Master's Programme in Computational Physics
120 credits cr.
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In the Master's Programme in Computational Physics you will learn how to translate a mathematical model of a physical phenomenon into a robust computer program and then how to analyse the results from your calculations. You will study courses in programming, mathematical and numerical methods and deepen your knowledge in physics.
This two-year programme gives you advanced knowledge and broad qualifications in the application of numerical methods and modern computational techniques on a range of physical problems, while continuing your physics education with advanced courses in classical and modern physics. You are provided with a basic course block in mathematical methods, high level language programming and numerical methods. This is followed by advanced courses in statistical physics and in the course in computational physics, you will learn how to use program packages in the form of numerical libraries to model physical phenomena. During the second year you will choose to specialise in subjects like quantum chemistry, condensed matter physics, analytical mechanics, numerical methods, machine learning or how to use large parallel computers.
The last phase of the programme consists of the master thesis project, where you get to apply your acquired model building skills to take on current problems in modern physics. With support from an experienced supervisor you will be trained in planning, performing and reporting a research project. We offer the possibility to carry out long projects, up to one year, either in one of our research groups at the department or through a company outside of the university, giving you direct experience of the private sector working environment.
The programme represents two years of full time studies (120 credits), out which 30, 45 or 60 credits are allocated to the master thesis project. Within the programme there is a lot of freedom to choose the courses that best suit your interests and your physics profile. There is also room for you to broaden your competence thanks to a large number of optional courses.
Mathematical Methods in Physics, 7.5 credits, FK7048
Numerical Methods for Physicists II, 7.5 credits, BE7001
Programming and Computer Science for Physicists, 7.5 credits, DA7011
Optional courses*, 7.5 credits
Optional courses*, 0 or 15 or 30 credits
Degree project, 30, 45 or 60 credits
* Optional courses
In order to give you the ability to customise the programme to your interests and needs, you have the possibility to choose among a number of optional courses. Most of these courses will normally be taken during the second year and compromise approximately half a semester. The courses can be selected from the broad range of courses offered by the Department of Physics and by the Department of Mathematics, but should in each case be approved by us. Below you find a list of recommended courses which fulfil the level and content requirements for the Master's programme:
Analytical Mechanics, 7.5 credits, FK7049
Condensed Matter Physics, 7.5 credits, FK7060
Electrodynamics, 7.5 credits, FK7045
Introduction to Quantum Information and Quantum Computation, 7.5 credits, FK7052
Machine Learning for Physicists and Astronomers, 7.5 credits, FK7068
We also recommend the Second Cycle courses in scientific computing given by the Department of Mathematics. Choose the appropriate semester and then look under Scientific Computing. You can also choose a few courses on basic level (maximum 30 credits), for example in Computer Science.
The master thesis project usually starts during the second year, but may start as soon as you have earned at least 45 credits of advanced courses in physics. The project is normally 45 credits but 60- and 30-credits projects are also possible. Several of the research groups at the Department of Physics work in computational physics and can offer suitable projects. It is also possible to do your graduation project in industry or at other departments as long as the content of the specific project is such that it qualifies as a computational physics project.
How to apply
Before starting on one of the Master’s programmes you should have passed a course/courses covering the following areas of quantum mechanics:
- Basic concepts and methods in non-relativistic quantum mechanics
- the Schrödinger equation
- The wave function and its interpretation
- One-dimensional potentials
- The free particle
- The harmonic oscillator, ladder operators
- Matrix representation
- The uncertainty principle
- The formalism of quantum mechanics
- Schrödinger equation in three dimensions
- The hydrogen atom and hydrogenic atoms
- Angular momentum and spin
- Many-particle systems, in particular atoms
- Time-independent and time-dependent perturbation theory, fine structure, Zeeman effect, emission and absorption of radiation
- Variational calculus
Strong academic support and networking possibilities
Throughout your MSc studies, several courses are focused on independent studies and group projects. We aim to provide a good support in your programme and teachers and study advisors are always accessible for questions or guidance. Due to the large number of teachers you will meet during your courses, you are offered several ways to get in contact with the research of your preference. If you are more interested in working outside the academic field, it is possible to involve yourself in projects with collaborators from relevant companies or public institutions. This is a perfect opportunity to gain broad experience during your studies.
Watch our Webinar about all our Master's Programmes in Physics. In the Webinar you will learn more about all our programmes (includning the Master's Programme in Computational Physics), meet the programme coordinators, mixed with interviews with students and alumni. The Webinar is found on the Stockholm University central web page for Webinars on-demand about our Master’s programmes. It is called "Master's Programmes in Physics".
Meet our teachers
This MSc programme in computational physics gives you a unique opportunity to study in a rapidly developing and stimulating scientific environment. We aim to give you a deeper understanding of physics, and improve your computational skills. By having teachers who are all active researchers, you will meet and use the modern computational techniques that are utilised in contemporary research. Through exercises and projects in our courses, and the degree project, you will train your ability to combine the knowledge in physics with computations to model and simulate a range of physical problems.
With this degree, you will have modern, up-to-date knowledge in physics and computational science. Your ability to understand, analyse and translate a great variety of problems to computer models is requested in high-tech industries and research companies and a large fraction of our alumni work with modelling and programming. This degree also has a wider application and your skills are attractive in different areas ranging from academic particle physics over medical imaging all the way to fund analyst in the Bank of England!