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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.

Detailed course information

For detailed information regarding the curriculum and courses, please see the UvA Course Catalogue via the link below. 

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.

  • Leading research groups

    The track Biophysics and Biophotonics 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:

    • the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
    • the Netherlands Cancer Institute
    • the Amsterdam Movement Sciences Institute
    • the Academic Center of Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA).

    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)

Extra scholarships available

For Physics and Astronomy only, we have in addition to our regular Amsterdam Science Talent Scholarships, extra scholarships available for excellent (non-Dutch) EU/EER students. The Amsterdam Physics and Astronomy Scholarship.

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.

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.   

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).

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.