How fast are light or sound? Why does the apple fall down? Physics answers questions like these. Like no other science, it has shaped our understanding of fundamental natural phenomena. In practice, research results from physics form the basis for countless technical applications.

The field of study at a glance

Findings about the structure of atoms, the discovery of black holes or the connections between space and time – physics observes natural phenomena and describes them using mathematical models and theories.

While experimental physics specializes in observation and measurement, theoretical physics is dedicated to model and theory development. The intensive collaboration between both areas leads to a progressive understanding of nature and enables diverse forms of application and use. More recent examples of the implementation of physical research into technical applications include semiconductor technology, optoelectronics, nanotechnology and laser technology. Mathematics is the most important auxiliary science for physicists.

Course offered

Studying physics teaches the theoretical and experimental basics. The students are introduced to modern research methods and are thus enabled to carry out independent scientific work. This enables future physicists to apply and further develop physical knowledge and methods.

In recent years, a number of interdisciplinary courses have been created in the field of applied physics to enable subject specializations.

  • Astrophysics, with the physical research of celestial bodies (planetary system, sun, fixed stars, interstellar matter) and space, is the main focus of astronomy.
  • The interdisciplinary study of biophysics deals with the application of physical and physico-chemical methods to research elementary and complex life processes. It combines basic biological-chemical training with physical-mathematical training and also includes the basics of computer science.
  • Medical physics deals with technical solutions in diagnostics and therapy. These include imaging procedures such as X-rays, computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as therapeutic measures such as radiation therapy or the use of laser and UV rays.

Contents of the course

The bachelor's degree provides basic training in experimental and theoretical physics, mathematics and other physical and non-physical subjects (e.g. chemistry and computer science). In addition, there are university-specific areas of specialization as well as the teaching of experimental and theoretical working methods (e.g. handling physical devices, use of computers, measurement and evaluation procedures). In addition to lectures, exercises and internships are the most important forms of teaching.

The master's program offers specialized training in several sub-subjects of physics. It is shaped by the scientific profile of the university and the physics department and is divided into a specialist in-depth phase and a research phase in which a scientific question is addressed independently.

Career opportunities after graduation

Physicists work in universities and research institutions as well as in industry, for example in materials research, in energy technology, in mechanical and device engineering, in medical (technology), in the semiconductor industry or in the optical/optoelectronic industry. Many physicists also work in related technical and scientific professions, such as computer scientists, mathematicians or engineers. Other areas of activity include patents and science journalism.

Freelancing is also an option, especially as an appraiser and expert.

Astronomers predominantly work in public service, particularly at astronomical research institutions (university observatories with affiliated institutes, research institutes) as well as at public observatories and planetariums.

Biophysicists work at universities and research institutes as well as in research departments in industry. They also find employment in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and with manufacturers of medical devices.