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Physics and Astronomy: Biophysics and Biophotonics (track)
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Study programme

This Master's track was formerly known as Physics of Life and Health.

In this two-year Master’s programme you  tailor your own study programme according to your academic interests, in consultation with the Programme Manager and with your research thesis supervisors. The programme is then submitted to the examination committee for approval.


In the first year, you follow courses in physics, biophysics, and biomedical physics. Some courses are approached from a fundamental perspective, whereas others offer  deeper insights in real-world examples extracted from the experience of the participating research departments. Choosing the elective courses, students can build a profile focused on biophysics (mainly addressing the physics of molecules and cells), on preclinical research (often combining cutting-edge technology expertise with the physics behind cells and tissues), or on biomedical physics (concentrating more on medical imaging techniques and/or computational imaging algorithm).  If you are interested in keeping a broader profile, you can alternatively opt for a less focused selection as well.

​Compulsory courses

Every student must follow Light Tissue Interaction (6 EC) and Soft Condensed Matter and Biological Physics (6 EC). 

You will choose at least 18 EC from the following list of courses:

  • Statistical Physics of Soft and Living Matter
  • Dynamics of Biomolecules and Cells
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Nanophotonics
  • Mathematica for Physicists
  • Parameter Estimation in Medical and Biological Sciences
  • Biomedical Modelling and Simulation
  • Stochastic Simulation
  • Advanced Medical Technology
  • Physics of Organs 1: Cardio-pulmonary Physics
  • Physics of Organs 2: Sensory Organs and Bioelectricity
  • Advanced Medical Image Processing
  • Advanced 3D & 4D Medical Imaging

Academic Skills and Project Based Courses

You must follow one or two courses (for a total of 6 EC) on Academic Skills and one or two courses (for a total of 6 EC) on personal or laboratory projects, such as the Laboratory Challenge project, Advanced MRI training, Advanced Spectroscopy training, or a literature review study.

Research Project

The programme includes an extensive one-year research project, which is usually conducted in one of the associated research groups. The results of the project are then summarized in a thesis and discussed in a public presentation in front of field experts.

Bring your own device

All students enrolled in the Physics and Astronomy Master's programme are requested to bring their own laptop. More information on specific system requirements can be found here.

Accreditation and title

This track is a specialisation of the Master's programme Physics and Astronomy, which has been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). Upon successful completion of the programme (a total of 120 ECTS), students will receive a legally recognised Master's degree in Physics and Astronomy and the title of Master of Science (MSc).

Majors and minors

At the UvA  you can choose to do your Master’s programme with a society-/ business-oriented major or minor that focuses on other skills than doing research. In this case you will follow the programme of your chosen scientific discipline during the first year of your Master’s (although slightly adjusted), and a society-/ business-oriented major or minor during the second year. You will graduate as a Master of Science. If you have the ambition to do a professional specialisation make sure to inform about conditions early in your Master's programme.   

Pre-Master's programme

If you lack the required knowledge and skills to be admitted to the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy, you can close the gap in our pre-Master’s programme.