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The Nanoscale Engineering Curriculum

The NSE Curriculum: Fostering Theoretical Understanding and Practical Experience

The Nanoscale Engineering master is a two-year program corresponding to 120 ECTS credits. Students receive a universal and profound training in physics, materials science and electronics at the nanoscale, but also in nanobiotechnology. Elective courses can be followed by the students in their desired area of specialization and/or to broaden their horizons. The entire curriculum is taught in English.

A key educational concept of the program is that each student is immersed in a high-quality research environment for at least half of the time in the curriculum. Throughout the academic year, lab practicals and projects are carried out in research institutions that participate in the program, and thesis projects are undertaken in research laboratories or in nanotechnology companies.

In addition to the scientific and technological aspects, ethical issues and the societal impact of nanotechnology, as well as business considerations, are addressed in specialized seminars and courses.

Structure of the Curriculum

First Year (60 ECTS)

The major part of semester 1 is dedicated to lectures: The students follow 7 courses from the core modules and 3 elective modules. Laboratory practicals and mini-projects ensure a smooth transition into semester 2 with its two-month internships in two different research groups. These internships are prepared in semester 1 already with dedicated literature surveys.. Seminars of speakers from both academia and industry complement the educational program throughout the first year.


Second Year (60 ECTS)

Semester 3 is again dedicated to lectures, featuring 4 slots for core modules and 3 for electives, as well as some ancillary courses. The entirety of semester 4 is taken up by the six-month Master thesis project, which can be conducted in a research laboratory or in a company, in France or abroad. As in the first year, seminars of speakers from both academia and industry complement the educational program.

Modules and Courses

Core Modules

These courses impart the fundamental knowledge in the nanotechnology field applied to physics, electronics, optics, materials science and biotechnology. Students are required to follow at least eleven core module courses during the two-year program. Four of these modules are obligatory for everyone in M1; the remaining seven can be selected from the offered courses according to personal preference.
Core modules in the first year
There are four obligatory core modules in the first year:

Furthermore, there is a remedial physics course to which students are assigned based on the results of a physics test at the beginning of semester 1:

Finally, students have to select a minimum of three courses from the following list for their first year:

Core modules in the second year

Elective Modules

These courses cover a wide range of nanotechnology-related disciplines and thus allow the students to specialize according to their preferences as well as to broaden their expertise.
Elective modules in the first year
Three courses from the following list have to be chosen for the first year:

Elective modules in the second year
Students follow a minimum of three courses from the following selection in the second year:

Experimental Modules

Students conduct lab practicals that are integrated into the various courses, during which they familiarize themselves hands-on with all standard techniques for fabrication and characterization of nanostructures. They furthermore have the opportunity to work more independently on individual or group projects.

Ancillary Courses and Seminars

This module deals with complementary know-how, relevant both for academia and in an industrial environment. Students follow a course on intellectual-property issues. Ethical aspects and the societal impact of nanotechnology are covered in specialized seminars, which also allow for networking with national and international nanotechnology companies and research laboratories. Communication skills are likewise developed through written and oral presentations of all experimental work that is carried out during the Master program.


In the second semester, students conduct two-month internships in two of the research laboratories participating in the program. The students choose their projects and come into contact with their host laboratories earlier in the academic year already, by spending some time in these laboratories to carry out an extensive literature survey and to prepare their research projects under the guidance of their supervisors.

Master Thesis Project

The final six-month period of the program is devoted to the master project, which can be carried out either in an academic research laboratory or in an industrial environment. Students have the option to conduct their thesis project anywhere in France or abroad.