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Masters in Physics & Astronomy (Joint Degree)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Program overview
2 years
Full time
Master's degree
Virtual open day
Virtual open day
Start dates
September 2021

September 2022

September 2023

Program description

Masters in Physics & Astronomy (Joint Degree)

The Master’s program gives you wider knowledge and a deeper understanding of physics as a whole, and the opportunity to specialize in a specific area. The specializations offered range from Fundamentals of particle physics, Advanced Matter and Energy Physics to Physics of Life and Health. You will take core courses in your chosen specialization, plus a number of optional subjects. These options can be general physics subjects or courses drawn from another specialization. In your second year, you will join one of the research groups for your Master’s project and write a Master’s thesis. In addition to your specialization, you can choose between various professional profiles which emphasize research, communication, education or executive and management skills. Physics and Astronomy is a joint degree program 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.

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 program in Physics 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 program in Physics gives you the opportunities to deepen your knowledge and engage in groundbreaking fundamental research.

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

  • Advanced Matter and Energy Physics;
  • Biophysics and Biophotonics;
  • Gravitation, Astro- and Particle Physics;
  • Particle and Astroparticle Physics;
  • Science for Energy and Sustainability;
  • Theoretical Physics.

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Admission requirements

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. 

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Program content

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.

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)

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university.

The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.

Tuition fees

  • Tuition fee for EU: € 1,084
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 14,026


MSc in Physics and Astronomy

Continuing studies

Career prospects

A Master’s degree in Physics and Astronomy provides a solid steppingstone to a variety of career paths. You can pursue a career at a research institute, a major multinational, a telecommunications company or a bank. Other opportunities can be found in the public sector, software houses and consultancies.

You can also choose to continue your research at PhD level.

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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