Specialization alternative in computational physics



The purpose of the specialization alternative in computational physics is to train physicists who are able to solve problems by programming, and thus to satisfy the ever growing need of industry and universities for researchers with programming skills.

Major subject for those who choose the specialization alternative can be either physics or theoretical physics. If requested, students graduating from the specialization alternative can be given a certificate stating that he or she has carried out studies in computational physics and has skills to solve problems in science by programming.

Structure of the studies


  • Prerequisite for the specialization alternative is Scientific computing II / Tieteellinen laskenta II (programming in Fortran).
  • A suitable background course is Scientific computing I (basics of programming and numerical calculations).
  • Certain courses at the Department of Computer science may be useful, too:
  • Course Scientific programming deepens the C programming skills. However, its future is uncertain.
  • LaTeX course organized by the department of mathematics might be useful, too.
  • Studies of the specialization alternative

  • Graduating in the specialization alternative in computational physics involves two mandatory courses:
  • In addition, you have to take at least 15 ECTS credit points among the computational physics courses listed in the table below. As you see from the titles, most of them are or can be lectured in English.
  • It is also possible to replace the courses above, or accept as new courses, computational science studies done elsewhere. This is done on a case-by-case basis, but as a general rule of thumb almost any University level computational science (note that this is not the same thing as computer science) course is likely to be acceptable. Contact the coordinator Kai Nordlund about this, preferably as early as possible.
  • Many of the courses presented below are part of the MoMoNano master's program.
  • If your are interested in a course that has no next lecture time marked please indicatge your interest to the coordinator Kai Nordlund so that possibilities of organizing the course can be explored.

  • Wish list of new courses:
  • Subject
    Possible lecturer
    Number of people interested
    Interatomic interaction models and their construction Kai Nordlund 1

    If you are interested in any of these, please email professor Nordlund and you will be added to the list.

    It is recommended that part of the advanced studies is from other filed than computational physics.

    Special assignment

    In the special assignment the student is required to write and document a program that solves a suitably sized problem in physics. The assignment is graded based on the proper functioning of the program and on the clarity of the source code and documentation. The purpose of the assignment is to ascertain that the student really masters independent problem solving by computational methods.

    The prgram must be written to work in the Unix/Linux environment and by using one of the most common programming languages; preferably Fortran, C or C++). The reason for choosing the Unix/Linux environment is that most of large scale scientific computation is performed in this environment.

    Titles for the assignment are given by professor Kai Nordlund and university lecturer Antti Kuronen. You may also choose a title of your own. In that case contatc Kai Nordlund before starting.

  • More information on the assignment
  • Studies in other universities

    You may include studies from other universities to the specialization alternative. In the Helsinki region at least the Department of Applied Physics and Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science in the Aalto University have education of the field. The Finnish supercomputing center CSC also has occasionally courses that can be accepted to the specialization alternative. However, in this case the student has to contact the coordinator to agree on the number of credit points.

    People responsible for the teaching in the specialization alternative

    Dos. Antti Kuronen ja prof. Kai Nordlund

    Page maintained by university lecture Antti Kuronen

    Last modified: Tue May 26 12:31:28 EEST 2015