Department profile

Faculty of Science

Utrecht University
2017/18 edition

About Faculty of Science

Utrecht University's Faculty of Science stands for world-class research and innovative education and is the largest science faculty of the Netherlands, with over 5,700 students and 1,400 employees. The Faculty offers research expertise and opportunities across all departments, from Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Information and Computing Sciences to Pharmacy.

Our Faculty of Science has worldwide recognition for its excellent research, which is invariably carried out in close collaboration with social partners and industry. The faculty employs many internationally renowned scientists including a number of Spinoza and ERC winners. Amongst the bright minds currently working within the academic team is Professor Gerard ‘t Hooft, who in 1999 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The faculty offers a wide variety of educational programmes in both Natural and Life Sciences and our students are at all times challenged to get the most out of their talents. It’s a huge privilege to pass on our knowledge and expertise to help create the next generation of scientists.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a fast-paced and challenging field that’s making visible inroads into our everyday life. As a graduate of our AI Master’s programme you’ll have a solid understanding of the logical, philosophical, and cognitive foundations of AI research. You’ll also acquire a strong overview of the main AI techniques and an in-depth understanding of how to apply these techniques in at least one of the areas within multi-agent systems, reasoning, or cognitive processing.

The Master’s in Business Informatics combines theory, methods, and techniques from business and organisational science with the tools and practices of information and computing science. Our interdisciplinary approach addresses key issues currently faced by organisations and business managers across the globe.

This research orientated programme covers the advanced concepts, software design methods, problem-solving techniques, and analytic skills necessary to create information driven systems and applications for our diverse society. Our Computing Science graduates are in high demand and have in the past moved into careers at companies such as Google, Philips and KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) amongst others.

This Master’s programme in Game and Media Technology provides students with both fundamental and applied knowledge of the techniques for handling spatial data. Students will gain the skills to perform research, analyse, and solve scientific problems, as well as keep up with progress in research within the fields of geometry, imaging, and virtual environments.

The Master’s programme in Climate Physics offers a unique combination of theoretical courses and practical training in all aspects of the Earth’s climate. You’ll study the physics, dynamics, and chemistry of the atmosphere, oceans, and cryosphere – as well as explore their interactions.

As an Experimental Physics student you’ll receive advanced training in the fundamental scientific theories that describe the world around us. In addition students will also examine the design and use of advanced instrumentation required to study these theories.

The research Master’s degree programme in Theoretical Physics is a gateway to understanding the fascinating world of physics, ranging from the unimaginably small scales of elementary particles to the vast dimensions of our universe. Our highly rated research programme equips students with the knowledge and skills to describe space-time and elementary particles, as well as macroscopic and microscopic phenomena in quantum and soft matter.

Nanomaterials Science is a two-year multidisciplinary programme in which students will explore the subject areas of catalysis, colloid science, and nanophotonics. The programme will provide a solid theoretical background and help students to develop the experimental skills necessary to perform high-level research. Coursework is thus combined with research, allowing students the opportunity to put theory into practice.

The Master’s programme in Mathematical Sciences, enables students to engage in the core activities of mathematics whilst discovering new patterns, and relationships whilst learning to construct models with predictive power. Students will also study the science of structures within the different branches of the physical sciences. Our Institute of Mathematical Sciences offers a versatile, international learning environment at the intersection of fundamental and applied research.

The Master’s programme in History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) offers a unique opportunity to study the foundations, practices, and culture of the sciences and humanities from a historical and philosophical perspective. Our two-year research programme addresses the historical development of scientific thought and practice with a broad approach that investigates the interplay of science or the humanitites with cultural, social, and institutional factors. Students will also learn to analyse the structure and concepts of theories such as relativity, quantum mechanics, evolution, and modern genetics.


About the University

Since Utrecht University was founded in 1636, it has become the alma mater of many important academics and scientists who have contributed greatly to society. These include Nobel Prize winner Christiaan Eijkman, one of the first to discover vitamins, neuro-pharmacologist David de Wied and the most recent Nobel Prize winner, theoretical scientist Gerard ’t Hooft. Thanks to the contribution of our esteemed colleagues and academics, Utrecht University has proudly become a high quality research university. The Shanghai Ranking ranks Utrecht University as number one in the Netherlands and 65 in the world.

Students are encouraged to pursue their curiosity and be free to ask questions that will help them develop their full potential. As Master students, support and professionalism is given in order to achieve a critical view of their subject of interest.

Future career prospects

The career destinations of our students differ across the faculty and vary depending on the programme. Many of our students decide between pursuing work within the field of research by undertaking a PhD, whilst others follow a route directly into industry across a wide range of areas such as engineering, medicine, pharmacy, consultancy, education, finance for example.

English language support

You do not have to submit proof of English proficiency if you obtained your secondary school diploma and/or Bachelor's degree in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, USA or South Africa, or you obtained an IB Diploma or EB Diploma.

Those who are non native English speakers and for whom the above does not apply will need to provide evidence of their proficiency in English. The following requirements apply.

IELTS, Academic Module. Minimum score: 6.5 overall band, at least 6 for writing.
TOEFL, iBT. Minimum score: 93, institutional scores are not accepted (the TOEFL institution code for Utrecht University is 9062).
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, at least a B grade.
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, at least a C grade.

Facilities and support arrangements

There are two main Libraries: One located in the middle of the city centre, which is also an historical building, former palace of Lodewijk Napoleon. The second and largest library is located in the Uithof, only 15 min away from the city centre. It was voted as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world by the BBC.

Utrecht University provides ample study spots and quiet areas for studying both during exam periods and throughout the semester. The latest publications, reference books and study materials are available both in hard copy, as well as in a digital online version. Computers and printers can be accessed by all students together with free Wi-Fi access at all our locations. Private quiet study rooms can also be reserved via the Library website.

Fees, funding and costs

The fees will depend on each programme. In the Netherlands, there are two types of fees: Statuary Fees and Institutional Fees, which will be applied when different requirements are met. In general, the fee for EU-students is € 2,006, and € 15,167 for Non-EU students.

There are various ways to finance your studies, such as applying for a Grant, Scholarships or Study Finance (from the Dutch Government). As an EU/EEA-student in the Netherlands, it’s also possible to take on a part-time job to help cover your costs.

During your stay in Utrecht you can expect to spend between €800 and €1,000 a month on living expenses. Tuition fees are not included in this amount.


The University is located in Utrecht, only 27 minutes away from Amsterdam, where you will be able to enjoy a nice and quiet student life. Schiphol International Airport is 30 minutes away, London is one hour by plane. France and Germany are also easily accessible by train or road.


The University itself does not provide its own student accommodation. However, for our international students, Utrecht reserves a number of studios and rooms with SSH, a student housing foundation in Utrecht. In addition, students can also find their own accommodation within the city, such as a private studio or room in a shared apartment with other students.


“Utrecht, just 40km south of Amsterdam, is a compact city filled with delightful cafes and restaurants, thousands of students who attend the venerable Utrecht University, and many artists and musicians. Along the Oudegracht, the central canal, cellar-level bars and pubs line the towpath, which is a charming place to watch the boats and birds go by.” – BBC Living in: The World’s Happiest Places (October 2013)

Utrecht University and the city of Utrecht offer a lively environment where students can study and live. The city has a bustling student community made up of many different student organisations and societies. Utrecht University offers numerous extracurricular activities through its subsidiaries. This includes Parnassos cultural centre, where you can explore your talents in the performing arts, take a creative workshop or engage in other artistic pursuits. The Utrecht Science Park/De Uithof campus also offers the excellent Olympos sports facility for team sports and individual athletic endeavours.

The Dutch tend to have an international outlook on life. The majority of the population speaks English, regularly travels abroad, and is accustomed to having neighbours who may originally come from another country. At Utrecht University, some 118 nationalities work and study closely together. It’s easy to get by in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch since most people have at least a basic knowledge of English and are usually more than happy to use it.

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How to apply

The four steps in the application process are:

  1. Apply online for the programme of your choice via Studielink.
  2. You will receive an email with login details for OSIRIS Online Application, where you can upload the required documents. Here you will also be able to check the status of your application.
  3. Pay the application fee, if applicable.
  4. Once your application is complete, it will be processed and you will receive an admissions decision from the Graduate School.

Download the instructions for applying to a Master’s programme with a non-Dutch degree for more information.


Contact details

+31 30 253 7000
+31 30 253 2627
Admissions Office
Graduate Admissions
Postbus 80125
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