"It is a privilege to have this much freedom of choice” – master's programme opened up top-notch research opportunities and career paths from electronics to machine learning

Appealing opportunities for interesting summer jobs and the prospect of conducting a thesis in a preferred subject drew Evren Korkmazgil to enroll in the Engineering Physics master's programme.
Evren Korkmazgil. Photo: Gavin Pugh / Aalto University

Evren Korkmazgil is majoring in materials physics and quantum technologies. Evren underlines that there are a lot of opportunities and a great deal of flexibility for students studying in the Engineering Physics programme. 

'Quite a few people take elective courses in the field of physics, but I also have many friends who choose minors in arts, engineering, or even business,' they explain. 

'It’s a privilege to have this much freedom to explore what motivates me the most. I can choose practical or more theoretical courses and contemplate on my own which areas I want to delve deeper into and what I actually enjoy doing.'

During the 2-year Engineering Physics Master’s programme, students acquire a profound understanding of physics and mathematics, coupled with highly adaptable skills. 

Studies in this programme open up a broad spectrum of potential career paths, such as working in climate change mitigation and energy transition, or for example focusing on electronics, semiconductors, or machine learning. Evren doesn’t have specific career plans yet, but says it is quite likely that they will pursue a research career.

'What I care about most is being able to come to work with motivation, excitement, and curiosity. I want to feel that I am part of the team and that my work aligns with my morals,' they envision. 

'I am learning a lot about how to be a better researcher, which is my number one priority. The Engineering Physics programme has also helped me internalize how important on-the-job-learning is in our field.' 

Currently, Evren is working on a master's thesis on the Casimir force in the Quantum NanoOptomechanics research group. Last summer, they gained practical work experience as a research assistant in the Quantum Nanomechanics group.

'I had never even heard of quantum optomechanics before I started my summer job. It is a field of physics that focuses on studying the interplay between light and mechanical motion,' Evren explains. 

'I was given the opportunity to work with the subject all summer, and plan and structure the research myself. I had ample guidance and support available if I needed it, but ultimately my task was to learn how to conduct research on my own. It was very exciting and broadened my horizons a lot.'

A collaborative environment gives you even more choice

Evren earned a bachelor’s degree from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. A number of reasons contributed to Evren’s decision to continue their studies at Aalto University. 

'The Aalto Physics department offers state-of-the-art research facilities in the areas I am most interested in.' 

'The student to professor and research group ratio is also very good. This meant I would have good opportunities to secure exciting summer jobs directly from one of our department’s research groups – and a more likely chance of conducting my thesis on the subject that I am most interested in,' Evren elaborates.

Evren also emphasizes the strong collaboration that Aalto University has with Helsinki University and for example VTT, one of Europe’s leading research institutions.

'When you study physics at Aalto, you can also take courses at Helsinki University. This gives you even more choice and opportunities to explore what interests you most,' Evren points out. 

'I feel fortunate to be able to study in such a marvelous environment. As a student coming from outside the EU, getting a scholarship to study in Finland was very important. I am very grateful that I did.' 

A student-driven university culture

Evren mentions that at Aalto University, every student also has the opportunity, if they wish, to actively participate in student events.

'It’s very easy to come here as a new student because we have an incredibly student-driven university culture here at Aalto. It made a great impression on me when I first came here,' Evren remarks.  

'Aalto puts so much effort into helping students adjust and make new friends – and all of us Engineering Physics students belong to the renowned Guild of Physics, which is a simply fantastic student organization. I don’t consider myself particularly good at taking initiative socially, and yet I found it surprisingly easy to adjust.'

For those considering studying engineering physics at Aalto, Evren has a few words of advice.

'It is a rewarding, versatile, and highly demanding programme. If you decide to pursue this route, the key is concentrating on the learning journey rather than striving for perfection in every detail. Try not to stress excessively, and make sure to take time off and rest.'

Engineering Physics, Master of Science (Technology)

The Master’s Programme in Engineering Physics equips students with a profound understanding of physics and mathematics as well as skills that are highly applicable. The programme is closely connected to the research at Aalto University and the Department of Applied Physics, attracting students who want to pursue a career in research.

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