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From Newton's apple to black holes – in physics we try to understand the world using systematic experiments and observations. The focus of investigations in physics are not just bodies and the forces effecting them, but also other parameters, which cannot be directly perceived, such as the relationship between time and space.The development of physical theory always uses mathematical methods, whether it be simple proportional relationships such as Ohm's Law or the solutions to a multidimensional complex differential equation such as that describing the wave function of a hydrogen atom. Thus, the treatment of these topics requires an immense degree of abstraction and mathematical thinking ability.The course of study at RWTH encompasses all the different subareas of physics. While an elective minor allows insights into different areas of application, the bachelor thesis offers a first glance into the uniquely varied focus of the research in physics:

  • In elementary particle physics the building blocks of matter and any interactions between them are examined. A renowned success in this area of research, for instance, is the discovery of the Higgs Bosons at the European Organization for Nuclear Research facility, known as CERN, in collaboration with several RWTH physics departments.
  • Astroparticle physics and physical cosmology illuminate the origination and development of the universe. Dark matter is one of the topics of research, for instance, on the International Space Station, where, again in collaboration with RWTH, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiments help examine questions regarding the existence or essence of dark matter.
  • Condensed matter physics deals with the the complete range of physical properties from solid bodies down to atomic particles in order to reveal new perspectives for the application of research findings. As part of an EU-flagship program, RWTH physicists examine with other European partners, how the properties of graphs can be of use.
  • New materials and concepts for information processing are the topic of nanoelectronics. Here, quickly reacting, non-elusive storage media for energy efficient computer architectures are developed.
  • In the field of quantum information, research focuses on a new way of information processing, which pointedly uses the lack of definition found in quantum mechanics.
  • Quantum technology investigates the properties of quantum systems and explores how to utilize them, for example in novel quantum information processing applications.
  • Biophysics examines physical properties of biological systems or establishes physical methods to be used in the life sciences.
  • In the field of medical physics researchers attempt to optimize methods of medical diagnosis and therapy, for instance with regard to imaging techniques or radiation and laser therapy.
  • The focus of optics and laser physics lies in the development of new optical technologies, such as nano-optics.

Programme Structure


In this course of study there is particular emphasis on good and direct mentoring for the students.This is true not only with regard to practical experience, but it also applies to lectures. These are accompanied by exercise courses, in which small groups meet to discuss exercises as well as lecture topics.Within the scope of the bachelor thesis students can benefit from the interdisciplinary profile of RWTH.The thematic proximity to the engineering sciences allows for a choice between uniquely varied natural sciences topics in combination with technology. RWTH's collaboration with Forschungszentrum Jülich as part of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance, or JARA for short, also offers many starting points for bachelor theses.



Experimental Physics

Theoretical Physics Mathematics Practical Training
1 Mechanics, Relativity


Higher Mathematics I  
2 Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism Classical Mechanics Higher Mathematics II Data Processing
3 Optics, Quantum Physics Elektrodynamics Higher Mathematics III Basic Internship I
4 Atoms, Molecules, Nuclei Quantum Mechanics Higher Mathematics IV Basic Internship II
5 Solid-State Physics, Particles, Astrophysics Statististical Physics   Advanced Internship
6 Specialization Subject, Bachelor Thesis (3 months), Bachelor Presentation Colloquium

Entry Requirement

  • Abitur or equivalent HZB
  • Proficiency in German

Career Prospects

After receiving a solid foundation in the fundamental principles of physics along with a broad spectrum of topics during their studies, Physicists are active in a manner of diverse careers and have good chances in the job market. They are appreciated not only for their expert knowledge, but also for their problem solving abilities. They can grasp complex quantitative interrelations and develop systematic strategies for the solution of problems. They are also well experienced in working as part of a team and on projects.Graduates of RWTH profit in particular from the international aspects of the physics course of study as well as from the overall concept of the university with regard to interdisciplinary research and teaching.Physicists who decide to embark on an academic career can work at universities or other research facilities. RWTH offers them a challenging research environment, in which they can further solidify their scientific expertise to a high degree while at the same time achieving a doctoral degree. This especially serves to develop additional skills for their future professional careers.

In private enterprise, physicists work in the areas of research, development, strategic leadership, and business consulting. This encompasses all branches of industry – from software, semiconductor, medicine, and automobile to astronautics and space technology or laser technology and the optical goods industry.

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