IMPROVING LIVES BY MAKING STUFF!
In the materials physics track, you will become an expert in research and development of new materials in biomedical or electronic applications. You will work in an active research group together with other students, post-docs and senior researchers on solving problems in e.g. energy efficiency and drug delivery. In addition to a theoretical basis of materials physics, you will also learn to use the state-of-the-art research equipment with hands-on courses.
Materials Physics is one of the four specialization tracks of the Master’s Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences. The other tracks of the programme are Astronomy and Space Physics, Materials Chemistry, and Theoretical Physics. Upon graduation, you will be able to use the diverse set of skills acquired as part of this track, including experimental, theoretical and numerical techniques to produce and analyze new physical projects.
The structure is modular. All modules have 20 ECTS. Each specialization track has two obligatory modules that contain the core material of the field. In addition, there is one thematic module that may be chosen from the other modules offered within this programme or other programmes at the University of Turku. The fourth module consists of freely chosen courses and an obligatory Finnish language and culture course (5 ECTS). An MSc thesis (30 ECTS) in addition to the seminar, internship, and project work (10 ECTS) are also required, details of which depend on the specialization. See figure below.
Examples of different modules in different specializations are:
You can replace the project work by participating in a Capstone project (15 ECTS) organized by the Department of Future Technologies. We recommend this for those students who aim to work in the industry after graduation.
In the theory module, you will learn the theoretical basis of materials physics by attending lectures and doing exercises in courses such as Structural properties of solids, Electrical properties of solids, Magnetism and spintronics, Semiconductors, Organic semiconductors and Surface science.
In the method module, all courses include laboratory work with the state-of-the-art research infrastructure in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. These methods include e.g. X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance. Furthermore, this module includes courses that give you the expertise to build measurement setups. This includes courses in LabVIEW-based programming and building small equipment using Arduino-based electronics.
You are free to choose the thematic module from those offered in the faculty or take a suitable minor subject, even one offered by other faculties. Thematic modules offered by this programme include biomaterials, electronics materials, modelling and functional materials. Possible minor subjects are e.g. computer science, mathematics, chemistry, business creation, and innovation.
In the other studies module, you can choose any courses you want from the entire offering of the university in addition to the obligatory “Finnish for foreigners” course.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE & EXPERIENCE
The aim of the Master’s education is to support you to become an independent expert who can evaluate information critically, plan and execute research projects to find new knowledge and to solve scientific and technological problems independently and as part of a group.
In the University of Turku, the research and teaching of materials physics have as two focal areas bio- and electronic materials. In biomaterials, you can study e.g. pharmaceutical vectors, nanoporous materials in pharmaceutics and dissociation of DNA-molecules under radiation. In electronics materials, possible topics include semiconducting, magnetic and superconducting materials, spintronics and nanocontacts. You will study the physical basis of current and future electronics.
MASTER'S THESIS & TOPICS
The Master’s degree programme includes a compulsory thesis component (30 ECTS), which corresponds to six months of full-time work. The thesis is to be written up as a report based on a combination of a literature review and an original research project that forms the bulk of the thesis.
The thesis is an independently made research project but the project will be carried out under the guidance of leading researchers in the field at the University of Turku. It is expected that the student will be embedded within an active research group or experimental team, thereby providing ample opportunity to discuss results and exchange ideas in a group setting.
Recent examples of thesis titles in materials physics have been:
- Self-organised artificial pinning structure in small-scale YBCO films grown on an advanced IBAD-MgO based template.
- Fabrication and characterization of resistive memories based on Pr6Ca0.4MnO3.
- Photoluminescence of thermally carbonized and wet-oxidized porous silicon.
- Physical and chemical characterization methods for metal powders used for an additive manufacturing process.
- Surface properties of GaN- and AlGaN-semiconductors and their modification.
- Geometric corrections in computed tomography images.
- Mass spectroscopy investigation of fragmentation of uridine and cytidine molecules.
The Master’s Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences has four tracks. A short description of each specialization is given below. You can find more detailed information of tracks from the specific site of each track in this portal (UTU Masters).
The studies of Materials Physics and Materials Chemistry give you an ability to understand and to develop the properties of materials from molecules and nanoparticles via metals, magnetic and semiconducting compounds for pharmaceutical and biomaterial applications. After graduation, you will be familiar with the current methodologies, research equipment and modern numerical methods needed to model properties of materials used in research and technology. Note that there is a sister programme (Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences) with a specialization in medicinal chemistry.
Students specializing in Astronomy and Space Physics can choose among three lines of studies: theoretical astrophysics, observational astronomy and space physics. You will acquire knowledge of various astrophysical phenomena and plasma physics, from Solar system to neutron stars and onto galaxies and cosmology. You will also get hands-on experience with observational techniques, space instrumentation, numerical methods and analysis of large datasets.
In Theoretical Physics you can specialize in various fields at the forefront of European and international research such as quantum technologies, fundamentals of quantum physics, quantum information and optics, quantum field theory and cosmology. You will learn rigorous mathematical and numerical methods to model physical phenomena and solve physical problems with several possible interdisciplinary applications also outside physics. Examples are the studies of complex systems, data science, and machine learning.
The Master of Science degree provides the skills to work in many different kinds of positions within areas such as research and development, education and management, and industry. The Materials Research specialization provides especially good opportunities for working in research and development positions in the field of industrial technology.
During the master’s program in materials physics, you will study the physics of materials, but uniquely in this track, you will get familiar with materials characterization methods with hands-on exercises and courses using state-of-the-art research equipment. In addition, you will also train building and programming measurement equipment. Alternatively, you can choose a more theoretical line and specialize in computer modelling of materials. This will prepare you either for a career in research and development in industry or for a follow-up PhD study.
The prospects for employment at relatively senior levels are excellent for those trained in the physical and chemical sciences. Thanks to the broad scope of the programme, the skills, and knowledge developed as part of this education at the University of Turku provide many employment opportunities in different areas.
Our recent MSc’s work e.g. as quality managers in large companies, R&D engineers in biotech and materials companies, security engineers at nuclear power plants.
CAREER IN RESEARCH
The Master’s Degree provides eligibility for scientific postgraduate degree studies. Postgraduate degrees are doctoral and licentiate degrees. The University of Turku Graduate School – UTUGS has a Doctoral Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences, and covers all of the disciplines of this Master Degree programme. Postgraduate degrees can be completed at the University of Turku. Note that in Finland the doctoral studies incur no tuition fees, and PhD students often receive either a salary or a grant to cover their living expenses. The Master’s programme is a stepping stone for PhD studies.
GENERAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
A Bachelor’s degree that formally qualifies the applicant to access Master’s level studies in the country where it has been completed. This degree should correspond to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to a minimum of three years of full-time study. You must also prove your English language skills when applying. Please visit the website of the programme for more information.
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