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Epitaxial Permalloy™ (Py) thin films sputter-deposited onto epitaxial Nb with and without a Cu buffer layer have been investigated. Transmission electron microscopy was used to characterize the morphology of the Nb/Py/Cu and Nb/Cu/Py multilayers. Rotational magnetization measurements indicated significant differences in the magnetic anisotropy of the films. A phenomenological model taking into account uniaxial anisotropy agree well with the data, and provides a simple method for determinating the anisotropy strength. The correlations between the crystal structures and the magnetic properties are discussed. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.