Physics in Leiden

For general information, see also: mastersinleiden website

For administrative procedures click here

For LION scholarships, see also:    scholarships


Leiden Institute of Physics

The Leiden Institute of Physic has around 30 staff members who are all involved in research and education. Within the institute experimental research (approximately 75%) and theoretical research (approximately 25%) is conducted, in both cases of a fundamental character. The education is preparing for this type of research, which is also called curiosity-driven.


Master of Science in Physics

The Leiden Physics Master is strongly rooted in Leiden research. The duration of the MSc programme in Physics is two years (120 EC). The official programme starts in September.

The MSc programme in Physics offers five two-year research specialisations, with emphasis on either experimental or theoretical research, and three specialisations that are more broadly oriented and combine at least one year of the the physics curriculum with training in which specific career opportunities in science-related professions can be explored:


Research in Physics:

  1. Research in Physics, Quantum Matter and Optics

  2. Research in Physics, Soft and Biological Matter

  3. Research in Physics, Theoretical 

  4. Research in Physics, Pre-PhD(Casimir)

  5. Research in Physics, Cosmology

Broadly oriented specialisations:
  1. Physics and Science Based Business
  2. Physics and Science Communication and Society
  3. Physics and Education


The Master of Science in Physics is an English-language education, with the exception of the specialisation Education. This stream requires active command of the Dutch language. 

The Master of Science (MSc) in Physics programmes of Leiden University are characterized by their emphasis on internships. At least 50% of the time (and study credit) has to be spent on research training. The students form part of research groups at the Leiden Institute of Physics (LION). Preferably, this also include a stay in a research group outstide Leiden University. The goal of each programme is to train the student as an independent researcher, and to develop the necessary skills and proficiency to advance his/her career.





International students should also check the website on scholarships.


Reasons to choose Physics in Leiden

  1. The programme places a strong emphasis on research training. Students can spend up to 60% of their time on research projects.
  2. Leiden University is known for its top-level international research and excellent research groups, both theoretical (25%) and experimental (75%), both focus on fundamental research, in which master’s students participate during their research projects. Many master’s students obtain their degree with a publication in an international refereed journal.
  3. The programme offers a wide choice of individual profiles. Five specialisations have been defined within this master’s programme. Individual plans can always be discussed with the study adviser and submitted to the Board of Examiners for approval.
  4. The close connection between the MSc programme and the Leiden Institute of Physics results in an open atmosphere, in which students are invited to attend lectures and symposia and to participate in scientific discussions.
  5. Students can start in the MSc programme at any time throughout the year, although preferably in September or February.


Admission Requirements Master

1.You are admitted to the MSc Physics if you have a:

  • BSc in Physics from any Dutch university
  • BSc in Astronomy from LUall
  • BSc in Physics from any Dutch University

Applicants need to follow the application procedure as mentioned on the  master website


2.Applicants with a BSc in Physics  from any recognized University anywhere in the world will be considered based on the study program*, their BSc grades and their motivation.

3.Applicants with a BSc degree from a HBO Technische Natuurkunde of the Netherlands upon completion of a pre-Master program agreed with the Study Advisor of the Physics Program of the University of Leiden and on the basis of their performance.

4.Otherwise exceptional candidates without an adequate degree in Physics who have in other ways covered the aforementioned material in a demonstrable way (i.e., having taken exams)  will be evaluated on an individual basis.

5.Only exceptionally performing candidates are admitted to the MSc in Theoretical Physics.


*an appropriate study program should cover most of the following:


-Multivariate calculus, ordinary and partial differential equations, complex analysis, Fourier transforms, special functions - Real and Complex vector spaces, linear transformations, orthonormal bases, basis transformations, quadratic and Hermitian forms, spectral methods Classical Mechanics: -Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms; conservation laws and Nether theorems; phase space

Special Theory of Relativity.


-Electrical and magnetic fields, Maxwell’s equations; wave theory of light, propagation of EM waves in media

Statistical Physics:

-Thermal equilibrium and equipartition theorem; entropy and microcanonical ensemble, free energy, canonical ensemble, partition functions, Maxwell relations; ideal gases, elasticity,  Hooke’s law; magnetization and magnetic susceptibility; Ising model; mean-field solution; macrocanonical ensemble, Grand free energy.

 Quantum Mechanics:

-Schrödinger equation, 1D stationary states, Hilbert space, 3D spherically symmetric systems, H atom, angular momentum, spin; including probability functions, operators, Dirac notation, eigenvalue problem; many particle systems; H-like atoms, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics; blackbody radiation; fine structure, Zeeman and Stark effects; time dependent perturbation theory; quantum theory of radiation (Einstein coefficients).


More Information


For more information on admission and application please see the Leiden University master website.