Physical Chemistry - Master's Programme in Chemistry

Academic year 2023/2024

Photo for Physical Chemistry - Master's Programme in Chemistry 2023/2024

The specialisation in Physical Chemistry in the Master's programme in Chemistry offers a firm basis in advanced physical chemistry. It covers all major areas and a cutting-edge expertise through in-depth studies, especially in the field of reaction dynamics and research areas related to advanced spectroscopic techniques. The studies combine theoretical knowledge and practical skills, as well as providing insight into theoretical and computational chemistry methods.

Why this programme?

Uppsala University is an internationally highly ranked university which has eight Nobel Laureates, of whom two have been chemists. In particular, the chemistry education was given a rating of "excellent" in the latest evaluation of the Center for Higher Education Development. Further, the chemistry program at Uppsala University has been ranked in top 100 by QS World University Rankings.

Choosing a specialization in Physical Chemistry within the Master's Programme in Chemistry, will give you the opportunity to dive into advanced topics in physical chemistry and modern experimental techniques. Some of these topics include, solar energy conversion, artificial photosynthesis, photocatalysis, reaction dynamics and electron transfer. We utilize steady state and ultrafast time-resolved laser spectroscopy, as well as electrochemistry, to study physical processes in materials, polymers, molecular model systems, proteins and solar cells. Through your research in Physical Chemistry you will meet and learn from lecturers and professors who are leading experts in these advanced topics.

This specialisation is oriented towards fundamental physical chemistry, but it also includes the physical and chemical foundations needed to take part in the development of new solutions for sustainable production of energy and fuels. Also included are the theoretical aspects and simulation methods related to, e.g., new materials. You will be well-equipped to undertake research within academia or research and development in industry.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • have a personal mentor who helps you prepare for your future career,
  • gain theoretical knowledge and practical skills in advanced physical chemistry, as well as insight into theoretical and computational chemistry methods,
  • be a part of a university with two Nobel prizes in chemistry.

Your mentor will provide guidance as you develop your research independence. You will participate in seminars, group-meetings and other events to prepare you for professional communication in your future career. You will interact with highly motivated PhD-students and post-docs who have come to Uppsala University to carry out cutting-edge research in our diverse and stimulating research environment. Our research groups have a well-developed cooperation with other institutions and research agencies which is beneficial for you when choosing a project for the Master's Thesis, and to make contacts for your future career.

To increase your practical experience of working in a research group, you can also choose the course in Research Training which will further develop your theoretical knowledge and experimental skills.

Student profile

You are probably coming directly from your Bachelor's degree or have had a relevant job to strengthen your analytical and experimental skills. Your university was well equipped with experimental facilities so you have good practical training working in a lab, as well as a firm theoretical basis and can select relevant methods and stay safe while doing experiments.

You have an analytical mind and are able and willing to express your thoughts through both writing and speaking. You are extremely motivated and will take the responsibility needed to successfully complete your studies.

A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming into contact with current research and prominent researchers in the respective international field.


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Chemistry as the main field of study.

All specialisations of this programme

Bild på student
Read the interview
Bild på student

Name: Alenka Križan
From: Slovenia
Studied: Master’s Programme in Chemistry – Physical Chemistry, study years 2018-2020

How did you choose your programme?
Having had a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, I was choosing between various specialisations within the field of chemistry. While working on my Bachelor’s thesis project in inorganic chemistry, I had realised that I find the phenomena physical chemistry focuses on the most intriguing. This programme and the list of courses included in the Master’s programme in physical chemistry at Uppsala University convinced me to choose this specialisation.

What is it like to be an international student?
I can hardly imagine a place more suitable and welcoming for international students. Everyone is fluent in English (and also very willing to speak it). Lots of international people live in Uppsala, so everyone is used to people coming from different cultures and I never felt like an outsider. Some Master’s programmes (for example mine) even have the majority of students coming from outside of Sweden. The university and the student nations organise a lot of events designed for meeting other students at the beginning of the study year and it didn’t take long before I knew many students and started to feel at home.

What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University?
There are a lot of good things so it’s difficult to choose one. Apart from having the opportunity to be taught by great professors, having in-depth and well-planned courses, meeting other students who are very interested in their studies and eager to learn and getting to know people from different cultures, the best thing about my studies is the love for chemistry and science that Uppsala University gave me. Before starting my Master’s, I perceived chemistry as something quite interesting, but not something I would ever think about in my free time or consider as my hobby. Now, studying and doing research in chemistry means entering this amazing and mysterious world of fascinating systems and phenomena that follow the laws of nature. I really like to explore this world and chemistry has become more of my favourite hobby.

What’s unique about your programme?
That’s hard to say. I was always quite certain my track was the one I wanted to follow and therefore didn’t have the need to compare it with other programmes. One thing I found great was that there are many very good research groups working in the field of physical chemistry. When looking for Master’s thesis project, you have a wide range to choose from.

How would you describe the relationship between you and your teachers at the university?
The overall relationship was very good. The professors were encouraging, supportive and always willing to answer any questions, from the very basic to the more advanced ones. They were open to any student suggestions and they never acted superior to us. I felt like the effort I put into my studies was being acknowledged and appreciated.

How is your student life and what is your best experience so far?
The student life in Uppsala is amazing and is one of the best parts of my Master’s studies. Uppsala is a student city with a big part of life revolving around the University and the students. There are numerous events and organised activities so that everyone can find something they like and get the chance to meet other students. Since many students move to Uppsala from far away, it’s very easy to find people wanting to hang out and eager to explore Uppsala and Sweden, try out new things and make new friends.

What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
The reason for continuing with the Master’s studies is getting more in-depth knowledge within the chosen specialisation of chemistry and at the same time obtaining a higher degree of education. After I had done my Master’s thesis project and enjoyed the research work a lot, continuing with PhD studies felt like the only logical step for me. My ultimate goal is finding a job that I’m very interested in, that challenges me and allows me to explore something yet unexplained or unknown.

Autumn 2020

Register your interest


During the first semester you will study chemistry courses which provide you with the theoretical and experimental skills needed for the subsequent semesters, Some of these courses are common to other specialisations in the Master Programme in Chemistry. The semester ends with a profile course in physical chemistry.

The second semester, you will take courses in different areas of physical chemistry, including photochemistry, catalysis and advanced electrochemistry.

The third semester you will have a course in statistical thermodynamics and simulation methods, as well as an advanced course in laser spectroscopy taught by leading experts in the field.

Given the close connection to research, these courses often provide the inspiration for a degree project of 30 credits or 45 credits which ends the programme

Some examples of Master's thesis titles spring 2020:

  • L. van Turnhout: Plasmonic monohybrid catalysts for selective reduction reactions
  • A. Križan: Time-resolved IR spectroscopic studies on FeFe Hydrogenase mimicking a reduction catalyst
  • R. Herboth: Free energy sampling of amino acids in water

Courses within the programme

See outline for courses within the specialisation.

Learning experience

Theory and practical work are always interwoven into the courses, and instruction takes place in the form of lectures, laboratory work, problem-solving, seminars, and projects.

The lecturers are active researchers who will coach you to adopt a scientific approach in your work, where you will develop the necessary skills to solve problems, think critically and analytically, plan and formulate research problems, and independently carry out the necessary experiments and analyse as well as interpret the results.

In seminars, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates a course book or work you have conducted; while the teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills which will be required in your future professional development. All students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.

You will also receive systematic training in both oral and written presentations as an integrated part of the courses. The ability to communicate well will be very important in your future career.

The language of instruction is English.


A degree from Uppsala University will give you close connection to excellent and world-leading research and you will have the opportunity to develop a personal contact network.

Surveys have shown that the labour market for chemists with a degree from Uppsala University is excellent, with 97% of those who obtained their degree during the last ten years are either employed or undertaking doctoral studies.

A Master of Science in Chemistry from Uppsala University will provide you with many opportunities to build an exciting future career in academia, in industry, the public sector, or in entrepreneurship. Not only will you gain the knowledge and ability to perform special and advanced tasks in chemistry, you will also be qualified for positions in many other areas where problem-solving, abstract thinking and analytical ability are required.

Possible career paths can vary. You may work with:

  • Research and development
  • Production processes
  • Analysis of materials
  • Management of safety and legal issues
  • Patenting of inventions
  • Marketing and sales
  • Environmental and sustainability issues
  • Developing new and improved methods for quality control

Salary in Sweden can vary greatly depending on education level, work task, previous experience, location, sector, etc. According to one of the largest Swedish work union SACO's statistics of salary in Sweden in 2021, newly graduated students in chemistry earned between SEK 25 000 and SEK 35 000 per month before tax.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.


Below you will find details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what general documents you need to submit, check the application guide. Besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit one programme-specific document: a statement of purpose (1 page).

Physical Chemistry

120 credits

Autumn 2023, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 16 January 2023

Application code: UU-M1613 Application

Language of instruction: English


Academic requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Also required is 90 credits in chemistry and physics, of which at least 60 credits must be in chemistry.

Language requirements

Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72,500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290,000

Contact and further resources

Is this programme right for you?


For programme-specific information, please contact the study counsellor.

+46 18 471 37 92

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Programme coordinator

+46 18 471 37 92

Department of Chemistry - BMC

Husargatan 3, Uppsala

Box 576, SE-751 23 Uppsala