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Degree: Bachelor of Science
Application: mandatory
Course commences: winter semester only
Standard course duration: 6 semesters
Focus options: 100% (Teaching Degree option)
Language requirements: None
Language of instruction: German

Faculty of Physics and Astronomy

Note for prospective students interested in coming to Heidelberg University to take the Teaching Degree course qualifying its graduates to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany:

In accordance with the statutory provisions laid down by the State of Baden-Württemberg, students wishing to embark as of winter semester 2015/2016 on a Teaching Degree qualifying them to teach at higher secondary (grammar) schools (Gymnasien) in Germany can only do so by enrolling in two-tier courses with a Bachelor/Master structure (polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor programme with a Teaching Degree option; Master of Education course scheduled to start in winter semester 2018/2019).

As of winter semester 2015/2016, the subject described on this page can be studied in a polyvalent two-subject (50%) Bachelor course with a Teaching Degree option. It has to be combined with another 50% subject of relevance for secondary-school education.

For more information, go to

Note for students already enrolled in a Teaching Degree course in the framework of the Examination Regulations for Teachers at Higher Secondary Schools (GymPO I):

In the winter semester 2015/2016 and later, students enrolled by 31 July 2015 in a Teaching Degree course regulated by the provisions of GymPO I (2009) are entitled to switch to a different main subject under the conditions set out in said GymPO provided that the change is in accordance with the statutory provisions.

In this case, the following transitional regulations apply:

For more information, go to

Preliminary course in Mathematics for new students

In the winter semester of 2015, the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy is offering a three-week preliminary course in Mathematics for all new Physics students. The MathPhys student body will be organizing an extensive social programme to go with it.

The course begins at 9.15 am on 21 September, Im Neuenheimer Feld 227, lecture hall 1.

Course outline

Physics is a core science. It investigates the natural laws that make Nature describable in quantitative terms. It is indispensable for our understanding of the world and the solution of the technical and ecological problems besetting it. For Physics students, success depends both on a gift for Physics and a sound understanding of Mathematics. In the course of the programme, our undergraduates will be required to acquire mathematical knowledge that far exceeds what they learned at school. In addition, they will need not only a grounding in Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry but also appropriate proficiency in English, or at least the willingness to acquire such proficiency in the early stages of the course. English is needed to understand scientific texts and communicate personally with physicists the world over, two things that today are expected of Physics students at the undergraduate level already.

Course structure

The Faculty of Physics and Astronomy introduced the Bachelor course in Physics in 2007. It was followed in the winter semester 2008/09 by the Master course in Physics so that as of that point in time B.Sc. graduates from other universities could apply for admission to the Master course in Heidelberg. In addition, the Faculty offers students aiming at a profession in secondary-school teaching and hence requiring State Examination qualifications (Teaching Degree) the opportunity to study Physics as a joint-main subject (50%) or a subsidiary subject (25%).

For some time now, students have been able to study Computer Science as an in-depth component enriching their Physics studies. In addition, Astronomy is one of the Faculty’s major research and teaching interests and is taught in the framework of the Physics course in the form of introductory and in-depth modules. Graduates can also go on to do a PhD in Astronomy.

Study objectives

Physicists with Bachelor or Master degrees work in basic research and on application-related development problems requiring a sound command of the fundamental laws of Physics. Accordingly, they require a broad and wide-ranging education in both experimental and theoretical Physics. In addition, they will need more than superficial knowledge of the neighbouring sciences Mathematics and Chemistry. The Bachelor course is geared not so much to far-reaching specialisation as to the acquisition of an ability to acclimatise quickly to new fields and to recognize and solve new problems, an ability much sought-after in industry (and not only in industrial research). For certain parts of the professional landscape (notably higher education and research institutions), degrees below the PhD level are unlikely to count as adequate qualifications. Students taking the Bachelor/Master courses should be in a position to acquire the abilities described above. The new Bachelor course closes with the award of a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree, the Master course with a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree.

In the framework of the Teaching Degree programme, future physics teachers are given the subject-specific and didactic training they will require for their work at higher secondary schools (Gymnasien). Besides imparting a foundational knowledge of Physics and Mathematics to their students, their duties encompass above all the communication of insights into modern Physics. Teaching Degree students at Heidelberg University’s Faculty of Physics and Astronomy complete the course with the first State Examination for teachers at higher secondary schools (Gymnasien).

Bachelor/Master programmes

Ein Bachelor/Masterstudium der Physik in Heidelberg zeichnet sich neben einer soliden Grundausbildung dadurch aus, dass die Studierenden viel Freiheit haben, ihr Studium nach ihren Interessen und Befähigungen zu gestalten. Hierzu bietet die Fakultät zusammen mit vielen Dozenten an außeruniversitären Forschungszentren in ihrem Lehrangebot eine große Zahl von Vertiefungsmöglichkeiten in der Physik und in interdisziplinären Bereichen sowie entsprechende Arbeitsmöglichkeiten in den Forschungsgruppen an.

Bachelor of Physics (1st to 6th semester)
The six-semester Bachelor course is designed to enable students to complete the programme with a Bachelor of Science degree qualifying them for professional activities. The course has been carefully refashioned and adapted to achieve this objective. Alongside a sound basic education in Physics and Mathematics, B.Sc. students are given the opportunity to choose attractive career-oriented study blocks, notably from the fields of Computer Science (computer engineering, software-related studies), Medical Physics, Environmental Physics and Biophysics as well as from neighbouring subjects like Chemistry, Mineralogy, Economics, Biology and Mathematics. The new structure also facilitates the early initiation of students to the research world.

The Bachelor course consists of a compulsory part (about 2/3 of the study programme) and an elective part (about 1/3 of same). The compulsory section imparts foundational knowledge of Physics and Mathematics and also includes training in cross-disciplinary skills. As of the third semester, students can then explore the elective section, which gives them a largely free hand to select topics in line with their interests from research and/or application sectors of Physics and thus qualify either for an early career start or for the research-oriented Master course.

Master of Physics (7th to 10th semester)
B.Sc. graduates can apply for admission to the Master course in Physics at Heidelberg University, which of course is also open to graduates from other universities at home and abroad.

The Master course qualifiers its graduates for a research career. It consists of a one-year education section in which students acquire in-depth knowledge of selected areas of Physics and/or interdisciplinary research fields. This is guaranteed by the extensive range of choice offered in the programme, both for Physics and interdisciplinary programmes and subsidiary subjects. There follows a one-year research block designed to encourage the students’ capacity for independent scientific work.

The Master programme is largely conducted in English. Accordingly, a sound knowledge of English is a prerequisite for admission. In Heidelberg, care is taken to ensure that this linguistic proficiency is acquired at an early stage in the Bachelor programme.

State Examination with Physics as main subject

The restructuring of the Physics programmes in the framework of the introduction of Bachelor/Master programmes also involved a revision of the Study Regulations for the Teaching Degree. The result is a pared-down compulsory programme geared to teacher training and leaving sufficient scope for the acquisition of didactic skills and cross-disciplinary skills. The aim of the Physics programme itself is to provide future schoolteachers with the foundational scientific knowledge they require to teach their subject at a higher secondary school.

Alongside Physics as a first main subject, students will need to study a second main subject relevant to the requirements of secondary schools. The examination regulations for the Teaching Degree list the subjects eligible for combination with Physics. Recommendations from the Faculty can be found in the study guides for the Teaching Degree.

Computer Science as an in-depth option

Students of Physics with a special interest in Computer Science are given the opportunity to obtain an additional certificate via the attendance of classes on the subject. This involves a programme totalling 50 hours in one semester, which gives the in-depth option the character of a second weighty study block. This opportunity will be preserved in the new Bachelor/Master courses, the precise criteria have yet to be elaborated. The in-depth option leads to the award of the “Additional Certificate in Computer Science”.

Astronomy in the Physics programme

Heidelberg is one of the few major centres of astronomy research and teaching in Germany. Alongside the University’s Centre for Astronomy (ZAH) assembling the Astronomical Computing Centre (ARI), the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA) and the State Observatory (LSW), Heidelberg also boasts the Max Planck Institutes of Astronomy (MPIA) and Nuclear Physics (MPIK). Heidelberg University is thus in a position to offer a broad and wide-ranging programme of astronomical and astrophysical classes supplemented and enriched by up-to-date seminars and special lectures on the research sectors prioritised by Heidelberg’s astronomical institutes.

As almost everywhere in Germany, astronomy in Heidelberg is not a Bachelor or Master programme in its own right. The reason for this is that it is next to impossible to pursue the study of Astronomy and Astrophysics without the requisite knowledge of Physics. Accordingly, a grounding in Physics is indispensable, and Astronomy courses are almost invariably combined with Physics programmes.

The switch to the Bachelor/Master system means that classes in Astronomy and Astrophysics are now available in the form of modules that assemble classes dealing with related content. By sitting and passing examinations in these modules, you can acquire credit points that count towards your Bachelor /Master degree in Physics.

Astronomy in Heidelberg is taught in introductory and advanced modules. An initial introductory module, the Introduction to Astronomy, consists of two lectures (Introduction to Astronomy I and II with exercises) and an astronomical practical.  The module presents the phenomenology of Astronomy from star and planet systems to cosmology and supplies an initial introduction to astronomical observation. The second introductory module (Theoretical Astrophysics) builds on the introductory lectures on Theoretical Physics and deals with concepts and methods that cannot be discussed in that context but are of special significance for Astrophysics. These include Radiation Theory, Hydrodynamics, Plasma Physics and Stellar Dynamics.

The grounding in Astronomy is extended by the following six advanced modules: the lecture Observation Methods (combined with the second part of the practical), the lectures Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics and Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology, each accompanied by a seminar, and finally two advanced practicals in which Numerical Methods and Statistical Procedures are discussed and applied. In addition, there are a huge range of special lectures and seminars on topics taken from the latest research ventures.

The Bachelor-Master system enables you to enrich your Physics studies with Astronomy modules at an early stage. As the education in Theoretical Physics begins in the first semester, it makes sense to attend the Introduction to Astronomy in the third semester. This means that by the fifth semester the foundations will have been laid to complete the Astrophysics modules before finishing the Bachelor course itself. This opens up the possibility of selecting an astronomical or astrophysical subject for the B.Sc. thesis. In the Master programme, you can then attend advanced modules providing you with an excellent basis for an M.Sc. thesis on a topic from Astronomy or Astrophysics and also (if so desired) for a PhD in Astronomy.

It of course also makes sense to attend Astronomy modules in your Physics courseeven if you do not intend to specialize in Astronomy or Astrophysics. Depending on your interests, you can take the introductory Astronomy modules as a supplement to your Bachelor or Master course. If you are particularly interested in Theoretical Physics, it may be a good idea to attend the Theoretical Astrophysics module and leave aside the Introduction to Astronomy.

After graduation from the Master course, you can put your name down for the PhD course if you intend to do a doctorate on an astronomical or astrophysical subject. Prior to that, however, you must be formally admitted to the PhD course, a decision taken by the Doctoral Studies Committee on the basis of the Doctoral Study Regulations. We recommend you to apply for admission to the new Graduate School of Fundamental Physics, the astronomical division of which operates in close conjunction with the two Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy and Nuclear Physics via the International Max Planck Research School on Astronomy and Cosmic Physics (IMPRS-A). You will find information on the staff and the main research interests of the institutes on the websites referred to below.

Main research interests

Physics research in Heidelberg

The Faculty of Physics and Astronomy comprises a total of five institutes with research groups working on a wide range of topics that students can select as a subject for their Bachelor, Master and State Examination theses as well as for PhD dissertations.

Kirchhoff Institute of Physics
Im Neuenheimer Feld 227
D-69120 Heidelberg

  • Biophysics
  • Cold Atoms
  • Complex Quantum System
  • Particle Physics
  • Computer Engineering

Institute of Physics
Im Neuenheimer Feld 226
D-69120 Heidelberg

  • Atomic and Quantum Optics
  • Neutron and Spin-Echo Physics
  • Heavy Ion Physics
  • High-Energy Physics

Institute of Environmental Physics
Im Neuenheimer Feld 229
D-69120 Heidelberg

  • Atmosphere and Remote Sensing
  • Terrestrial Systems
  • Aquatic Systems
  • Gas Exchange and Waves
  • Atmospheric Aerosols

Institute of Theoretical Physics
Philosophenweg 16 und 19
D-69120 Heidelberg

  • Cosmology
  • Quantum Field Theory and Particle Phenomenology
  • Statistical Physics and Non-Equilibrium Dynamics
  • Nuclear and Heavy-Ion Physics
  • Biophysics

Centre for Astronomy (ZAH)
being an amalgamation of

Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
Albert-Überle-Straße 2
D-69120 Heidelberg

  • Cosmology and Structure Formation
  • Star Formation
  • Astrochemistry and Planetary Physics
  • Stellar Atmospheres and Cosmic Radiation Fields

Institute of Astronomical Computing
Mönchhofstraße 12-14
D-69120 Heidelberg

  • Astrometry
  • Stellar Dynamics
  • Gravitation Lenses

State Observatory
D-69117 Heidelberg

  • Extragalactic Astrophysics and Active Galaxies
  • High-Energy Astrophysics
  • Instrumentation

Alongside these institutes, there are also a number of non-university research institutions in Heidelberg. Though they are independent of the University, they are closely connected with the University departments in terms both of staff and the research undertaken. Among them are the Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics, the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy, the Max Planck Institute of Medical Research and the German Cancer Research Centre.

For more information on the graduate programme, please consult the website of the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics.

Formal requirements



Admission is subject to an Aptitude Assessment Procedure the conduct and standards of which are laid down in the Selection Regulations for Admission. The application process takes place online.

International students

There are special regulations for international applicants. For more information, apply to the International Relations Office of Heidelberg University (Seminarstraße 2). International students are invited to attend a preparatory course taking place in the summer semester before the Physics programme proper begins.

Subject combinations

Potential subject combinations for the Teaching Degree course are listed in the Catalogue of Subjects

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations Bachelor (last changes 29 July 2015)
Examination regulations Bachelor (last changes 20 November 2013)
Intermediate examination regulations Teaching Degree (23 August 1995) (State Examination, GymPO)
Intermediate examination regulations Teaching Degree (29 April 2010) (State Examination, GymPO)
Study and examination regulations for the Teaching Degree qualifying holders to teach at higher German secondary schools (General Part) (29 April 2010) (State Examination, GymPO)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

M.Sc. course

Heidelberg University offers a consecutive M.Sc. course in Physics.

Academic advisors

  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Uwer
    Physikalisches Institut, Im Neuenheimer Feld 226, 69120 Heidelberg,
    Tel. 06221/54-19402 ; by appointment only (PHYSICS).
    Sekretariat, Tel. 06221/54-19400,
  • Apl. Prof. Dr. Michael Hausmann
    Kirchhoff Institut für Physik, Im Neuenheimer Feld 227, 69120 Heidelberg,
    Tel. 06221/54-9824 ; by appointment only (PHYSICS).
    Sekretariat, Tel. 06221/54-9271,
  • Apl. Prof. Dr. Andreas Just
    Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Mönchhofstr. 12-14, 69120 Heidelberg,
    Tel. 06221/54-1829; Consultation hours 1pm-2pm, Room 20 (Astronomy).
  • Apl. Prof. Dr. Stefan Wagner
    Landessternwarte, Königstuhl, 69117 Heidelberg,
    Tel. 06221/54-1712; by appointment only (Astronomy)
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer
    Ziti / B6, 26; 68131 Mannheim
    Tel. 0621 181-2735 by appointment only (Informatics)
  • Dr. Alexander Ostrowski (application issues)
    Klaus-Tschira-Gebäude, Im Neuenheimer Feld 226, 69120 Heidelberg, Zi. 2.101,
    Tel. 06221/54-19642; Consultation hours Mon to Fri 2pm - 3:30pm, and by appointment.


Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Dean’s Office

Im Neuenheimer Feld 226, 2nd floor (north)
D-69120 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office

phone: +49 (0)6221 5419600

Secretaries’ office for examination issues

phone: +49 (0)6221 544124



Student representative body MathPhysInfo (no application issues)

Im Neuenheimer Feld 205, Office 1.301
D-69120 Heidelberg

phone: +49 (0)6221 5414999


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Letzte Änderung: 2018-07-16
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