The Master of Science in Quantum Engineering gives engineers like her the tools they need to understand the language physicists use. “It teaches us to wear two hats.” She admits that she sometimes wishes the degree programme had taken a more hands-on approach to the physics components, but overall she’s pleased with the course: “It has definitely met my expectations. Obviously I come from an electrical engineering background, but I’ve always had a huge interest in physics. So my goal was to learn more about physics without losing that connection to engineering.” The programme content is carefully tailored to reflect what students have studied in the past.
“Students from an engineering background get a slightly bigger dose of quantum physics in their first year, while students coming from the physics side start off with more of an electrical engineering focus,” says Novotny. The goal by the end of the Master’s course is that students not only understand the principles and language of the other subject area but are also able to transform them into something new with real-world applications.
When it came to designing the course, there was broad agreement that they couldn’t simply create a double degree with double the workload. “We chose to focus on areas that are genuinely relevant to quantum engineering, on both the physics and the engineering side,” says Novotny. But that doesn’t mean the Master’s isn’t challenging. “Obviously this degree programme is a big step out of our comfort zone,” says Ulrich.
“But quantum engineering is uncharted territory for all of us – and that’s what makes it so exciting!” She says it feels inspiring to work in a field that could spark a technological revolution, a point that Novotny echoes: “The course is hugely demanding, but the students can handle it. They’re motivated by the recognition that they’re blazing a new trail.” The bond between the students is another big advantage in Ulrich’s eyes. Right from the start, she’s been heavily involved in the newly established student association, which now offers everything from support with exam preparation to professional networking, industry contacts and social events.