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Master of science in Physical Engineering

Master of science in Physical Engineering

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  • Programme title
    Master of science in Physical Engineering
  • Programme mnemonic
  • Programme organised by
    • Brussels School of Engineering
  • Degree type
    Master 120 credits
  • Tier
    2nd cycle
  • Field and branch of study
    Sciences and technics/Engineering sciences
  • Schedule type
  • Languages of instruction
  • Theoretical programme duration
    2 years
  • Campus
  • Category / Topic
    Sciences and technics - Sciences and technics
  • Jury Presidents
    Johan GYSELINCK and Pierre-Etienne LABEAU
  • Jury Secretary
    Simon-Pierre GORZA



General information

Degree type

Master 120 credits

Theoretical programme duration

2 years

Learning language(s)


Schedule type




Category(ies) - Topic(s)

Sciences and technics - Sciences and technics

Organising faculty(s) and university(ies)

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The Physics Engineering curriculum provides a thorough understanding of the physical phenomena at work in the most advanced technologies. This in-depth approach not only aims at understanding these technologies, but also at improving them through innovation, both at the academic and industrial levels. Curriculum participants are given a strong grounding in microscopic physics, which involves studying quantum physics and its applications in atomic, molecular, nuclear and solid state physics. Other major fields of physics such as photonics are also covered, as are advanced mathematics and information technology. The curriculum has a broad approach, typical of University Engineering studies in Belgium, so that successful graduates can seek employment in a wide diversity of fields.

The programme includes a number of lecture classes that make up around half of the total hours. The other half is split between assignments, lab work, and projects. The practical component evolves between the 3rd year of the Bachelor and the 2nd year of the Master, gradually giving students more independence with a mandatory individual project (5 credits) in the 1st year of the Master, then an optional work placement (10 credits) in the 2nd year. One of the goals of this progression is for students to gain a number of essential skills that will help them complete their dissertation: this is an initiation to scientific research, whether at the Brussels School of Engineering or in another institution (research centre, private company, other faculty of university, etc.). The dissertation counts for 20 credits, may be related to the 10 credit work placement, and may be the beginning of a PhD thesis.

Several courses include visits to research centres (nuclear energy research centre in Mol, CERN, etc.) and companies (nuclear power plants, etc.). Opportunities for Erasmus exchanges (for one term or a full year), as well as for a joint degree, are the same as in other programmes offered by the Brussels School of Engineering.

This programme gives graduates a strong polytechnic background—enabling them to work as as as generalist engineers in any field of applied sciences—, along with solid knowledge of physics—paving the way for a PhD in fundamental or applied physics. The nuclear engineering programme is specific to ULB, and graduates are very sought after both in Belgium and abroad. Students in this program can complete the 2nd year of the Master in France, at the National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology.

ULB's Master in Physical Engineering is based on advanced knowledge of the physical phenomena upon which cutting-edge technologies are built as well as on advanced applied mathematics. In the first year of the Master, in addition to general courses on applied mathematics, such as numerical methods, reliability and safety, introductory classes on atomic and nuclear physics are given alongside more applied classes such as on laser physics, microscopy, plasma or nuclear reactor physics. Students also complete a project in a company or a research laboratory. The second year of the Master lets students pick between four options (photonics, medical radiophysics, mathematical modeling of systems, quantum applications), which can be  combined with each other,and they may also do a internship in a company and choose a large number of elective courses. Lastly, the master thesis lets them venture into fundamental and applied research in a wide range of areas (industrial applications, experimental physics, etc.). 

Erasmus exchange in year 1 or year 2 of the Master programme

Joint degrees (Centrale Paris, Supélec, Polytechnic University of Milan, Supaéro, VUB, etc.)

Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (Saclay, Cadarache), year 2 of the Master

Institut Supérieur Industriel de Bruxelles

Université des Sciences et Techniques de Lille


Access conditions


The Physics Engineering curriculum is ideally started from the third year of the bachelor degree, with an optional course module in physics. The latter consists in mathematics, numerical analysis and quantum physics courses, complementary to the ones of the first two years. This module also introduces solid-state, semiconductor and optics physics lectures. The Physics Engineering master is however accessible to engineering bachelors with other orientations.

The Master curriculum itself consists in a first mandatory year, with teaching modules in applied mathematics, microscopic physics, physical and nuclear engineering. Students also have to choose a technical project taking place outside the University, possibly as an internship or in development aid. The second year first consists in a master thesis. This in-depth introduction to scientific or technical research can be conducted either inside the École polytechnique or outside (industry, research centre, other faculty or university...). In addition, a minimum of three courses have to be chosen either in the photonics, the medical radiophysics, the mathematical modelling of systems, the quantum applications options. All other courses are optional. They can in particular be chosen in other Master degrees of the École polytechnique or in the fundamental physics department.

A 3-month internship can also be achieved, possibly coupled to the master thesis, as well as a team-leader project.

What's next ?


Job opportunities directly targeted through the curriculum are

  • high-end industrial research

  • applied and fundamental scientific research (academic institutions and research centers in Belgium and abroad)

  • nuclear industry and associated companies

  • nuclear control and medical radiation physics

  • medical engineering and technology

  • optical telecommunications and photonics

However, in practice job opportunities for Physics Engineers are extremely diverse. They also include all industrial sectors where physics and applied mathematics are present:

  • telecommunications

  • environmental technologies

  • microelectronics

  • data processing

as well as economic sectors where modeling capabilities are particularly appreciated, especially

  • the banking and financial sectors

  • the insurance sector.