The programme consists of a compulsory and an optional part. The compulsory part includes a number of courses on the chosen subject. Master’s students also work on one or two research projects and a master’s thesis. In the optional part of the programme students choose from a number of courses depending on the research project. The specialisation can to a high degree be tailored to individual needs and interests.
Two of the courses should be chosen from the Theoretical Physics courses on offer (for a number of research subjects, the course Quantum Theory is strongly advised). The other courses can be elected from all physics courses on offer. It is even possible to choose courses offered by other universities or graduate schools. One research project will be performed in a research group within LION, the Leiden Institute of Physics. The other research project can be done in a research group within or outside LION. Both research projects include a master’s thesis and an oral presentation.
The programme should have sufficient level and cohesion, and the elective part in all cases requires approval of the Board of Examiners in advance.
“We regard master’s students as fully-fledged researchers.”
“Physics requires skills which are not so readily available. You have to like solving problems and you have to like Maths. My experience has been that anyone who studies physics soon becomes fascinated by the subject. Almost all bachelor’s graduates take a master’s, and many carry on to take a PhD.
Leiden University has a cast-iron reputation as a research university. Two physics lecturers have received the Spinoza prize, the highest award for science in the Netherlands. Leiden is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU).
We regard master’s students as fully-fledged researchers. They have their own working space and play a full part in the business of conducting science. What I enjoy most about my work is when I am working together with students on a research project, in the traditional master/apprentice role. A student comes here to learn about scientific research; I am the coach. This fits well within our teams, which have a maximum of six people.
As a theoretical physicist, I like unravelling problems, but I like it even more when students do it. I see students develop into mature scientists. It fascinates me, and I find it very rewarding. All our lecturers are researchers at heart. We take our students very seriously.”