Physical Chemistry - Master's Programme in Chemistry

Academic year 2021/2022

Photo for Physical Chemistry - Master's Programme in Chemistry 2021/2022

The specialisation offers a firm basis in advanced physical chemistry covering 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 in physical chemistry, as well as insight into theoretical and computational chemistry methods.

Why this programme?

The Master's Programme in Chemistry, specialising in Physical Chemistry, goes in depth into advanced aspects of physical chemistry and modern experimental techniques. You will meet lecturers and professors who are leading experts in areas like femtosecond laser spectroscopy, reaction dynamics, and electron transfer reactions applied to solar cells, artificial photosynthesis and photocatalysis.

The 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, e.g., the kinetics and mechanisms of electron transfer reactions in solar cells, photocatalysis, and artificial photosynthesis. Also included are the theoretical aspects and simulation methods related to, e.g., new materials. These are important research fields, and you will be well-equipped for either future research within academia or for research and development in industry.

It has been developed in cooperation with world leading research groups in this field at the university and you have the opportunity to do your degree project in ​a dynamic and world-class research environment, using state-of-the art equipment.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • get 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.
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. You will have a personal mentor who will invite you to seminars, group-meetings and other events in order to prepare you for your future career and you will meet PhD-students and post-docs who have come to Uppsala to be part of an excellent research environment to do cutting-edge research. 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 thesis, and to make contacts for your future career.

To give you even further experience in working in a research group, you can also choose the course 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. In any case you have not forgotten too much of your broad chemistry base. 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 in both writing and speaking. You are extremely motivated and willing to 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

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Read the interview
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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


Semester 1
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.

Semester 2, 3 and 4
During the second semester, you will take courses in different areas of physical chemistry, including photochemistry and advanced electrochemistry.

During the third semester you will have a course in statistical thermodynamics and simulation methods, as well as an advanced courses 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 that ends the programme

Some examples of recent Master's thesis titles:

  • J. Broszat: Ultrafast charge transfer dynamics of lead-free metal-halide solar cell materials
  • H. Leinenbach: Transparent solar cells with plasmonic materials
  • N. Eliasson: Ultrafast charge transfer dynamics of CuInS2 quantum dots as photosensitizers for molecular catalysts

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, and we coach you to adopt a scientific approach in your work where you will develop the necessary skills to solve problems, to think critically and analytically, to plan and formulate research problems, and to independently carry out the necessary experiments and to analyse and interpret the results.

On a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates regarding 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 also be very important in your future career.

The language of instruction is English.


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 being 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, or 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 2019, newly graduated students in chemistry earned between SEK 25 000 and SEK 35 000 per month before tax.

Our previous graduates today work at, for example, Cytiva (previously GE Healthcare), AstraZeneca, Cambrex, and Biotage, as Development Engineers, Principal or Research and Development Scientists, and Chemical Analysis Specialists, etc.

Meet some of our students and researchers in organic chemistry, and find out more about our research in chemistry.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


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

Physical Chemistry

120 credits

Autumn 2021, 100%, Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application deadline: 15 January 2021

Application code: UU-M1375 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
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).


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:

Department of Chemistry - BMC

Husargatan 3, Uppsala

Box 576, SE-751 23 Uppsala