Programme Description

Study objectives

The objective of the Master's degree is to provide you with advanced academic training in the fields of nuclear and particle physics. Depending on your interests and skills you can choose to complete your master's studies with different profiles, specializing in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics or in experimental or theoretical particle physics. The master studies give you a holistic view of nuclear and particle physics to critically, independently and creatively identify, formulate and deal with complex issues resulting in a capability to contributing to research and development work. Such training and skills are suitable for a wide range of professional careers, including that of an academic researcher.

A student completing the program will possess a subset of the following skills (dependent on course selection choices, list not exhaustive):

  • Masters the basics of quantum field theory and is able to apply it in particle physics phenomenology
  • Is familiar with the elements of the general relativity
  • Understands the standard model of cosmology, the structure of the universe at large scales and the thermal history of the early universe
  • Has knowledge of the neutrino physics phenomena and basic theoretical formalism
  • Is experienced in using numerical methods at a level that gives ability to apply them in wider contexts
  • Has learned particle physics and cosmology at a level sufficient for graduate studies in any other university
  • Is familiar with a number of models of nuclear structure
  • Can identify different types of excitations in nuclear level schemes
  • Can use existing data bases to estimate radiation and dose levels and their time development
  • Can use data bases to estimate energy deposition and heating issues related to applications of nuclear physics in various fields such as medicine and energy production
  • Will be able to predict the outcome (products and their yields) of different types of nuclear reactions
  • Will be able to build and use basic detector set-ups for activity and half-life measurements
  • Will be able to monitor radiation levels and build radiation shields
  • Will be able to build and use simple vacuum systems for measuring energies of ionizing particles

The language of instruction

All courses are taught in English. The majority of the literature is in English.

It is possible to include courses where the language of instruction is Finnish as optional or minor studies.

Study contents

In the Master's studies, you can specialize in

  • experimental or theoretical nuclear physics or
  • experimental or theoretical particle physics.

All students have one obligatory course in particle physics and one  in nuclear physics. I addition mandatory studies include research training, seminar and Master's thesis.  For completing your master’s thesis, you will perform a research project in one of the research groups of the particle and nuclear physics and learn necessary scientific skills of planning, implementing and reporting of a research project. The curriculum allows you to tune your degree according to your own interests and skills by offering a large variety of optional courses. In the field of nuclear physics, these are advanced level courses in nuclear physics, cyclotron physics, accelerator physics and techniques. Or you can specialize in techniques for nuclear and accelerator based physics experiments, nuclear astrophysics or nuclear fission and its applications. On the other hand if you are more interested in particle physics you may select courses like particle astrophysics, cosmology, quantum field therory and its applications or ultra-relativistic heavy ion physics.

Tuition fees

In Finnish universities, there are no tuition fees for EU/EEA citizens. Tuition fees concern only non-EU/EEA degree students who start their studies in English-taught Master's degree programmes in August 2017 or after that.

The tuition fee is 12 000 euros / academic year.

Please note that no tuition is charged if you:

  • are a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland
  • are in possession of a valid residence permit in Finland of the type A, P, P-EU, or EU Blue Card

University of Jyväskylä has scholarships available for students who are required to pay tuition fees. Scholarships are applied for when applying for the admission to the programme.

Additional information on tuition fees and scholarships is available on the JYU website.

Choosing a main subject or field of specialization

The major subject of your Master studies can be either physics or theoretical physics. At the beginning of your studies, you make a personal study plan, which is to be accepted by the Department of Physics. In the study plan, you select the courses for your Master studies according to your interests. If you select more theoretically oriented courses, the major of your degree will be threoretical physics, if, on the other hand, you are more interested in experimental techniques and applications, your major will be physics.

Structure of studies

Master's Studies is Nuclear and Particle Physics, 120 ETCS credits

  •  Major subject studies, 90 ETCS credits
    o Particle physics 8 ETCS credits
    o Nuclear physics 8 ETCS credits
    o Seminar 4 ETCS credits
    o Master's Thesis 30 ETCS credits 
    o Optional courses in nuclear and particle physics 40 ETCS credits
  •  Optional studies 25 ETCS credits
    o Optional studies in e.g. physics, mathematics so that the degree includes at least 120 ETCS credits

Final project

The learning objectives for a thesis include to give in-depth knowledge of the nuclear and particle physics, including deeper insight in the current research and development work. During the thesis work, you receive a capability to contribute to research and development work. The aim is that you also learn to present and discuss the findings of your work and have level of knowledge and arguments to discuss these findings in written and spoken English.

Depending on the subject the thesis can be either theoretical or experimentally oriented. You are entitled to guidance during the course of the work.

Career opportunities

There is an existing and continuing need for experts in nuclear and particle physics, not only in fundamental research but also in industry. The birth of new research facilities and experiments requires not only experimental, but also theoretical expertise in these fields. The need is at the international level, not just the national level. The pressure to reduce carbon emissions and increasing energy demands means that nuclear power is being reconsidered and even expanded in many countries. Again, these developments require experts to ensure safe operations, to avoid clandestine use of nuclear materials and to ensure an informed and reasonable discussion on the use of and exposure to radiation and radioactivity, both man-made and naturally occurring. The spin-offs and applications borne from fundamental research into nuclear and particle physics are manifold, and too numerous to discuss here. Examples are the use of radioisotopes in medicine and medical imaging, prospecting (oil, etc), explosive detection (neutron activation), the world-wide web, etc.

Also as mentioned above, training within an international-class research infrastructure brings with it a large number of other skills which enable graduates to be competitive in working life outside research and academia. Graduates from the Department of Physics have been generally successful in finding employment, and graduates from the Accelerator Laboratory have been sought after by other similar institutes due to their comparatively high level of experience.


The Accelerator Laboratory is one of the very few truly international infrastructures in Finland: Large number and variety of different nationalities works and studies at the department. Department of physics encourages students to leave for student exchange or to attend international trainee programmes.

Co-operation with other parties

Much of the research in Nuclear and Particle Physics relevant to the program offered by the Department of Physics is carried out under the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) Nuclear Matter Program and Theory Program.

The accelerator laboratory collaborates with he various research groups as wells as with the European space industry, national paper and wood industries, medical industry and many others.
Particle physics research includes active collaboration with the world-leading laboratories such as Brookhaven National Laboratory (PHENIX-experiment) and CERN (ALICE and LAGUNA experiments).

Research focus

Activities in Nuclear Physics cover both experimental and theoretical research in Nuclear and Accelerator-Based Physics and related applications. The various groups in the Accelerator Laboratory form a Centre of Excellence in Research nominated by the Academy of Finland for the period 2012-2017. The main focus is on the studies of new phenomena in nuclei at the extremes of existence. Applications and instrumentation are developed in-house for use in both research and industry. The Accelerator Laboratory is part of the Department of Physics of the University of Jyväskylä and is one of the leading stable-ion beam facilities in Europe and one of the very few truly international infrastructures in Finland. More information.

Particle physics activities at JYFL consist of both theoretical and experimental research. The main theoretical areas of study are physics Beyond the Standard Model, Cosmology, Neutrino Physics and the Physics of Ultra-relativistic Heavy Ion Collisions. Experimental research is carried out in Astroparticle and Cosmic Ray physics, Neutrino Physics, and Ultra-relativistic Heavy Ion Physics. There is close collaboration between the theoretical and experimental research groups. Particle physics research at JYFL is highly international, including active collaboration with the world-leading laboratories such as Brookahaven National Laboratory (PHENIX-experiment) and CERN (ALICE and LAGUNA experiments). More information.

Postgraduate study opportunities

Produces eligibility for postgraduate studies in Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, Applied Physics.