|Degree:||Master of Science|
|Course start:||winter semester/summer semester|
|Course duration:||4 semesters|
|Form of course:||full-time|
|Language of instruction:||generally English, sometimes German|
Due to their many-faceted and comprehensive training, physicists are deployed in many settings. Possibilities range from research and development at universities, research institutions and in industry to positions in the field of information and communication or in management consultancy. To prepare for these jobs, students should build on their Bachelor degree with a research-oriented Master’s which gives them more in-depth specialist knowledge and understanding of the scientific methods of physics along with – depending on the choice of module – insight into neighbouring fields. In addition, the M.Sc. lays the foundations for a possible doctorate.
On the basis of the broad professional opportunities available, the aim is not to achieve extreme specialization in the Physics course, but rather flexibility and scientific self-reliance. Both in research and also in industry, physics graduates are expected to be able to work their way into new fields and to recognize and solve new problems. The Master’s is characterised by a vast freedom of choice. It is very demanding and promotes critical abilities, problem-solving competence and creative thinking in large dimensions. In particular, the one-year research phase integrated into the course is significant here (see Course Structure). In it the Heidelberg Master’s students learn how to do their own research and acquire skills in developing new findings.
Assistance in planning your course is given in the model syllabi in the module handbook, which sets out different pathways with differing orientations by way of example.
The structure of the Heidelberg Master’s programme in Physics is twofold and consists in two semesters for training from lectures, seminars and other classes and a subsequent one-year research phase, in which the Master’s students work independently on projects and learn how to develop new findings. The research phase ends with the Master’s thesis.
The M.Sc. is based on a total of 120 credits. The whole degree course takes four semesters (30 credits per semester). The credits measure the student’s workload for a module; this includes face-to-face teaching, preparation and follow-up and times for possible essays and projects. So one credit corresponds to 30 hours of work. A total workload of about 900 hours is expected per semester. That is only possible by using a substantial part of the lecture-free period between semesters.
Specialisation in Physics:
Final oral examination
One-year research phase:
Table 1: Structure of Master’s programme
The course offering is subdivided into the areas indicated in Table 1. It includes a set of compulsory electives in the Physics programme worth 16 credits, electives to specialize in individual areas of Physics worth 14 credits and electives worth up to 24 credits, in which modules can be freely chosen from neighbouring subjects, from ‘Over-arching skills’ and from other modules from the Faculty’s Physics courses. Another 6 credits are awarded for the final oral examination. The research phase consists of the two compulsory modules “Scientific Specialisation” and “Methods and Project Planning”, worth 15 credits each, and the Master’s thesis worth 30 credits. A summary of the different areas including the module descriptions can be found in the module handbook. See the M.Sc. examination regulations for further details.
- Compulsory electives (16 credits)
This part aims to familiarise students with one or two of the central topic areas of Physics. In all they can choose from two theoretical and five experimental lectures. The modules on offer are:
- Statistical Physics (Theory)
- Theoretical Astrophysics
- Particle Physics
- Physics of Condensed Matter
- Nuclear, Molecular and Optical Physics
- Environmental Physics
- Observational Astronomy
Further details on these modules are found in the module handbook. At least two of these modules must be chosen and successfully completed to obtain the Master’s degree. Modules from the courses completed during the Bachelor programme may be counted; however, then the required credits must be achieved through additional compulsory elective or optional modules in Physics (Compulsory Electives or Specialisation). See the examination regulations for further details.
- Specialisation in Physics (Compulsory Electives) (14 credits)
Further modules must be completed for specialisation in Physics from one or two elective areas of Physics, either from the course programme or a range of useful courses mentioned in the module handbook worth 14 credits. The modules from the specialisation courses can, moreover, be used for the electives. The credits needed for specialisation in Physics can be freely combined from the courses on offer. However, the Faculty recommends that all Master’s students follow the proposed models in order to achieve as coherent a course programme as possible with a maximum of one to two specialisation areas.
- Electives (24 credits)
Here subjects totalling 24 credits must be chosen from Physics, a neighbouring subject or from ‘Over-arching skills’. In Physics the modules may be chosen from the course programme and the specialisation programme. In addition, electives can be chosen from other faculties from the following areas:
- Earth Sciences
- Physics of Imaging
The aim of a course block from these areas is to gain competence in an area neighbouring on Physics, as is required, in particular, for successful interdisciplinary work. The subjects offer coordinated modules for this kind of combination, which generally cover several connected submodules extending over two semesters.
- Final examination (6 credits)
The Master’s examination is a collegiate examination in Physics, conducted by two lecturers with the right to examine from theoretical and experimental Physics. The subject of the examination is the topic areas from two lectures in the course programme, along with content from Specialisation in Physics, which totals least 14 credits, and which students must indicate to the examiners in advance. In the oral examination, the students are to show that – starting from a full and thorough understanding of physical essentials – they can recognise connections between different areas of research in Physics and have acquired in-depth knowledge in at least one such research area.
- Research phase (60 credits)
In the one-year research phase, students learn to do independent scientific work. It consists of the two compulsory modules ‘Scientific Specialisation’ and ‘Methods and Project Planning’ with 15 credits each and the Master’s thesis with 30 credits. The compulsory modules take three months each and assist in approaching the topic of the thesis. This introduction to the thesis can take place through attending additional useful lectures, through personal study or through participating in the research group relevant to the Master’s thesis. The exact distribution is decided in consultation with the supervising lecturer. Besides providing the necessary tools, the module on Methods and Project Planning is intended primarily to cover the planning necessary for the actual research project. The thesis then contains the student’s own research, including the (written) summary of the scientific findings.
Application and admission
There is an entry restriction and an admission restriction. Please consult the admission regulations here hier.
Closing date for applications
15 July for the winter semester
15 November for the summer semester
The respective examinations board or office is responsible for credit transfer, recognition, and examination issues. Further details are available from the academic advisor.
Prof. Dr. Norbert Herrmann
Im Neuenheimer Feld 226,
69120 Heidelberg, Room 211
Office hour Fri 15:00 - 16:00h
(PHYSICS / BAFöG)
Office Ms Holten, Phone 06221/54-9210
apl. Prof. Dr. Michael Hausmann
Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, Room 3.108
Im Neuenheimer Feld 227, 69120 Heidelberg,
Office hour by arrangement
Office, Phone 06221/54-9271
Dr. Alexander Ostrowski
Im Neuenheimer Feld 226
69120 Heidelberg, Room 2.101
Phone +(49) (0)6221/54-19642
Office hours Mon-Fri 10 - 12 am and by arrangement
(Course and examination matters)
Office, Ms Klussmann, Phone 06221/54-929
Dean’s office of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy
Albert-Ueberle-Straße 3-5, 2nd floor, east side
Phone: +49 (0)6221-54-9298
Secretary’s Office for Examination Issues:
Phone: +49 (0)6221-54-4124
Student representative body MathPhys
Im Neuenheimer Feld 305, Room 045