Master in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences

General

Program Description

How did we get here from the big bang?

What are the laws of nature governing the universe from elementary particles to the development of the solar system, stars and galaxies? In the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, you focus on gaining an extensive understanding of these phenomena. You will also acquire proficiency in the use of mathematical methods, IT tools and/or experimental equipment, as well as strong problem-solving and logical deduction skills. These will qualify you for a career in research or for a wide range of positions in the private sector.

Studying

With the expertise in basic research that you will gain in the programme, you might pursue a career in research. You will also acquire proficiency in the use of mathematical methods, IT tools and/or experimental equipment, as well as strong problem-solving and logical deduction skills. These will qualify you for a wide range of positions in the private sector.

Why Particle Phys­ics and As­tro­phys­ical Sciences?

After completing the programme, you will:

  • Have wide-ranging knowledge of particle physical and/or astrophysical phenomena.
  • Have good analytical and computational skills and the ability to make sophisticated deductions.
  • Be able to apply theoretical, computational and/or experimental methods to the analysis and understanding of various phenomena.
  • Be able to apply your knowledge of particle physical and astrophysical phenomena as well as identify their interconnections.
  • Be able to formulate hypotheses and test them based your knowledge.

Struc­ture, con­tent and study tracks

The scope of the Master’s programme is 120 credits (ECTS), which can be completed in two years. The degree consists of:

  • 90 credits of Master’s studies, including a Master’s thesis (30 credits)
  • 30 credits of other studies from the Master’s programme or other degree programmes

In addition, your studies include a personal study plan as well as career orientation and planning. You might also take part in a traineeship, elective studies offered by the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, or studies offered by other degree programmes.

The Master’s programme includes two study tracks:

  • Elementary Particle Physics and Cosmology
  • Astrophysical Sciences

Courses and teach­ing

Basic research forms the main part of teaching in the Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences. Basic research conducted at the University of Helsinki has received top ratings in international university rankings. The in-depth learning offered by international research groups will form a solid foundation for your lifelong learning.

The programme includes two study tracks: elementary particle physics and cosmology and astrophysical sciences. The courses have been compiled into course packages and both study tracks contain a mandatory core package that includes a research seminar. The study tracks are divided into specialisations that focus on astronomy, space physics, particle physics or cosmology. Courses typically include lectures, exercises, group work and research literature and end in examinations and/or final assignments. In addition, some studies can be completed as book examinations.

Mas­ter's thesis

The Master’s degree programme culminates in a Master’s thesis, which demonstrates your familiarity with scientific thought as well as your command of the necessary research methods, knowledge of your thesis topic and ability to communicate scientifically in writing in accordance with the practices of the scientific community. The scope of the Master’s thesis is 30 credits.

In your thesis you will define and formulate relevant scientific questions, place the research problem in the appropriate context by reviewing the relevant research literature, and answer the research questions using theoretical, numerical, observational and/or experimental methods. You can also complete your thesis as part of a larger research project, provided that your independent input can be clearly verified and assessed. However, you must complete the written component of your thesis independently.

Your thesis project will be supervised by your appointed supervisor, who will meet with you regularly to ensure that your work is progressing on schedule. The target duration of the Master’s thesis project is one term. Many students complete their theses as part of a research group, which enables you to participate in top-level research during your Master’s studies.

International scope and cooperation with other parties

University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Science provide many opportunities for international engagement:

  • Student exchange at one of the destinations available through the Faculty or the University
  • Traineeships in the internationally active research groups give an opportunity to network with the international scientific community during your Master’s studies
  • Master’s thesis project as a member of one of the international research groups operating under the programme or in collaboration with companies or research organisations;
  • International duties in subject-specific student organisations or the Student Union of the University of Helsinki
  • Language courses organised by the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki

The Faculty of Science is a top research institute in its fields among European universities. Its partners include many leading international research institutes, such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). As a student at the Faculty of Science, you will have the opportunity to complete a research traineeship period at, for example, CERN in Geneva.

The programme also cooperates closely with the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP), the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI).

As a student in the Master’s programme, you can complete elective studies in disciplines offered by the Faculty of Science or other faculties at the University of Helsinki. If necessary, you can also complete studies at other Finnish universities under the Flexible Study Right Agreement (JOO). Some of the courses included in the programme, for example, are provided in cooperation with the University of Turku.

Stu­dents and stu­dent life

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active. More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, basic healthcare services, sports facilities and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.

Career

As a graduate from the Master's Programme inParticle Physics and Astrophysical Science, you will have excellent qualifications to continue with postgraduatre studies or for a career in diverse positions outside Academia both in Finland and abroad.

Last updated Aug 2018

About the School

The University of Helsinki offers a wide range of Master’s Degree Programmes, taught entirely in English. The scope of our programmes is 120 ECTS credits, completed with two years of full-time study. ... Read More

The University of Helsinki offers a wide range of Master’s Degree Programmes, taught entirely in English. The scope of our programmes is 120 ECTS credits, completed with two years of full-time study. All programmes comply with the national legislation governing university education and are, therefore, recognised globally. Read less