When I started the Applied Physics programme at TU Delft, I had not thought much about future career prospects. I knew I was drawn to physics, but wasn’t sure whether applied or theoretical physics was a better fit. During an open day for the programme in Delft, my choice became clear. I choose Applied Physics because this programme combines fundamental physics with engineering, giving students hands-on experience in laboratory research as well as analytical thinking skills.
Throughout my time in Delft, I enjoyed the technical component of the study. However, I noticed that the program lacked a focus on theoretical particle physics and astrophysics, which greatly drew my interests at the time. Together with my desire for a broader international experience, this led me to apply for a Theoretical Physics MSc. programme abroad. I moved to Sweden to continue my studies at Lund University.
Shortly after starting in Lund, I gained a new appreciation for my BSc. Applied Physics. Not only did I have a significant advantage over the other students when it came to practical and experimental skills, but I was the only one who had learned to write a an academic paper. In addition, my theoretical fellow students had never built measuring equipment and had not learned much programming. Furthermore, I was often the first student to think about potential technical applications of a theory, and the value of technology in the economy. Of course, I also discovered that I lacked some (theoretical) knowledge. In my entire Bachelor's programme, I had never learned anything about elementary particle physics, nuclear physics or atomic physics, for example. Perhaps the most notable difference however, was the sense of work ethic I had developed in Delft. It was clear to me that the fast pace and high level at TU Delft ensured that I was able to work much harder than many other students in my Master's programme, and I believe that my BSc. prepared me well for my time abroad.
I can state with certainty that I am very happy with my choice for Applied Physics at TU Delft. Even though the strong technical nature of the program means certain courses on theoretical physics may be less central, I am convinced that all of the practical knowledge and applied thinking skills that I learned are extremely valuable to me.