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For information on courses and requirements of each specialisation, please follow the links below. Please note that these are based on the Education and Examination Regulations for 2018-2019.

The Master Physics programme consists of the specialisations mentioned below.
A more detailed overview of the programme structure of each specialisation can be found in the Course and Examination Regulations (right menu).
For information on courses and requirements of each specialisation, please follow the links below:

Research Specialisations
Biological and Soft Matter Physics
Casimir pre-PhD
Quantum Matter and Optics
Theoretical Physics

Interdisciplinary Specialisations
Physics and Education
Physics and Business Studies
Physics and Science Communication and Society

For questions contact the Study Advisor Physics, Hara Papathanassiou

First semester courses 2019-2020

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Advanced Optics 6
Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics I: 6
Biophysics 6
Complex network (BM) 6
Condensed Matter Physics 6
Effective Field Theory 3
Frontiers of Measurement Techniques 3
Imaging Systems (Delft) 6
Origin and Structure of the Standard Model 3
Quantum Information 3
Quantum Theory 6
Soft and Biomatter Theory 6
Statistical Physics a 6
Statistical Physics b 3
Theory of General Relativity 6

Second semester courses 2019-2020

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Academic and Professional Skills (Science) 3
Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics II: 6
Applied Quantum Algorithms 6
Black Holes and Gravitational Waves 3
Computational Physics (3 EC) 3
Computational Physics (6 EC) 6
Mechanical Metamaterials 6
Molecular Electronics 6
Particle Physics and Early Universe 3
Quantum Field Theory 6
Quantum Optics 6
Single Molecule Optics 6
Surface Science (SUS) 6
Theory of Condensed Matter 6
Theoretical Biophysics 6
Topics in Theoretical Physics: 6

MSc Research Projects

Admission requirements
Depending on their specialization, students do one of two MSc research projects in their second study year. Students can only start their research project when they are on track, i.e., when they have acquired close to 60 ECs of their MSc Physics program. In exceptional cases, student can also start a project after half a year of study. Master's Research Project can only be started in consultation with the Physics study advisor.

The Master's Research Project is an integral and vital part of your training as an Physics master's student at Leiden University. During a period of typically 4-9 months, you engage in state-of-the-art research at LION, the Physics Institute of Leiden University. You will be supervised by a scientific staff member and hosted in a research group, where you will participate in new or ongoing research, regular group meetings, seminars, and other activities. Each Master's Research Project is concluded with a Master's Thesis and a Student Colloquium.

Each project must be approved by the Study-advisor beforehand, to check among others that it fulfills the following requirements (which differ per MSc Physics specialization):

MSc Biological and soft matter physics: (2 projects: 24EC & 36 EC) or MSc Quantum Matter and Optics (2 projects: 24EC & 36 EC):

  • One of the two projects must be done at LION; the second project is generally also done at LION but can be at a research institute outside LION, provided that it offers research at an academic level and is monitored by a LION staff member as second supervisor.
  • The two projects must have different supervisors;
  • The 36 EC project must be a fully experimental project;
  • The 24 EC project can be either experimental or theoretical, but if so it must have a tangible connection to experiment. This means either (a) partly (>15%) experimental, (b) modelling/design of an experiment (c) performed as part of team where data is generated and analysed interactively.
  • Data analysis or theoretical physics may be part of the project, but the essence/main goal must be BSM or QMO physics.

MSc Theoretical Physics (1 project: 48EC)

  • The project can be either fully theoretical or theoretical/experimental, but if so it must be for the major part (>70%) theoretical.
  • Data analysis may be part of the project, but the essence/main goal must be physics.

MSc Cosmology (2 projects: 30 EC & 30 EC)

  • Both projects must be in Cosmology
  • The combination of the two projects must cover three aspects: theory, numerical modelling and data analysis;
  • The two projects have different supervisors and one project must be done at LION.
  • Occasionally the two projects can be combined into one with one supervisor, with special permission from the Cosmology coordinator (Ana Achucarro), provided it is supervised at LION;

MSc Casimir Pre Phd (2 study projects 8 EC; 1 research project 36EC):

  • The projects must always be pre-approved by the Casimir coordinator (Luca Giomi).
  • The 2 study projects must have different supervisors
  • One of the 2 study projects must be experimental, the other must be theoretical/mixed theoretical-experimental
  • The 36 EC research project can be either experimental or theoretical or mixed theoretical-experimental.
  • The 8 EC study projects in the Casimir pre-PhD specialization receive one combined grade for the research and presentation (oral or written or both).
  • Occasionally a theoretical research project can be a continuation of the theoretical study project and combined into one 44 EC research project, with special permission from the Casimir coordinator (Luca Giomi).
  • Data analysis may be part of the project, but the essence/main goal must be physics.

MSc Science Based Business or MSc Science Communication and Society (1 physics project, 1 internship):

  • The physics project must be done at LION;
  • The project can be either experimental or theoretical;
  • Data analysis may be part of the project, but the essence/main goal must be physics.

Course objectives

The goal of the Master Research Project is to learn to conduct scientific research independently. At its core this involves exploring and analyzing a physics-related problem experimentally, theoretically or both, following the principles of scientific research: comprehension of previous results, hypothesizing consequences and testing these to verify. A crucial intrinsic part of research is reporting the results and presenting the conclusions.

This means that after this project you will be able to:
• Perform independent and accurate research, according to methodological and scientific standards
• Interpret the results in an objective way, linking your research question to a scientific conclusion
• Analyze the outcomes of your research compared to directly related scientific results
• Indicate the relevance of your research in the larger scientific context
• Critically reflect on your own research work
• Comprehensibly report your research results in writing
• Present your research results orally in a public presentation

Soft skills
The Master Research Project also strengthens the development of a number of behaviour-oriented skills. After the project, you will be able to:
• Collaborate within a research group, contributing to its scientific momentum
• Plan your research activities realistically and deliver expected products before deadlines
• Work with a high degree of autonomy, even accepting responsibility in (project) planning and management.
• Professionally respond to feedback and incorporate the feedback into the research by adapting your practices.
• Listen carefully and present difficult ideas and complex information in a clear and concise manner to a professional as well as to lay audiences.

Furthermore, the research project will stimulate your independent thinking and your ability to search for creative and original solutions and thereby enhance your auto-didactic abilities.

Assessment method
The EC-weight of the associated grading depends on your specialization:
• Theoretical Physics: 1 x 48 EC project
• QMO or BSM: 24 EC project + 36 EC project
• Cosmology: 2 x 30 EC project
• Casimir pre-PhD: 1 x 36 EC project (+ several smaller projects)
• SBB/SCS/EDU: 1 x 36 EC project

The grading of the 48 EC theory project is divided as: 36 EC research + 8 EC thesis + 4 EC presentation. The grading of the other research projects are divided as 36=30+4+2, 30=25+4+1 and 24=20+3+1 (see OER).

Practical information

  • Relevant information on procedures and forms for the registration, assessment etc.can be found on the master's research projects page on the Physics student's website
  • For general questions or in case of problems during your research that you would prefer to discuss confidentially, contact our Physics study advisor Hara Papathanasiou located in room 201 of the Huygens building.

Course Level

Level indication

The level of an individual course is indicated with a number ranging from 100 to 600 as follows:

  • Level 100
    Introductory course; no course prerequisites
    Intensive supervision, textbooks in Dutch, guided work groups, etc
    Mostly first year courses, some second year (bachelor’s)

  • Level 200
    Introductory course; no specific course prerequisistes
    Independent study techniques required, books in English may be used
    Mostly second year courses, some first year (bachelor’s)

  • Level 300
    Course for advanced students; course prerequisites at level 100 or 200
    Books in various languages (only if relevant)
    Examinations test the student’s skills in applying acquired knowledge and insights into new problems

  • Level 400
    Specialised course; course prerequisites at level 200 or 300
    Books mostly in languages other than Dutch; extensive use of scientific articles
    Examination may include a small research project, an oral report, or written papers
    Third year bachelor’s or first year master’s course

  • Level 500
    Master course: scientifically oriented course
    Course prerequisites at level 300/400
    Scientific advanced specialist/professional literature

  • Level 600
    Master course: very advanced scientific course with as prerequisite a level 400/500 course
    Latest developments in scientific field
    Examination consists of a contribution to an unsolved problem, with an oral presentation