Physics Research Program

Structure of the program

Since we strive to support each student individually, the research program starts in the third or fourth semester. The first two or three semesters are completed as part of a regular physics bachelor's program at any university. During these semesters, the students interested in the program learn the required fundamentals and get used to university life.
After starting the research program in their third semester, participants attend an exclusive lecture on thermodynamics in Regensburg and a lecture on classical field theory in Erlangen. This constitutes a preparation for the integrated course, and the academic background of the students from both universities gets aligned. The remaining lectures are attended with co-students from the regular study program. Please note that the grades from “Experimental physics 3” and “Theoretical physics 2” will be counted towards the bachelor's degree grade.
The series of integrated lectures starts in the fourth semester. They will be held jointly by an experimental physicist and a theorist and are intended exclusively for participants of the research program. In the fourth semester, the integrated course takes place in Erlangen and covers quantum mechanics and atomic physics. The students are guaranteed a place in student housing. In the fifth semester, the participants study statistical physics and condensed matter physics in Regensburg. The series ends with the third integrated lecture in the sixth semester, which is offered in both Erlangen and Regensburg. It comprises the fundamentals of relativistic quantum physics, many-body theory and particle physics.
The series can be interrupted by a sabbatical semester starting in the sixth semester. Because the schedule is flexible, we will find an individual solution for each participant. In addition to the lectures, physics and non-physics electives are taken. The chosen electives depend on which lectures are offered by the respective university. The order in which the electives are taken is completely flexible.
In addition to their studies, participants work on four research projects. In Regensburg, students are exempt from participating in the second part of the advanced physics laboratories, and in Erlangen, students are exempt from the entire regular advanced physics laboratories. Three of these projects are designed to be worked on part-time during a period of about nine weeks in the corresponding research group at the university or the Max Planck Institute. A fourth project will form the basis of the bachelor's thesis (about 3 months of full-time work). The topics of the projects may be chosen freely by the participants depending on their interests. However, they must work on at least one project from the field of experimental physics and at least one project from the field of theoretical physics. The integrated course is supplemented by additional lectures offered at the university, which can be chosen freely.
After the sixth semester at the earliest, the research phase begins. It is possible to combine the master's thesis with the doctoral studies, which will immediately follow. The students choose an area of research for their master's thesis, which - if so desired - will form the basis of their doctoral dissertation. After completing the master's thesis, they are awarded the master's degree and a certificate of the Elite Network of Bavaria. Subsequently, they complete their dissertation project.
The study program is designed to end with the completion of the doctorate. Prior to that, the regular bachelor's and master's degrees will have been obtained. During the study phase, it is possible to switch to regular physics studies at any time. The achievements gained so far are taken into account so that no time is lost.

Modules of the Physics Research Program

Bachelor's degree

Semesters 1-3:
ModuleCredit points     Part of bachelor's degree grade?
Experimental physics A 14 CP yes
Theoretical physics I 16 CP yes
Lab course A 8 CP yes
Lab course B 8 CP yes
Mathematics 30 CP yes
Research Program preparation course =
Experimental physics III: Waves and quanta
7 CP yes
Complementary subject 16 CP yes

Subtotal 99CP
In the third semester, the lecture "Introduction to thermodynamics" (2+2 credit hours) is offered for participants of the Physics Research Program, which takes the place of the regular lecture "Experimental physics IV".
Semesters 4-6:
ModuleCredit points     Part of bachelor's degree grade?
Integrated courses I-III 3 * 16 CP = 48 CP yes
One subject module 8 CP yes
Bachelor's thesis 12 CP yes
Advanced lab course 8 CP no
Research seminars and seminar weeks in the fourth semester 3 CP no
Electives 2 CP no

Subtotal 81 CP

Total bachelor's degree: 180 CP

Master's degree

The master's degree takes place in semesters 5 to 8. This means that you will already be admitted to the master's degree program in your fifth semester on a trial basis. Bachelor's and master's degrees overlap for one year.
Module Credit points    Part of master's degree grade?   
Three subject modules and three associated projects 3*(8+6)= 42 CP yes
Research seminars in semesters 5-8 4*3= 12 CP no
Electives 6 CP no
Master's thesis + specialization 60 CP yes

Total master's degree: 120 CP

At the core of the Physics Research Program are thus the integrated courses and the four subject modules with their associated projects, one of which being more extensive and counted as the bachelor's thesis.


Many of our students work on research projects conducted with our partners. Currently, there are active collaborations with the following institutes and universities:
  • Australian National University
  • Berkeley
  • Cambridge
  • École polytechnique Paris
  • École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
  • ETH Zürich
  • Imperial College London
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Oxford
  • Princeton University
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Université de Marseille
  • Université de Paris
  • Weizmann Institute
Last modified: 19th Oct, 2015 by Webmaster