Goal of the programme
What are the laws of nature governing the universe from elementary particles to the formation and evolution of the solar system, stars, and galaxies? In the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, you will focus on gaining a quantitative understanding of these phenomena.
With the expertise in basic research that you will gain in the programme, you can pursue a career in research. You will also acquire proficiency in the use of mathematical methods, IT tools and/or experimental equipment, as well as strong problem-solving and logical deduction skills. These will qualify you for a wide range of positions in the private sector.
After completing the programme, you will:
- Have wide-ranging knowledge of particle physics and/or astrophysical phenomena.
- Have good analytical, deductive and computational skills.
- Be able to apply theoretical, computational and/or experimental methods to the analysis and understanding of various phenomena.
- Be able to generalize your knowledge of particle physics and astrophysical phenomena as well as identify their interconnections.
- Be able to formulate hypotheses and test them based your knowledge.
The teaching in particle physics and astrophysical sciences is largely based on the basic research. Basic research conducted at the University of Helsinki has received top ratings in international university rankings. The in-depth learning offered by international research groups will form a solid foundation for your lifelong learning.
Further information about the studies on the Master’s programme website.
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees.You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees. Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
The Master’s programme is multilingual. The primary language of instruction is English. You can also complete courses and your thesis in Finnish or Swedish, unless the nature of the teaching requires otherwise. In this programme, you will be part of an international student and research community.
The understanding of the microscopic structure of matter, astronomical phenomena and the dynamics of the universe is at the forefront of basic research today. The advancement of such research in the future will require increasingly sophisticated theoretical, computational and experimental methods.
The study track in elementary particle physics and cosmology focuses on experimental or theoretical particle physics or cosmology. The theories that form our current understanding of these issues must be continuously re-evaluated in the light of new experimental results. In addition to analytical computation skills, this requires thorough mastery of numerical analysis methods. In experimental particle physics, the main challenges pertain to the management and processing of continuously increasing amount of data.
The study track in astrophysical sciences focuses on observational or theoretical astronomy or space physics. Our understanding of space, ranging from near Earth space all the way to structure of the universe, is being continuously redefined because of improved experimental equipment located both in space and on the Earth’s surface. Several probes are also carrying out direct measurements of planets, moons and interplanetary plasma in our solar system. Another key discipline is theoretical astrophysics which, with the help of increasingly efficient supercomputers, enables us to create in-depth models of various phenomena in the universe in general and the field of space physics in particular. Finally, plasma physics is an important tool in both space physics and astronomy research.
Selection of the study track
The Master’s programme includes two study tracks:
- Particle physics and cosmology
- Astrophysical sciences
Courses in the programme have been compiled into modules. Both study tracks contain a mandatory core module that includes a research seminar. The study tracks are divided into specialisations that focus on astronomy, space physics, particle physics or cosmology. Courses typically include lectures, exercises, group work and research literature and end in examinations and/or final assignments. In addition, some studies can be completed as book examinations.
The scope of the Master’s programme is 120 credits (ECTS), which can be completed in two years. The degree consists of
- 90 credits of Master’s studies, including a Master’s thesis (30 credits)
- 30 credits of other studies from the Master’s programme or other degree programmes
In addition, your studies include a personal study plan as well as career orientation and planning. You might also take part in a traineeship, elective studies offered by the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, or studies offered by other degree programmes.
The Master’s degree programme culminates in a Master’s thesis, which demonstrates your familiarity with scientific thought as well as your command of the necessary research methods, knowledge of your thesis topic and ability to communicate scientifically in writing in accordance with the practices of the scientific community. The scope of the Master’s thesis is 30 credits.
In your thesis you will define and formulate relevant scientific questions, place the research problem in the appropriate context by reviewing the relevant research literature, and answer the research questions using theoretical, numerical, observational and/or experimental methods. You can also complete your thesis as part of a larger research project, provided that your independent input can be clearly verified and assessed. However, you must complete the written component of your thesis independently.
Your thesis project will be supervised by your appointed supervisor, who will meet with you regularly to ensure that your work is progressing on schedule. The target duration of the Master’s thesis project is one term. Many students complete their theses as part of a research group, which enables you to participate in top-level research during your Master’s studies.
A Master’s degree in elementary particle physics or astrophysical sciences provides you with excellent qualifications for postgraduate education in research or for a career in diverse positions both in Finland and abroad. As a Master’s graduate you could begin a career in research and development in industry as well as in universities and other research institutes that enable you to conduct independent research on a topic that interests you.
Potential employers and career opportunities include
- Research institutes in Finland and abroad (basic scientific research)
- Universities and universities of applied sciences (teaching)
- Industry, particularly high technology companies (applied research and development, managerial duties)
- Software production, e.g., the game sector
- Diverse planning and consulting positions
Master’s graduates from equivalent study tracks under the previous degree system have embarked on careers in
- Research and teaching positions in Finnish universities and research institutes
- Research and teaching positions abroad, for example at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), ESA (the European Space Agency), ESO (the European Southern Observatory), and NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
- Administrative positions, for example at the Academy of Finland or the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes)
- The business sector
The strong theoretical and analytical skills you will acquire in the programme are in great demand in fields such as:
- Data analysis (industry, media companies, game companies, financing)
- Industrial research, development and consulting (at, e.g., Nokia, Ericsson, Apple, Sanoma, Spinverse, Supercell, Nielsen, Valo Research and Trading, Planmeca, Reaktor, Comptel, and Goldman Sachs)
The Master of Science degree qualifies you for demanding expert positions and postgraduate education in Finnish and international doctoral programmes.
You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:
- You have completed by 31 July 2019 a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or second-cycle degree (e.g., master’s degree) or a postgraduate degree in Finland or abroad.
- You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
- You are able to demonstrate your proficiency in English, Finnish or Swedish (Updated 18/12/2018: Finnish and Swedish added). For further instructions on demonstrating your language skills, see the section “Required enclosures”.
If you are currently or have previously been a student at the University of Helsinki, please note the following rules.
If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, and you do not have the official documents to prove your eligibility to apply for higher education, you can still apply to the University of Helsinki.
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application and the required attachments within the specified deadline. The application form is open from 3 December 2018 (8:00h Finnish time) to 11 January 2019 (15:00h Finnish time). Read more about what will happen after the application period.
- You have a first-cycle degree in physics or astronomy or in another applicable field.
- You have completed at least 60 credits of field-specific studies of an equal level to studies for a first-cycle degree in physics, including the basics of physics and the basics of mathematical and computational methods. In addition, depending on the study track, the first-cycle degree must include at least 20 credits from studies focusing on the basics of modern physics and the structure of matter, or equivalent studies in quantum physics, or the basics of astronomy and astrophysics.
Please note: even if the degree you are using as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient amount of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.
Together with their application, applicants must submit officially certified copies of certificates on all previously completed studies that serve as the basis for their application.
The applicability of the field and the sufficiency of the completed studies will be evaluated in conjunction with admission. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.
Choosing the language of your Master’s degree
In the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. This means that even though most of the teaching will be offered in English, you can answer examination questions and write course assignments and your Master’s thesis in the language that you select as the language of the degree. Please note that you can apply to pursue this Master’s programme in one language only and you must demonstrate your language skills accordingly. You must select the language of your degree when submitting your application.
Choosing a study track
The Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences has two study tracks, which are: Particle physics and cosmology and Astrophysical sciences. You must notify the study track of your choice on your application, but the selection is not binding.The study track chosen by the applicant will be considered when assessing the applicability of previous studies as well as the motivation letter.
Factors affecting admissions
Your success in the selection process will be influenced by the evaluation of your academic performance; the focus will be on the amount, quality and grades of completed studies that are applicable to the programme, your motivation letter, and the study plan contained in it.
In the admission procedure, your application will be scored in the following three categories:
- Applicability of your previous studies
- Academic performance in the studies serving as the grounds for your application
- Your motivation letter (as part of the application form)
The feasibility of the study plan will be evaluated in relation to the overall impression gained from the other admission criteria. When evaluating the applicability of completed studies, the focus will be on the mastery of the basics of the following fields belonging to the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences: experimental and theoretical particle physics, cosmology, theoretical and observational astrophysics, planetary astronomy, and space physics.
The motivation letter and analysis of previous studies form part of the admission criteria and when writing them you must answer the provided questions. They are part of the application form.
If several applicants have completed studies applicable to the programme, but not all can be accommodated in the programme’s quota, the applicants will be compared against each other, and the most qualified will be admitted. The programmes need not fill their student quotas to the maximum.
If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one Master’s programme at the Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, you must rank them in order of preference on your application form. If you could be admitted to more than one programme, you can only be admitted to the one you have ranked the highest.
The Master’s programme admits no more than 15 students regardless of their selected language of degree and application option.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by 12 April 2019 at the latest. Please note the one study place per term provision if you are applying for more than one study programme in spring 2019.
Study right to be awarded
If you are admitted, you will be granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the University’s webpage.
The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:
- Official photocopy of the degree certificate/diploma
- Official transcript
- Diploma supplement (if available)
- Certificate of language proficiency
- Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish
- A photocopy of your passport, your official identity card or your Finnish residence permit card
- Motivation letter and study plan (to be filled in on the application form)
1) Read carefully the instructions on application enclosures and their submission.
2) You must demonstrate your proficiency in English. Read the instructions on proving your language skills.
3) If the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme is still incomplete, you need not submit a degree certificate/diploma with the application documents. If you are admitted, the admission decision will be conditional, and you will receive instructions with your letter of admission for submitting the official degree certificate/diploma. NB! The final degree certificate/diploma must be presented by 14 August 2019 at the latest.
|Due date||11.1.2019, 15:00|
Admission Services, University of Helsinki
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