Physics and Astronomy: Physics of Life and Health (track)

In the two-year track Physics of Life and Health in the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy, a joint degree with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you will use the language of physics to explore the secrets of life processes. Supported by the cutting-edge technologies available in our laboratories and by a series of theoretical classes delivered by our enthusiastic staff members, you can dive into the fascinating world of DNA unfolding, protein function, cell mechanics, tissue engineering, and organ function. You will learn about photonics and its use in the development of new imaging techniques; or you can choose to deepen your knowledge in the application of physics in the area of biomedical imaging and therapy, in close collaboration with the medical doctors of the two academic medical centers of Amsterdam. After this programme, you can continue an exciting career in an academic research institute, apply for a post-graduation training to become a clinical physicist, work in hospitals, schools, or the private sector.

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Is Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam the track for me?

If you enjoy working in a multidisciplinary environment where you are challenged to bridge fundamental physics and life sciences, Physics of Life and Health is the track for you. Building on your previous knowledge in mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, quantum mechanics, and mathematics, in the first year you will attend a series of classes that will strengthen your physics background while expanding your knowledge in life related topics.

In the second year, you will choose the subject of your research internship, where you will have the opportunity to work side by side with leading research professionals. Thanks to the extended number of collaborating institutes, we can offer internships in all the areas of Physics of Life and Health, from single molecule to patients, from very fundamental to bed-side.

What does Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam have to offer me?

The track Physics of Life and Health in Amsterdam is unique in that it involves leading research groups from the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Amsterdam, as well as the two academic hospitals (AMC, University of Amsterdam; and VUmc, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and other research institutes in Amsterdam, including:

Thanks to this broad network, we can offer you the opportunity to learn what it is like to work in multidisciplinary research teams where physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers and medical professionals come together to further develop and improve the underlying physical principles, theories and methods for, for instance:

  • Quantitative functional monitoring and imaging of living tissue
  • Biomedical imaging, molecular and cellular biophysics and photonics
  • Diagnosis and monitoring (such as optical coherence tomography and magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Research in molecular and cellular biophysics (such as single-molecule fluorescence, optical tweezers, stimulated emission depletion microscopy and femtosecond spectroscopy)

Joint degree programme with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Physics of Life and Health is a track in the Master's programme Physics and Astronomy, a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Courses are taught at locations of both universities. UvA and VU jointly issue a degree certificate in Physics and Astronomy to graduates. As a Physics and Astronomy student in Amsterdam you benefit from expertise, networks and research projects at both universities and affiliated research institutes.

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Degree programme
MSc Physics and Astronomy
Regular study programme
120 ECTS, 24 months
Language of instruction
Starts in
CROHO code

Published by  Faculty of Science