Study programme

The Theoretical Physics is a two-year research oriented Master's programme (120 EC). The credits are in EC (European Credits), where 1 EC is equivalent with 28 hours of work. 


The curriculum then consists of a 70 EC course part, followed by a 50 EC research part in year 2.

Course part (70 EC)

The course part of this programme consists of:   

  • 4 compulsory courses (25 EC) 
  • 6 elective courses (45 EC) 

In the course list below you can find a description of the specific courses. 

Research part (50 EC)

The majority of the 2nd year is spend on conducting a research project and writing your Master’s thesis. The research project must contain a significant literature study, in which you will familiarise yourself with the subject. As part of your research training, you will also enhance your academic skills by regular attendance of various seminars. The project concludes with writing a thesis and possibly a publishable paper based on your research. Thesis results are presented and discussed during the thesis defence.  

The thesis is supervised by one of the staff members of the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITP)

Educational methods 

Lecture courses 

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. 

Mini research project 

The course Theory for Technology is a special mini research project on a topic of choice that is in the direction of applied theoretical physics. It is often supervised by theoretical physicists from the Technical University of Eindhoven. 

Student Seminar 

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. It also introduces those open science practices that are most relevant to the theoretical physicist. The sessions are supervised by a staff member and teaching assistants.  

Thesis research project 

The thesis research project is an individual one-year project supervised by a staff member. 


  • Midterm and a final written exams,  
  • Assignments 
  • The Modelling and Simulation course concludes with a final computer project. 
  • Theory for Technology course concludes with a final written report. 
  • Thesis project: written thesis and final oral presentation to the Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Extra opportunities

Utrecht University offers several programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. These programmes are followed on top of your regular Master’s programme and go beyond the regular curriculum. Do you want to know more about extracurricular opportunities?  

Read more about the honours programmes