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Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Are you fascinated by abstract mathematics and theoretical physics? Do you long for a more precise understanding of the fundamental laws of physics? Do you wonder about the deep role of topology and geometry in theories of nature, such as gauge theory and quantisation?

Mathematical disciplines like Lie theory, differential geometry and representation theory are entangled with modern theoretical physics. Nowadays mathematicians study integrable systems from condensed matter physics, while physicists study Lie groups from mathematics. Researchers of mathematical physics (also at the UvA) have recently discovered unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields, such as string theory, quantum gravity, number theory and group theory.

The three-year double Master's degree programme in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the UvA gives you the opportunity to study both fields and to search for answers to deeply fundamental questions. Completing this study programme will put you in the unique position to be able to communicate high-level research between these areas. Moreover, at the UvA you are taught and supervised by mathematics and physics professors of international recognition, such as Miranda Cheng, Nicolai Reshetikhin and Erik Verlinde.

The programme

The double Master’s programme is a high-level, exciting three year programme. It focuses on the theoretical aspects of mathematics and physics, and their interaction. The study load is 180 EC. 

Upon completion of the programme you will receive a Master's degree in both Mathematics (UvA) and Physics and Astronomy (joint degree of UvA and VU). 

Compulsory courses

  • Differential Geometry
  • Lie Groups and Lie Algebras
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Statistical Physics & Condensed Matter Theory 1
  • A joint course with teachers from both Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. In 2017-2018 the course will be Topology in Physics
  • From 2018-2019: A joint seminar in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. 

Constrained choice and elective courses

In addition to the compulsory courses you choose constrained choice courses in Physics (12 EC) and Mathematics (44 EC). Because of the Mastermath programme, a wide range of courses is offered. Examples of possible elective courses are String Theory, Riemann Surfaces, General Relativity. There are also more specialised courses such as Poisson geometry, Topological Field Theory (TFT) and Moduli Spaces and Quantum Computing. 

Master's project and thesis

You will conclude your Master's programme with an integrated research project (72 EC). Your progress will be supervised by staff members from both study programmes. The project culminates in your Master's thesis and an oral presentation of your results during a public colloquium.

Entry requirements

You are ambitious and have a strong background in both Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Preferably you have a Bachelor’s degree in both Mathematics and Physics. Students with a degree in either of them, excellent grades and demonstrable knowledge of the other field, are also encouraged to apply. 


To apply for this double Master’s programme, please apply for the Master’s programme Mathematics (UvA) AND the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy: Theoretical Physics track

An intake interview can be part of the application procedure.