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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Applied Physics
Header image Applied Physics

Applied Physics

Do you want to contribute to the development of computer devices that operate like a human brain? Design semi-conductor materials for the high-efficiency solar cells of the future? Or create an anti-icing coating for drones and airplanes? Or fabricate materials that transform waste heat into electricity? Understand why ceramic micro-/nanostructures do not break easily? Make graphene nano-devices for next-generation high-speed electronics?

This Master's programme is the right one for you if you want to focus on materials engineering and device physics. It offers an excellent combination of fundamental research on the one hand, and looking out for possible industrial applications on the other. Teaching and research are embedded in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, which belongs to the best materials research institutes in the world. The international environment of the programme, especially within the research groups, is both inspiring and challenging.

The Master's degree programme in Applied Physics is open to students who already have a solid background in physics or applied physics, and who are eager to expand their knowledge and skills to obtain a Master's degree in a modern applied physics research environment.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Applied Physics
Course type
Master
Duration
24 months (120 ECTS)
Croho code
60436
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Science and Engineering
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • The Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials is ranked in the world's top 15 materials research institutes by the Times Higher Education
  • Gives access to the highly selective HTMS Honours Master
  • Upon successful completion of this Master's degree programme, you will obtain a diploma as Master of Science (MSc.) in Applied Physics (international title). In the Netherlands, you will also be entitled to use the ir. (ingenieur) title
  • Specialises in advanced materials at the renowned Zernike Institute, named after our Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Frits Zernike
  • Nearly all of our graduates find relevant high-level jobs within 3 months after graduating.
Programme

Curriculum

2-year programme; credits per year: 60 ECTS; most courses are 5 ECTS.

For the complete curriculum, please see: https://ocasys.rug.nl/current/catalog/programme/60436

Programme options
General Programme (profile)

The Applied Physics Master's degree programme (totalling 120 ECTS) consists of compulsory and elective courses, followed by an industrial internship and a large, final Master's research project.

The compulsory part of the programme (35 ECTS) comprises advanced physics courses, dealing with state-of-the-art topics in academic and industrial research. The electives (20 ECTS) include one course (5 ECTS) that you choose from a list of Business and Management courses, and three courses (15 ECTS) chosen from a list of courses in applied or theoretical physics, mechanical/electronic engineering, advanced mathematics and chemistry/chemical engineering. The electives, together with the industrial internship (20 ECTS) and the final Master's research project (45 ECTS) offer you the unique opportunity to create a tailor-made programme, based on your own specific interests within Applied Physics.

Through your electives, you can specialize in the specific field in which you want to conduct your Master's research project or take a broader perspective and simply choose courses in the fields that you are interested in. For example, if you want to develop new types of solar cells in your Master's research project, you might choose 'Ultrafast Time-Resolved Spectroscopy' as elective course; if instead you wish to study novel materials for next generation hard disks, you might decide to follow 'Surfaces and Interfaces'. If you want to do your internship within a company that develops soft robots, your choice of electives might include 'Polymer Physics' and 'Mechatronics', while for an internship in a firm producing high-speed single photon counting systems, you might select 'Statistical Methods in Physics'.

Your Master's research project is your own individual project, supervised by one of our high-quality research staff, working at one of the Netherland's most-renowned research institutes, the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ranked in the top 15 of the best materials institutes in the world). Here you can choose from research topics that range from organic solar cells, device nanophysics to materials for data storage, nano- and microelectromechanical systems (NEMS/MEMS), functional coatings and laboratories on a chip.

The Industrial internship is carried out at a research laboratory in industry, within a company or institute in the Netherlands or possibly abroad. Recent hosts include companies like Philips, Photonis, Shell, Thales, research institutes like TNO, the Netherlands Aerospace Centre, Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany or the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado and NGOs like Engineers without borders. The industrial internship highlights the practical approach of the Applied Physics programme through the development of a product or a process, while you operate within a professional team.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is recommended
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 60 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.

Internship: This programme offers you the opportunity to carry out an internship at a company in the Netherlands or abroad. Our choice of industry partners ranges from large multinationals (such as Shell, Philips, Unilever) to dynamic small-medium enterprises in the Groningen area. The internship has a typical duration of 3 to 4 months and counts towards your final degree.

Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Applied PhysicsAll Universities of applied sciences

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 60 EC

More information:

A special programme is available for holders of a Dutch HBO Bachelor's degree. For details, please contact the programme coordinator.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Applied PhysicsAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
PhysicsAll Research universities

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 15 EC

More information:

Indicatie van het schakelprogramma:

  • Device Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Physics of Fluids

Neem contact op met de studie-adviseur voor meer informatie.

AstronomyAll Research universities

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 30 EC

More information:

Indicatie van schakelprogramma:

  • Structure of Matter 2
  • Physics Laboratory 3
  • Electronics and Signal Processing
  • Device Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Physics of Fluids

Neem contact op met de studie-adviseur voor meer informatie.

Physics and AstronomyAll Research universities

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 15 EC

More information:

Indicatie van het schakelprogramma:

  • Device Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Physics of Fluids

Neem contact op met de studie-adviseur voor meer informatie.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Physics and Astronomy (joint degree)University of Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 15 EC

More information:

Indicatie van het schakelprogramma:

  • Device Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Physics of Fluids

Neem contact op met de studie-adviseur voor meer informatie.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Physics and Astronomy (joint degree)VU University Amsterdam

Via a pre-master with a maximum of 15 EC

More information:

Indicatie van het schakelprogramma:

  • Device Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Physics of Fluids

Neem contact op met de studie-adviseur voor meer informatie.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

A universitary Bachelor's degree in Applied Physics, or Physics or Astronomy (to be decided by the admissions board).

Information about admission possibilities and requirements for students from a Dutch HBO institute is published on: https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission.

A special pre-master programme is available for holders of a relevant Dutch HBO Bachelor's degree. In case you have a Dutch bachelor's degree in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics which is not obtained at the University of Groningen, or a relevant Dutch HBO bachelor's degree, please contact the academic advisor.

knowledge minimum

Sufficient English proficiency on VWO level is required.

other admission requirements

BEFORE YOU APPLY Make sure to visit 'MSc Application Procedure' at https://www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

SCHOLARSHIPS


In cooperation with ASML our Applied Physics degree accept students with an ASML scholarship. ASML is one of the world's leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. The €5000 p/y scholarship is awarded every year to 25 exceptional students, who additionally will get the chance to become a Technology Ambassador within their scholarship period. https://www.asml.com/en/careers/students-graduates/asml-scholarship/netherlands#scholarship-details

Registration procedure

The Board of Admissions will decide whether you can be admitted to the Master's degree programme. The Board may decide that you have to take supplementary courses or follow a bridging programme before being admitted.

Please fill out this checklist to describe why you are applying for this Master's degree programme (questions to be addressed are outlined in the form).

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202401 September 2024
15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

A Bachelor's degree in (Applied) Physics. Students from related fields such as Astronomy might also qualify.

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

additional subject

The Admissions Office will advise the Board of Admissions on your application, after which the Board will decide if you meet the admission requirements in terms of general level of previous education and specific background knowledge. Applications are evaluated on a continuous basis. You do not have to wait until the application deadline to apply.

Make sure to visit 'MSc Application Procedure' at: http://www.rug.nl/fse/programme/admissions/msc/ for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

language test

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

other admission requirements

BEFORE YOU APPLY Make sure to visit 'MSc Application Procedure' at www.rug.nl/fse/msc-admission for all the necessary information about the procedure and admission requirements.

SCHOLARSHIPS


ASML Scholarship: ASML is one of the world's leading manufacturers of chip-making equipment. The €5000 p/y scholarship is awarded every year to 25 exceptional students, who get the chance to become a Technology Ambassador within their scholarship period. More information can be found here: https://www.asml.com/en/careers/students-graduates/asml-scholarship/netherlands#scholarship-details

Registration procedure

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

Please fill out this checklist to describe why you are applying for this Master's degree programme (questions to be addressed are outlined in the form).

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202401 September 2024
15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
15 October 202401 February 2025
01 May 202501 September 2025
15 October 202501 February 2026
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2023-2024€ 2314full-time
non-EU/EEA2023-2024€ 20700full-time
EU/EEA2024-2025€ 2530full-time
non-EU/EEA2024-2025€ 24200full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Nearly all of our graduates find relevant high-level jobs within three months after graduating. The majority of alumni of recent cohorts continued their careers as R&D engineers in an industrial or entrepreneurial environment with job qualifications like product & process development engineer at Johnson & Johnson, design engineer at ASML, project leader at Philips, R&D scientist at Photonis, data scientist at Shell, metrology engineer at FMI Industries, just to name a few.

About 30% of the alumni go on to do a PhD Research Project in the Netherlands (University of Groningen, TU Eindhoven, Erasmus Medical Center) or abroad (KU Leuven, University of Cambridge, Victoria University in Wellington).

Other alumni go on to become a teacher, consultant, analyst, or entrepreneur.

Job prospects

The Master's degree programme in Applied Physics is primarily meant for students who want to become researchers and developers in an industrial environment. Most of our graduates find immediate employment in industry, sometimes in the same company where they have done their Industrial Internship.

The alumni in industry often work as engineers or R&D scientists (ASML, Philips, Lambert Instruments, Thales, etc.) but also in the ICT sector of very different companies, including ABNAMRO, KPN, Deloitte, and others go into consulting (Ecofys, Witteveen & Bos). Next to industry our graduates also often continue on to a PhD project after obtaining their Master's degree, to specialize further in a specific research topic, either in Groningen or elsewhere.

During the Master's degree, teamwork, communication and presentation are important qualities to be developed. In many cases considerable IT skills are developed as well. These general competences, together with the analytical skills typical of researchers, for example problem-solving abilities, guarantee that graduates are widely employable. Most applied physicists find jobs in an entrepreneurial environment where a strong background in physics is necessary.

Job examples

  • R&D in an industrial or entrepreneurial environment
  • PhD Research Project
Research

Get involved in Top Research at the Zernike Institute - Ranked high in the THES World's top 15

Applied physics research at the University of Groningen is embedded in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials and focuses on materials engineering and device physics. There are six main research groups in these fields.

Materials Science

The principal aim of the research programme of the Materials Science group is to search for the relation between the microstructure of materials and its physical properties. The programme concentrates on experimental and theoretical work of the characterization of line defects (dislocations and disclinations) and homo-/heterophase interfaces so as to draw conclusions about the correlation between atomic structure, electronic charge transfer, and physical properties, both structural and functional.

Micromechanics

The mission of this research group is to develop new models and computational tools for the micromechanics of (bio)materials, and to employ these to develop relationships between the internal structure of a material and its mechanical properties. We study (bio)materials and biological processes at a range of length scales, placing special emphasis on multiscale modelling and scale transitions. We cover a wide variety of biological and engineering systems, considering and exploiting the similarities and differences in their behavior.

Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces

The aim of this research group is to investigate the relation between the nanostructure and functional properties of materials. Our research focus is on material structures, surfaces/interfaces, and surface interactions at the nanoscale, including phase change materials, nanoclusters/nanoparticles, nanoresonators, surface forces, friction, and adhesion. Experimental facilities include scanning probe, scanning electron, and transmission electron microscopy. Applications of our research are connected with hydrogen storage, novel NEMS devices and phase change memories.

Photophysics and Opto-electronics

Our group aims to develop novel materials for solar cell and microelectronics applications. The materials we work on have in common that they are solution processable. This property holds the promise of cheap production methods with a low energy demand. Our research focuses on the properties of organic semiconductors and organic/organic interfaces and their application in optoelectronic devices, the physical and optoelectronic properties of carbon nanotubes and hybrid systems, and fabrication of hybrid optoelectronic devices composed by inorganic nanocrystals and organic molecules.

Physics of Nanodevices

We explore new physical phenomena that occur in electronic and opto-electronic device structures with nanoscale dimensions. The dynamics of such devices is often quantum mechanical in nature, but much richer than the dynamics of isolated atoms due to interactions with the solid-state environment. Our research investigates this quantum dynamics, and aims to apply it for new device functionalities.

Device Physics of Complex Materials

Device physics contributes to our present knowledge of emergent behaviour of complex materials and probes its properties by making use of modern experimental tools and techniques based on nanotechnology. Emergent behaviour is prevalent in many complex materials and originates from competing interactions of electronic, magnetic and structural origin.

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Contact

  • Academic Advisors FSE (For questions regarding the programme)
  • newsletter (Sign up for our monthly newsletter!)
  • studyscience@rug.nl Study Science (For students who are interested in a Campus Tour or who have other general questions)
    Email: studyscience rug.nl
  • 
						Testimonial of Larissa van de Ven

    The programme offers up-to-date knowledge on recent research topics and hands-on experience, which allows you to gain practical skills and to learn to work in teams.

    – Larissa van de Ven
    Read more

    Larissa van de Ven – Student in MSc Applied Physics

    While learning about physical principles describing the natural world around us during my BSc Physics, I became increasingly curious about how recent technological innovations are rooted in these physical principles. Therefore, I chose to do the MSc Applied Physics. The programme offers up-to-date knowledge on recent research topics and hands-on experience, which allows you to gain practical skills and to learn to work in teams. Moreover, there are possibilities to focus more on nanophysics, photophysics, quantum physics, biophysics, or mechanics through electives and your master's thesis.

    In addition, the internship that is part of the programme provides a good way of experiencing what it is like to work in industry before choosing your first job. I did an internship abroad in Berlin, at a start-up company that develops lithium-sulfur batteries and mainly worked on the characteristics of the cathode. Through previous practical experience within my master thesis on solar cell development, I attained already a lot of general research skills and material fabrication and characterization skills, which helped me through my internship.

    The aim to move to renewable energies, to store energy, and to develop energy storage and generation in an environmentally friendly and ethical way are big societal challenges. My master thesis and internship thus showed me how I contribute to society, which is an important aspect for me. Lastly, I have seen how research groups work in an interdisciplinary way (physicists, electrical/mechanical engineers, chemists, mathematicians, AI scientists) to get innovations solving these challenges from the ground. This has been very motivating.

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Study associations

T.F.V. Professor Francken

T.F.V. 'Professor Francken' is the study association for students of Applied Physics at the University of Groningen
The association is named after Groningen's first-ever professor of Applied Physics and focuses on students and staff from the applied physics departments. The association has more than 900 members and organizes annual events including a symposium, company excursions in the Netherlands, to see what students can do after their studies, and a foreign trip. Next, the association organizes more informal activities, such as regular drinks and parties.
https://professorfrancken.nl/association
Read more