M.Sc. Theoretical Physics

  • On Campus
  • 24 months
  • EUR18000 per Year (International

    Tuition fee for the international students.

    EUR2006 per Year (EEA

    European Economic Area tuition fee is applicable to the students from EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

  • English ( Take IELTS test or Find a course )
| Utrecht, Netherlands
The research Master’s degree programme in Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University is your gateway to understanding the fascinating world of physics, ranging from the unimaginably small scales of elementary particles to the vast dimensions of our universe. Our highly rated research programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills to desbribe space-time and elementary particles as well as macroscopic and microscopic phenomena in quantum and soft matter.
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Programme objective

The MSc programme in Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University provides students with a broad overview of methods and topics in theoretical physics and teaches them to work independently in a specific sub-discipline of the field. Students also learn to present and discuss their work both orally and in writing, and to take a critical attitude towards the existing literature.

Our programme offers excellent preparation for further research studies in physics or careers in the international job market. Two-thirds of our graduates continue on to conduct PhD-level research either at Utrecht University or at other prestigious institutions around the world.

Detailed Course Facts

Start dates and application deadlines

Starting in

    Apply until:
  • ( International

    Deadline applies if you do not have the same nationality as the university.

  • ( EEA

    Deadline applies if your country of nationality is in the EEA (European Economic Area)


Starting in

    Apply until:
  • ( International

    Deadline applies if you do not have the same nationality as the university.

  • ( EEA

    Deadline applies if your country of nationality is in the EEA (European Economic Area)


Dates reflect the university's timezone.

Tuition fee
  • EUR18000 per year ( International

    Tuition fee for the international students.

  • EUR2006 per year ( EEA

    European Economic Area tuition fee is applicable to the students from EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

The first year consists of two required courses and six elective courses. In the second year, you will conduct a thesis research project, participate in a student seminar, and take additional advanced courses related to your research interests.


Two required courses, Quantum Field Theory and Statistical Field Theory, run in parallel in the fall semester and form the basis of several courses taught during the Spring semester. Students are strongly advised to start the programme in September in order to take these courses.

The remainder of the first year consists of elective courses, with at least three primary electives from theoretical physics, one from mathematics, and two secondary electives from the natural sciences (including theoretical physics, experimental physics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, etc.).

In the fall semester of the second year, students participate in the Student Seminar, where they sharpen soft skills such as literature searches, discussion, oral and written presentation, etc., in a theoretical physics context. Students devote most of their time during their second year to the thesis research project, possibly while taking additional (advanced) lecture courses.

Educational methods

Most courses are full-semester lecture courses consisting of a weekly lecture (two 45-minute sessions) presented by a staff member, combined with a weekly problem class session (3-4 hours of problem solving) supervised by teaching assistants.

The course Theory for Technology is a special mini research project on a topic of choice supervised by theoretical physicists from the Technical University of Eindhoven.

The Student Seminar is highly interactive through discussions, presentations, literature searches, projects in small groups, writing, etc., all on a specific topic of theoretical physics. The sessions are supervised by a staff member and teaching assistants. The thesis research project is an individual one-year project supervised by a staff member.

Group size

Utrecht University typically admits 25-35 students to the programme each year. The required courses generally have 40-50 participants (this includes students from other disciplines, e.g. mathematics and experimental physics), and the elective courses typically have 15-30 students.

Exmination methods

Most courses have a midterm and a final written exam, and some require students to complete assignments throughout the course. The Modelling and Simulation course concludes with a final computer project, and the Theory for Technology course concludes with a final written report. The thesis project is graded based on content, originality of the research, the student’s degree of independence, and the quality of the written thesis and the final oral presentation to the Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Interdisciplary profiles

A profile is a coherent set of courses totaling 30 EC and can be chosen to expand the thematic range of your Master's programme. The courses are on a single theme that is usually not a standard part of the programme.

Educational profile – teacher degree

If you are passionate about sharing your knowledge, and you would consider a career as a teacher in secondary education, this profile might be right for you. The emphasis of the Educational Profile is on practitioner skills and school-based activities. Throughout the profile, learning theories and teaching methods will be taught closely linked to your day to day work in the classroom. The profile is tailored to meet the professional development needs of teachers in the early stages of their careers. More information.

Complex sytems profile

Complex Systems is an interdisciplinary profile for ambitious students from different Master’s programmes, who want to work on modelling solutions within the field of Complex Systems. The profile gives you the opportunity to broaden your view and knowledge from an interdisciplinary angle and widens your opportunities for further development. It prepares you for a career in interdisciplinary fields at, for instance, financial companies. You will receive a Complex Systems certificate.

English Language Requirements


Apply online for the programme of your choice

Pay the €100 application fee

Submit the following documents:
  • Your passport copy
  • A scan of your original diploma
  • a completed and stamped ‘Proof of Anticipated Degree’ Form
  • A scan of your orignal transcript
  • Official translations of your diploma and transcript (if documents are not in Dutch, English, French, German or Spanish)
  • Proof of your proficiency in English
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Your motivation letter
  • Two reference letters

International students should consider taking a Pre-Master to gain access to universities in Netherlands when:

  • You are considered ineligible for admission
  • You need to improve your academic, study, research or language skills
Search all Pre-Masters

More Information


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Utrecht University

Utrecht, Netherlands

Netherlands Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned in the top 15 in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings. The university is located in the city of Utrecht, one of the most beautiful and safest cities in Northern Europe. Joining Utrecht University as a master’s student on one of our 86 English-language Master’s programmes will make you part of an innovative and internationally oriented academic community engaged in cutting-edge and multidisciplinary teaching and research.

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