Master's Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences: Materials Physics
In the Materials Physics track you will become an expert in research and development of new materials in biomedical or electronic applications.
Improving lives by making stuff!
Materials Physics is one of the four specialisation tracks of the Master’s Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences. The other tracks of the programme are Astronomy and Space Physics, Materials Chemistry, and Theoretical Physics.
You will work in an active research group together with other students, post-docs and senior researchers on solving problems in e.g. energy efficiency and drug delivery. In addition to theoretical basis of materials physics, you will also learn to use the state-of-the-art research equipment with hands on courses.
Upon graduation, you will be able to use the diverse set of skills acquired as part of this track, including experimental, theoretical and numerical techniques to produce and analyse new physical projects.
Programme in brief
The structure is modular. All modules have 20 ECTS. Each specialisation track has two obligatory modules that contain the core material of the field. In addition, there is one thematic module that may be chosen from the other modules offered within this programme or other programmes at the University of Turku. The fourth module consists of freely chosen courses and an obligatory Finnish language and culture course (5 ECTS). An MSc thesis (30 ECTS) in addition to seminar, internship, and project work (10 ECTS) are also required, details of which depend on the specialisation. See figure below.
Examples of different modules in different specialisations are:
(Click on images to enlarge)
You can replace the project work by participating in a Capstone project (15 ECTS) organised by the Department of Future Technologies. We recommend this for those students who aim to work in the industry after graduation.
In the theory module you will learn the theoretical basis of materials physics by attending lectures and doing exercises in courses such as Structural properties of solids, Electrical properties of solids, Magnetism and spintronics, Semiconductors, Organic semiconductors and Surface science.
In the method module, all courses include laboratory work with the state-of-the-art research infrastructure in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. These methods include e.g. X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance. Furthermore, this module includes courses that give you the expertise to build measurement setups. This includes courses as LabVIEW-based programming and building small equipment using Arduino-based electronics.
You are free to choose the thematic module from those offered in the faculty or take a suitable minor subject, even one offered by other faculties. Thematic modules offered by this programme include biomaterials, electronics materials, modelling and functional materials. Possible minor subjects are e.g. computer science, mathematics, chemistry, business creation and innovation.
In the other studies module you can choose any courses you want from the entire offering of the university in addition to the obligatory “Finnish for foreigners” course.
The aim of the Master’s education is to support you to become an independent expert who can evaluate information critically, plan and execute research projects to find new knowledge, and to solve scientific and technological problems independently and as part of a group.
In the University of Turku, the research and teaching of materials physics has as two focal areas bio- and electronic materials. In biomaterials, you can study e.g. pharmaceutical vectors, nanoporous materials in pharmaceutics and dissociation of DNA-molecules under radiation. In electronics materials, possible topics include semiconducting, magnetic and superconducting materials, spintronics and nanocontacts. You will study the physical basis of current and future electronics.
The Master’s degree programme includes a compulsory thesis component (30 ECTS), which corresponds to six months of full time work. The thesis is to be written up as a report based on a combination of a literature review and an original research project that forms the bulk of the thesis.
The thesis is an independently made research project but the project will be carried out under the guidance of leading researchers in the field at the University of Turku. It is expected that the student will be embedded within an active research group or experimental team, thereby providing ample opportunity to discuss results and exchange ideas in a group setting.
Recent examples of thesis titles in materials physics have been:
- Self-organised artificial pinning structure in small-scale YBCO films grown on an advanced IBAD-MgO based template
- Fabrication and characterisation of resistive memories based on Pr6Ca0.4MnO3
- Photoluminescence of thermally carbonized and wet-oxidized porous silicon
- Physical and chemical characterisation methods for metal powders used for additive manufacturing process
- Surface properties of GaN- and AlGaN-semiconductors and their modification
- Geometric corrections in computer tomography images
- Mass spectroscopy investigation of fragmentation of uridine and cytidine molecules
The Master’s Degree Programme of Physical and Chemical Sciences has four tracks. A short description of this specialisation track is given below. You can find more detailed information of tracks from the specific site of each track by clicking on the links below.
The studies of Materials Physics and Materials Chemistry give you an ability to understand and to develop the properties of materials from molecules and nanoparticles via metals, magnetic and semiconducting compounds for pharmaceutical and biomaterial applications. After graduation, you will be familiar with the current methodologies, research equipment and modern numerical methods needed to model properties of materials used in research and technology. Note that there is a sister programme (Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences) with a specialisation in medicinal chemistry.
The Master of Science degree provides the skills to work in many different kinds of positions within areas such as research and development, education and management, and industry. The Materials Research specialisation provides especially good opportunities for working in research and development positions in the field of industrial technology.
During the master’s program in materials physics, you will study the physics of materials, but uniquely in this track, you will get familiar with materials characterisation methods with hands-on exercises and courses using state-of-the-art research equipment. In addition, you will also train building and programming measurement equipment. Alternatively, you can choose a more theoretical line and specialise in computer modelling of materials. This will prepare you either for a career in research and development in industry or for a follow-up PhD study.
The prospects for employment at relatively senior levels is excellent for those trained in the physical and chemical sciences. Thanks to the broad scope of the programme, the skills and knowledge developed as part of this education at the University of Turku provide many employment opportunities in different areas.
Our recent MSc’s work e.g. as quality managers in large companies, R&D engineers in biotech and materials companies, security engineers at nuclear power plants.
The Master’s Degree provides eligibility for scientific postgraduate degree studies. Postgraduate degrees are doctoral and licentiate degrees. The University of Turku Graduate School – UTUGS has a Doctoral Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences, and covers all of the disciplines of this Master Degree programme. Postgraduate degrees can be completed at the University of Turku.
Note that in Finland the doctoral studies incur no tuition fees, and PhD students often receive either a salary, or a grant to cover their living expenses. The Master’s programme is a stepping stone for PhD studies.
You are an eligible applicant for Master’s-level studies if
- you have a nationally recognized first cycle degree – normally a Bachelor’s degree – from an accredited institution of higher education,
- your degree corresponds to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to three years of full-time study,
- your degree is in a relevant field for the Master’s degree programme that you’re applying to. Please check the programme page for detailed degree requirements.
Applicants must have excellent English language skills and a certificate that proves those skills. You can indicate your language skills by taking one of the internationally recognized English language tests.
Applicants must reach the minimum required test results to be considered eligible to the University of Turku. No exceptions will be made. Read more about the language requirements here.
The applicant’s previous degree on the basis of which s/he is seeking admission to the Master’s Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences must be in a relevant field of study. Relevant fields of previous studies for the Materials Physics track are
- materials science
- or similar
You may apply to only one of the four specialisation tracks offered at the Master’s Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences. Therefore, it is very important to choose the track that is close to the field of your previous degree.
The contents of formally eligible applicants' previous degrees do not always correspond to the academic level of the programme. Therefore admitted students can be advised or required to complete up to 60 ECTS of additional, Bachelor level studies while studying for the Master's Degree. The extent and contents of the supplementary studies are defined individually for each student when a personal study plan is formulated in the beginning of the studies. The supplementary studies may be part of the Master's Degree only up to 20 ECTS and they may therefore extend the targeted study time.
Since the language of instruction in Bachelor’s level at the University of Turku is Finnish, an applicant needing supplementary studies available only in Finnish can be required to submit proof for Finnish skills during the application process. In case such proof is not submitted, the applicant needing supplementary studies must be rejected.
Annually 20 students are admitted to the Master's Degree Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences. The decision of admission will be based on
- the relevance of the applicant’s awarded degree(s)
- the amount, relevance and grades of the courses in the degree(s)
- the language test result (see Language requirements)
- the motivation letter
- possible answers to the optional questions included in the application
- possible relevant work experience
- possible interview
Recommended topics for the motivation letter:
- Why did you choose to apply to this Master’s Degree specialization field, at the University of Turku?
- How would you rate the appropriateness of your earlier studies, in view of the programme?
- Do you have work experience that you regard as relevant background for master studies in the chosen specialization field?
- What are your expectations concerning the programme?
- What are your anticipations concerning employment after graduation, and/or plans for further studies?
It is possible to have only one Bachelor’s or Master’s study right at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Therefore, when accepting an offered study place, the student will lose any previous BSc. or MSc. study right at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.