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Physics

How does nature work? How can we use its concepts? By making models and formulating natural laws, we can describe and predict the natural world.

Physics is a 'hard' science: it is concerned with hard figures, precise and pure measurements. These are used to produce models and explain natural phenomena.
The Bachelor's programme in Physics lasts three years. During your first year, you will study basic subjects such as mechanics, special relativity, and electricity & magnetism. You will also take practical courses. During this year, you can choose between four tracks:

- Biophysics & Medical Physics
- Energy & Environmental Physics
- Nanophysics
- Particle Physics

Employability

Physics graduates have excellent opportunities on the job market. You can work as a researcher at a company or an institute, or for example as a consultant, because you will have the analytical skills that are both needed and wanted to solve complicated questions in such environments.

Facts & Figures
Degree
BSc in Physics
Course type
Bachelor
Duration
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
50206
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Science and Engineering
Studie in Cijfers
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • At the University of Groningen you will study under researchers who have gained a worldwide reputation in their field. The linked Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, for example, is ranked in the top 15 of its kind worldwide.
  • The first semester of this programme offers you the opportunity to orientate broadly. You can easily switch to the Bachelor's programme Astronomy after the first semester, or Applied Physics within the first year.
  • The University of Groningen is the only Dutch university who offers a Physics Bachelor's programme in English.
  • Our faculty is the home of the 2016 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Ben Feringa, and the Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Frits Zernike.
Programme
Courses
Electives semester 1: introduction Astronomy; introduction Energy and Environment 1; Medical Physics; Physics of Modern Technology; Physics of Quantum Universe
Electives semester 2: Biophysics; introduction Energy and Environment 2; Nanophysics
Electricity and Magnetism
Heat & Transport
Kaleidoscope Modern Physics
Linear Algebra
Mathematical Physics
Physics Laboratory 1 & 2
Courses
Computational Methods in Science and Technology
Courses within the Track chosen
Electricity and Magnetism 2
Electronics and Signal Processing
Physics, Astronomy, Ethics and Society
Quantum Physics
Structure of Matter 1 & 2
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Various Practicals
Waves and Optics
Courses
Bachelor Project (15 EC)
Courses within Track chosen e.g. Solar Cells, Astroparticle Physics
Minor (depending on the track chosen)

Curriculum

The Groningen science and engineering programmes stand out for their academic excellence. The work pace in the first year is generally high and the courses contents demanding. The first year curriculum concentrates on laying a sound basis for our engineering and natural science disciplines. This allows our students to choose their specialization tracks already in the second half of the first year.

Credits per year: 60 ECTS; most courses are 5 ECTS.

Programme options
Nanophysics (track)

Nanophysics is the study of materials on nano scales (one billionth of a metre).

Some materials are known to have very special properties on these small scales. The application of nanophysics is gaining in importance, for example in processing polluted water into drinking water.

Particle Physics (track)

An introduction to the smallest constituents of materials. It deals with 'fundamental' questions such as Where is anti-matter in the Universe?

You will also study practical applications for nuclear energy and medical applications such as MRI.

Energy & Environmental Physics (track)

This track involves the study of energy consumption, its consequences for the climate and what can be done about this. Physics in its purest form, and at the heart of society.

How are greenhouse gases generated and what effects do they have? How can we make better use of alternative energy sources?

Biophysics & Medical Physics (track)

Biophysics & Medical Physics is a track where you learn how fundamental physics is used to understand life from the nanoscale to the size of humans.

Furthermore, physical techniques for diagnosis and treatment in health care are discussed. For example, how does a CT scan or a PET scan work? What does radiation do, and what are its side effects?

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • Maximum of 30 EC

Exchange: All our science and engineering programmes offer study abroad possibilities at a number of partner institutions. Our partners include top-100 universities in Europe (for example in Germany, UK, and Sweden) and in the USA, China, South-East Asia, and South America. Our exchange programmes have a typical duration of one semester and count toward your final degree.

Entry requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • Cultuur & Maatschappij

    wiskunde B + natuurkunde

  • Economie & Maatschappij

    wiskunde B + natuurkunde

  • Natuur & Gezondheid

    wiskunde B + natuurkunde

  • Natuur & Techniek

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

Een voldoende op je vwo-Engels is aan te bevelen omdat de opleiding Natuurkunde Engelstalig is.

other admission requirements

BEFORE YOU APPLY!

Make sure to visit 'BSc Application Procedure' at: http://www.rug.nl/fwn/fmns-programme/admissions/bsc/ for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

If you apply, you participate in the mandatory matching process of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. More information: https://www.rug.nl/fse/education/matching

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a matching procedure. Attendance is compulsory. The advice is not binding.

  • There is an online questionnaire.

Explanatory notes

Meer informatie over matching: https://www.rug.nl/fse/education/matching

Registration procedure

The Admissions Board will decide whether you can be admitted to the Bachelor's degree programme. Applications are evaluated on a continuous basis. You do not have to wait until the application deadline to apply.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
additional subject

Mathematics and Physics.

This is merely an indication of required background knowledge. The admissions board determines whether the specific contents of this/these course(s) meet the admission requirements of the bachelor programme for which you applied.

language test

Proof of English proficiency is required: TOEFL IBT score of 92, a TOEFL CBT score of 237, a TOEFL PBT score of 580, an IELTS score of 6.5, a CAE or CPE certificate.

MAKE SURE TO VISIT http://www.rug.nl/fwn/fmns-programme/admissions/bsc/language for all the necessary information about required language tests.

previous education

Secondary education equivalent to Dutch pre-university education is required.

This is merely an indication of the required general level of applicants' previous education.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please visit the 'BSc Application Procedure' pages at: http://www.rug.nl/education/international-students/application-procedure/entry-requirements/bachelor-degree-programme

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

https://www.rug.nl/education/tuition-fees-halved

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

Research, advising or teaching… there are many fields open to you! Physics consists of a broad Bachelor's programme, after which you can specialize with a Master's degree programme. You can then pursue a career in business or continue in the academic world.

Business

If you opt for the business sector, you could pursue a career in industry, helping to develop technological innovations. Automation companies also like to employ physicists. The SME sector, consultancy and engineering firms are also increasingly looking for physicists.

Research

Once you have your Master's degree, you could find employment with research institutes such as TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) and the KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute). You can also carry out PhD research at a university.

Not the same as technology

Large organizations such as banks and insurance companies like to employ physicists because of their analytical skills. As a physicist you can formulate a model to describe, predict and solve an issue. This is useful in positions that involve conducting analyses. There was a period during which McKinsey, the global consultancy firm, preferred to recruit only physicists!

Job examples

  • Product developer
  • Technical innovator
  • Researcher
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
Research

Our Bachelor's degree programme in physics is connected to the following research institutes of the University of Groningen.

Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

Basic research on materials is directed towards unravelling the relations between the properties that determine their functionality and their chemical composition and structure. The quest for in-depth understanding of these constitutive relations often leads to unexpected boundaries signifying fundamental gaps in our knowledge. Although the structure-property relationship is in itself a truism, the actual linkage between (micro) structural aspects in a material and its physical/chemical properties is elusive. The reason is that various properties are determined by the collective behaviour of molecules, atoms and electrons and their behaviour may be extremely non-linear on different time and length scales.

The classic materials triangle concerns an integrative approach in the three aspects of structure, property and chemical composition. The Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials adds an extra dimension to this traditional view by an unconventional linkage to the field of biomolecular sciences, which includes the design aspects as well.

Van Swinderen Institute

The aim of the Van Swinderen Institute for Particle Physics and Gravity is to study the fundamental forces of Nature with implications for our Universe. These investigations connect through close similarities in physics from Planck-scale physics (quantum gravity) via sub-atomic scales (particle physics) to cosmic dimensions. There are both theoretical as well as experimental efforts in more specialized topics such as the test of fundamental symmetries and forces, LHC and Beyond the Standard Model physics, holography, string theory and inflation.

ESRIG - Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen

Although ESRIG is a Research Institute, bundling strengths leads to new educational possibilities as well in the Master phase the Energy and Environmental Sciences (EES) programme has been operational for several years, under responsibility of IVEM and CIO. At present, this programme offers two tracks: The IVEM track ("Energy and Environmental Sciences"), and the CIO-track ("Experimental studies of greenhouse gases and climate history"). The IVEM track will be extended by elements of SSG research. The CIO-track will be enforced and broadened by the other experimental groups inside ESRIG.

As ESRIG is the central institute for energy and environmental studies, ESRIG scientists take the lead in both the track design and the actual teaching.

Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute is the department of Astronomy at the University of Groningen. The Kapteyn Astronomical Institute uses the most advanced instrumentation on the ground and in space, as well as the most advanced computing facilities. Kapteyn staff are involved in the operation as well as planning and construction of major astronomical instrumentation efforts, again on the ground and in space. Master students at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute work in research groups which are currently shaping 21st-century astronomy and astrophysics. The Kapteyn Institute has close connections with the two major national foundations dealing with astronomical instrumentation: ASTRON and SRON.

KVI-Centre for Advanced Radiation Technology

The mission of the KVI- Center for Advanced Radiation Technology (KVI-CART) is to perform basic research on subatomic and astroparticle physics and application-driven research on accelerator physics and physics in medicine. We work, in close collaboration with the scientific community, healthcare and industry, on long-term solutions for science and society. Through the development of state-of-the-art detection techniques, KVI-CART fosters the cross-fertilization between basic and application-driven research. KVI-CART educates young researchers in physics and medical technology at BSc, MSc and PhD level.




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Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Physics, please contact:

  • Academic Advisor (For questions regarding the programme)
  • sciencebachelors@rug.nl (For international students who are interested in a Campus Tour or have other practical questions)
    Email: sciencebachelors@rug.nl
  • 
						Testimonial of Machteld Kamminga

    I like the idea of working on an unsolved problem

    – Machteld Kamminga
    Read more

    'I had to write a research proposal as part of a Master's in Nanoscience. I submitted the proposal to NWO and they gave me a grant for my research!

    I work at the interface of Physics and Chemistry, studying perovskite materials which are used in solar cells. We are not sure exactly how they work, which is why we are studying their structural properties. I’m regularly at my desk reading or drawing graphs, but I also use several laboratories on a daily basis to do chemistry experiments, X-ray diffraction or to measure the electrical properties of the material. I also give tutorials and I’m supervising a Master’s student. I like it here; I like the idea of working on an unsolved problem. And we have a close-knit research team; we have lunch together every day.’

    Machteld Kamminga - PhD student at Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

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  • 
						Testimonial of Hedde van Hoorn

    Skills and common sense

    – Hedde van Hoorn
    Read more

    Hedde studied Applied Physics and works for Thaesis, a consultancy in Utrecht. As a strategic advisor, he operates at the interface of the consultancy's various activities. He advises on everything from company transformation processes to mergers and acquisitions. Although this apparently has little to do with physics, he benefits from the analytical skills he learned, as well as a good dose of common sense.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Ceri Richards

    I think I'm getting a far better education than I would at home

    – Ceri Richards
    Read more

    “I would definitely recommend future students from the UK to study abroad! Moving to Groningen was a big step; however, the university and people were very welcoming. When I arrived there was a – very humourful – welcoming ceremony for international students, which helped to introduce me to the university, the city and life in the Netherlands.

    The application process is different to that of England, so that was a bit difficult. Finding an accommodation, on the other hand, was no problem at all. The university recommended me to look early and make use of the Housing Office, which turned out to be really helpful. The university itself is fantastic! My Physics course is difficult but engaging and the lecturers generally speak very good English. I think I'm getting a far better education than I would at home, as the teaching standard here is excellent. The mix of cultures and educational backgrounds is interesting and rarely acts as a barrier. It offers me the chance to see a new culture and all its quirks, something the Dutch culture does not lack!”

    Close
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Study associations

FMF

The FMF is an association for the Bachelor's programmes Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, Applied Physics, Physics, Astronomy and all of the subsequent Master's programmes at the University of Groningen.
The association pursues three objectives. The first objective is that it wants to contribute to the broadening of the scientific education of its members. This is done by organizing various activities in the scientific field, such as study excursions, lectures and symposiums.
https://www.fmf.nl
Read more
(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be issued a study advice at the end of your first year of study. You can expect a positive study advice if you have earned at least 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS; most course units are 5 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative study advice, you will not be allowed to continue your degree programme.

You will receive a preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you are. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system.

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