European Master's Programs in Physics

In summary, the conversation discusses the differences between pursuing a PhD in Australia and Europe, and the requirements for admission to a PhD program in Europe. The person asking the question is considering obtaining a master's degree in Europe, but is unsure if a coursework-based master's would be sufficient for a PhD program or if a research component is necessary. The program director of a Physics PhD program in Sweden shares that a master's degree or equivalent education is required for admission to a doctoral program, and that in Sweden, there is also the option of obtaining a licentiate degree as a trial run for a PhD.
  • #1
Floatzel98
9
0
Hey everyone,

So here in Australia things are a bit different to Europe (and the US). Here you would usually finish your honours year and then apply to a PhD. How I understand it is in Europe is it goes - BSc, Masters then PhD.

I'm close to finishing my honours year (which includes a research component - I might be able to get a publication out of it), but I'm not planning on applying for a PhD in Australia, for a couple of reasons.

I'm hoping I can get into a PhD program somewhere in Europe, but it seems my honours isn't equivalent to a masters, so to apply for PhD programs in Europe I would need a masters degree. So I've been looking at masters degrees (in Europe), which leads me to my question(s):

Are master's degrees all coursework, or do they usually have a research component? I've looked at a few physics master's programs in Europe (offered in English) that I technically am eligible for, but they are all coursework, no research. Does this matter when applying for PhD programs in Europe? Its hard to tell whether universities want masters programs that have research components or not. Would a coursework masters be fine given that I do have 'research experience' through my honours degree?

Honestly I am fine doing more coursework, because even though my honours year had a coursework component I feel I've barely learned anything. I still don't really know quantum field theory; I haven't got the best understanding of the standard model (and my research project is in supersymmetry...and I barely have a working knowledge of that).

I feel that I don't know enough to start doing a PhD at this point anyway. Obviously more research experience is only a good thing; I'm not averse to that.

But my question is: Is a master's by coursework a valid prerequisite for a European PhD, or it is expected that the master's has a research component to it?

Thanks for reading. Hopefully my question is clear.

:)
 
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  • #2
It is going to depend on the degree you have and the program you apply to. I am the program director of a Physics PhD program in Sweden, so I can mainly inform you regarding the admission requirements here, different countries and institutes may have different rules.

By law we require one of the following for admission to any doctoral program:

- A master’s degeree.
- 240 ECTS credits (4 years of full time study), 60 of which should be at advanced level (ie, master level).
- Other equivalent education.

The last part is where it gets tricky because you have to make a judgement call about what the equivalent of your degree is. There are official ways of having your degree judged by the state authorities, but it seldom happens in my experience.

In addition, programs may have additional admission requirements. In our case, the special requirement is that the basic requirement is satisfied within the subject of physics.

Effectively, the bigger hurdle is to find a PhD position as they are typically announced in open competition and you have to be selected from a pool of candidates.

Regarding master programs, our programs are typically coursework focused only with the exception for a 30 credit thesis work at the end (half a year). This is typically research based and some times lead to a publication.
 
  • #3
Orodruin said:
It is going to depend on the degree you have and the program you apply to. I am the program director of a Physics PhD program in Sweden, so I can mainly inform you regarding the admission requirements here, different countries and institutes may have different rules.
Around two decades ago, I interviewed a physics grad student from Sweden. She was working towards a degree called a licentia. It appeared to be peculiar to Sweden, or maybe Scandinavia, and appeared to be in between a masters and a PhD. Does that degree still exist? I don't see it listed here: https://studyinsweden.se/plan-your-studies/degree-programmes/ .
 
  • #4
CrysPhys said:
Around two decades ago, I interviewed a physics grad student from Sweden. She was working towards a degree called a licentia. It appeared to be peculiar to Sweden, or maybe Scandinavia, and appeared to be in between a masters and a PhD. Does that degree still exist? I don't see it listed here: https://studyinsweden.se/plan-your-studies/degree-programmes/ .
It exists (a student I co-supervise had his licentiate defence earlier today). However, it is not required to get a PhD. Some people do it during their PhD as a kind of a trial run (although it is an actual degree). Others are admitted to two years of research studies instead of four with licentiate as the end goal. This is mainly intended for medical and industrial research students who are doing their studies part-time and have (or their funding source has) problems making commitments that would span the better part of a decade, but still want to undertake research studies.
 
  • #5
Orodruin said:
It exists (a student I co-supervise had his licentiate defence earlier today).
Congratulations, what a coincidence. Thanks for the explanation.
 

1. What is the duration of a European Master's Program in Physics?

The duration of a European Master's Program in Physics can vary depending on the specific program and university, but typically it takes 2 years to complete.

2. What are the admission requirements for a European Master's Program in Physics?

The admission requirements for a European Master's Program in Physics may differ between universities, but generally, applicants should hold a Bachelor's degree in Physics or a related field, have a strong academic background, and meet the language proficiency requirements.

3. Are there any scholarships available for European Master's Programs in Physics?

Yes, there are several scholarships available for international students who wish to pursue a Master's degree in Physics in Europe. These include scholarships from the European Union, individual countries, and universities.

4. Can I work while studying in a European Master's Program in Physics?

Yes, it is possible to work while studying in a European Master's Program in Physics. However, the amount of hours you are allowed to work may be limited and will depend on your student visa and the country's regulations.

5. What career opportunities are available after completing a European Master's Program in Physics?

Graduates of European Master's Programs in Physics have a wide range of career opportunities available to them, including research positions in academia or industry, teaching positions, and jobs in fields such as engineering, finance, and data science.

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