Master in Physics

Physics and Astronomy 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.

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.

The program in a nutshell

The Master’s program in Physics and Astronomy is a two-year program 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 program 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.
You can choose one of the following tracks:

  • Advanced Matter and Energy Physics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Gravitation, Astro- and Particle Physics
  • Physics of Life and Health
  • Science for Energy and Sustainability
  • Theoretical Physics

Career prospects

Our graduates are employed by research institutes like the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). But they also find careers with major multinationals like Shell and Philips, and with telecommunications companies and banks. The public sector likewise offers opportunities, as do software houses and consultancies. If you choose the Research profile, you can become an assistant or trainee researcher at a university and work towards a Ph.D.

Admission requirements

The requirements are split up into Masters’ specialization specific requirements and general requirements.

Specific requirements master’s program
Important: All students must contact the program coordinator of the specific specialization.

  • Students from the Netherlands
    Students have unconditional admission to the Master’s program in Physics if they have a Bachelor’s degree in Physics (and Astronomy) from a Dutch university. The Examination Board may also admit students who do not meet these requirements. In those cases, the Board will decide whether there are deficiencies that have to be made up for during the program.

  • Once you have been admitted to a Master’s program, you need to contact the program coordinator for an introductory interview. At this meeting, you will discuss strategies for coping with any problems that might cause you to fall behind with your studies. You will also draw up a study plan, a copy of which will be sent to the study advisor. In the Master's program, you will have to decide which courses (general, specialized and optional) you wish to take. It is essential that you discuss these choices at an early stage with the coordinator of the program in which you will carry out your final project. Options other than those listed may also be possible.

  • Students from abroad
    The Examination Board can admit students on the basis of a diploma (Dutch or foreign) which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. These students are also required to demonstrate a sufficient command of English.

Pre-Master’s program and assessment

Applicants who are not eligible for admission to the Master’s program may be eligible for admission to a pre-Master's program (60 credit points maximum) to bring their knowledge up to Master's entry level. If the pre-Master’s is not enough, the applicant is advised to take a Bachelor’s program in Physics. In such cases, students can often obtain exemptions from certain parts of the Bachelor’s program. Other opportunities are open to Dutch higher professional (HBO) graduates who wish to join the Education profile of the Master’s program in Physics.

General language proficiency requirements

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.

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Last updated October 26, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
2,083 EUR
for EEA students. €14.630 for non-EU/non-EEA students.
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