biological systems and inorganic structures, and advanced experiments, in which state-of-the-art instruments contribute to an understanding of both the microscopic world and astrophysical phenomena.

The research activities connected to the programme are represented by different Divisions of the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, the Department of Physics and Department of Space, Earth and Environment, but also to several large research centers and,  e.g., Graphene Centre and Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology. The Physics master's programme is also connected to several of the Chalmers Areas of Advance – strengthening the research focus. The Areas of Advance most closely connected to Physics are Energy, Materials Science, and Nanotechnology. Several excellent researchers take an active part as course responsible teachers in the programme.

 Department of Physics ​​​​​​

Sustainable development

This master's programme fosters creative thinking, critical evaluation, and problem-solving/engineering skills grounded in the fundamental principles of the physical world, which is vital to reach several of the sustainable development goals. The programme also connects to the forefront of technological innovations and scientific solutions needed for a sustainable future.

The programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).​ The table below provides an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme.

Goal 4: Quality education
Students will be able to identify relevant theoretical, computational, and experimental methods and apply these to problem-solving across a wide range of disciplines or multi-disciplinary fields. Furthermore, students will be aware of the need for life-long learning.

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Several of the technological and scientific solutions in the energy sector rely on the physical world's fundamental principles. Therefore, students will have a deep understanding of these principles.

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
The programme fosters creative thinking, critical evaluation, and problem-solving/engineering skills needed for the development of technological innovations.

Student interview

It's like having the best of two worlds”
Alicia, Spain, Physics

Why did you choose this programme?
– I’ve always found physics extremely enjoyable due to the challenge it proposed. Problem-solving was always something that piqued my interest, and physics allowed me to pursue and hone this set of skills. To no one’s surprise, when I was introduced to programming during my bachelor’s degree I felt that same kind of affinity, finding a new puzzle worth solving in writing code. Due to all of this, Chalmers’ master's in Physics was the best choice for me. I wanted to pursue my passion for the more theoretical sides of physics, without neglecting my newfound interest in programming. For me, it is like having the best of both worlds! 

What have you been working on?
– I have pursued the High energy physics and Computational physics tracks, which have allowed me to do all sorts of different activities. I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to work with the supercluster Vera in order to solve molecular dynamics problems, as well as build neural networks and learn the intricacies of machine learning. On the more theoretical side, my courses have ranged from cosmology and expansion of the universe to quantum field theory and more mathematically heavy formalism as imparted in symmetry courses. 

What do you like the most about your programme?
– The wide range of knowledge it offers. I believe the amount of different courses the programme offers has allowed me to become much more adaptable when it comes to facing something for the first time, or approaching a problem from a new angle. I have also enjoyed the challenge it has offered me. Pursuing this master's has forced me to explore new sides of the way I study and understand physics and programming. it has taught me a lot in terms of resilience, patience, and at times, sheer stubbornness to push through to find the answer! Overall, a thoroughly worth it experience. 

What do you want to do in the future?
– I am very much in a programming phase at the moment, so this is my current focus for future job opportunities. I look forward to building on my programming skills further while still applying the many useful techniques and critical thinking that physics has taught me. However, I do not completely dismiss the possibility of coming back to a completely physics-based job in the future. It will always be my favourite field of them all, and I can never resist a good physics problem every once in a while. I guess we’ll see as we go along! 

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Tue 05 Jul 2022.