Theoretical Physics

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time – Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN200
CAO Points Range 2019: 521
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 400

Leaving Certificate:

  • O2/H6 in Mathematics
  • O2/H6 in a laboratory science (Applied Mathematics, Computer Science or Geography may be used instead of a laboratory science subject) and
  • O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognised subjects
Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

The UCD Theoretical Physics degree puts emphasis on the mathematical description of physical phenomena, providing a unified picture of the fundamental laws of nature. It’s ideally suited to students who enjoy studying Mathematics and Physics for their Leaving Certificate. Insights from Theoretical Physics are driving our understanding of nature at all scales, from the origin of large-scale structures in the universe to the Planck scale, where our current understanding of space and time breaks down. The degree comprehensively covers Theoretical Physics, while developing your knowledge and expertise in problem solving, using analytical and computational techniques, which have wide application in, for example, biophysics, econophysics, quantum physics, relativity and nanoscience.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Theoretical Physics graduates can choose to develop careers in:

  • Academic and government research institutions
  • Energy technologies
  • Information and communication technology
  • Advanced materials [e.g. semiconductor industry]
  • Management consulting, stock market and financial risk analysis
  • Climate change and environmental impact analysis
  • Second- and third-level education

Our Theoretical Physics graduates are well prepared for further research and have successfully completed PhDs in MIT, Caltech, Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge, as well as in UCD.

What Will I Study

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Theoretical Physics. Topics include electromagnetism, mathematical modelling, mechanics and special relativity, vector calculus, statistical physics, fluid mechanics, computational science, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics, general relativity, and statistical physics.

First Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective module

Second Year

  • Theoretical Physics
  • + 1 Other Science Subject
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Theoretical Physics (includes Quantum Physics and Electrodynamics, Applied & Computational Mathematics and Mathematics)
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Theoretical Physics (including General Relativity, Quantum Field Theory, Statistical and Particle Physics, Applied & Computational Mathematics, Theoretical Physics project).

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

For detailed information on subject content click here

International Study Opportunities

Students can apply to study for a semester or year in third year in a number of universities worldwide including:

  • University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
  • San Jose State University, California, USA
  • University of Melbourne, Australia

Testimonial

“In first year, I had the opportunity to sample a number of different modules in Physics and Chemistry before eventually choosing Theoretical Physics as my degree. The combination of problem solving, mathematics and real-world examples helped me make my decision. The staff and lecturers in the UCD School of Physics are very helpful and easy to approach and consistently provide a great deal of support to students. I have travelled to CERN in Geneva with the Physics Society which was a great experience. I also joined the UCD Surf Club where they regularly go on surf trips around Ireland as well as abroad. Recently, I travelled with the club to Taghazout in Morocco where I had an amazing time in the sun and met loads of new people outside my degree.”

Ian Smith Student

Statistics

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time – Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN200
CAO Points Range 2019: 521
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 400

Leaving Certificate:

  • O2/H6 in Mathematics
  • O2/H6 in a laboratory science (Applied Mathematics, Computer Science or Geography may be used instead of a laboratory science subject) and
  • O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognised subjects

Special Entry Recommendations: We recommend that all students in Statistics should have a minimum Grade H3 in Leaving Certificate Higher Level Mathematics or equivalent.

Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

According to The New York Times, statistics is the number one career for the 21st century. In Ireland, employers can’t find enough qualified graduates and now is the time to choose to study for a degree with a great future. Wherever data is collected, statistics and data analytics skills are required. Statisticians develop mathematical models for uncertainty and investigate their properties and applicability. The power of modern computing continues to have a major impact on both the development and applicability of statistical methods in almost every area of science, business and industry.

All of the sciences, especially the biological sciences, have in recent years become more quantitative and the skills gained from studying Statistics in UCD Science complement all of the university’s Science degrees. Combining Statistics with a degree in any of the sciences will increase your employability.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Statisticians play a key role in virtually all areas of science and society:

  • In the pharmaceutical industry, statistical modelling is vital in developing new drugs
  • Statisticians help businesses investigate their customer behaviour to enhance their profitability
  • Statistical skills are key in the new emerging areas of bioscience, such as genetics and bio-informatics
  • Training in statistical science is valued in many industries such as finance, environmental science, economic analysis, medicine, education, health and social services, and many areas of government.

With a Statistics degree, you’ll be in demand, as more and more employers are seeking to hire statisticians. There has never been a better time to take this degree. There are various opportunities for graduate study in statistics in both taught and research programmes, and a number of our graduates complete further studies.

What Will I Study

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Statistics. Topics may include statistical modelling, probability theory, biostatistics, survey sampling, predictive models, Bayesian statistics, Monte Carlo inference and actuarial statistics.

First Year

  • Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective module

Second Year

  • Statistics
  • 1 Other Science Subject
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Financial Mathematics
  • Elective Modules

Fourth Year

  • Statistics
  • Applied & Computational Mathematics
  • Financial Mathematics

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

For detailed information on subject content here

International Study Opportunities

Students may apply to study abroad for a semester in third year in partner institutions internationally.

Testimonial

“In 6th Year, I didn’t really know which course to choose. By picking UCD Science, I got to try out subjects I was curious about, such as Biology and Chemistry, before choosing Statistics. The mix of problem solving, Mathematics and real-world applications in Statistics is ideal for someone with an aptitude for numbers. The data analysis skills I have learned in class are applied to real-world data and are incredibly valuable skills, sought after by employers. It can be fascinating to use modern computer software to extract useful information from what looks like a jumble of data! I’ve also had great fun taking part in the Science Society’s events like charity cycles, mystery tours and the Science ball, as well as becoming a Peer Mentor and going on class trips abroad.”

Eoin Whelan Student

Physics, Mathematics & Education

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8) & MSc (NFQ Level 9)

Full Time – Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN200
CAO Points Range 2019: 521
Length of Course: 5 Years (BSc 4 Years + MSc 1 Year)
Average Intake: 400

Leaving Certificate:

  • O2/H6 in Mathematics
  • O2/H6 in a laboratory science (Applied Mathematics, Computer Science or Geography may be used instead of a laboratory science subject) and
  • O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognised subjects

Special Entry Recommendations

We recommend that all students in Physics, Mathematics & Education should have a minimum Grade H3 in Leaving Certificate Mathematics, or equivalent.

Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

If you are interested in physics and mathematics, and think you might like to teach these subjects at post-primary level, then this course may be for you. It’s designed so that from the start, you study physics and mathematics, along with education, in an integrated manner. In third year, you’ll gain teaching experience by completing placements (which we find for you) in a post-primary school and as a third-level tutor.

The four-year BSc in Physics, Mathematics & Education leads directly to the one-year MSc in Mathematics and Science Education. On completion of both degrees, you are fully qualified to teach Physics and Mathematics to Higher Level Leaving Certificate Level and Science to Junior Certificate Level.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

On completion of the BSc, students have guaranteed entry to the MSc in Mathematics & Science Education, provided they have achieved a GPA of 3.08. This is equivalent to a 2.1 Honours.

Placements are integrated into this course from first year. Care is taken to slowly introduce you to placements to enable you to build confidence before teaching a class of pupils.

During the last two years of the course, students are assigned year-long placements at two different post-primary schools. These placements are designed so that students not only obtain teaching experience, but also gain a whole-of-school experience through participating in parent-teacher meetings, timetabling etc. The complete five-year course is fully accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland.

Key Facts:

The five-year course is fully accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland.

Placements are integrated into this course from first year, with year-long placements at two different post-primary schools during the final two years of the course.

What Will I Study

This is a sample pathway for Physics, Mathematics & Education.

First Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Education
  • Biology & Chemistry
  • Elective module

Second Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Education
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Education
  • School Placement – one placement in a post-primary school, and one placement as a third-level tutor.

Fourth Year

  • Education
  • School Placement
  • Physics & Mathematics

Fifth Year

  • Education
  • School Placement
  • Research Project

For detailed information on subject content click here

Testimonial

“The Science DN200 course was a perfect option for me as it allowed me to study all the sciences in first year, before concentrating on my chosen pathway of Physics, Maths & Education. I am completing my MSc in Mathematics and Science Education and will qualify as a post-primary teacher this summer. Such is the flexibility of this course, however, that many other options are still available to me in both Maths and Physics. UCD offers many opportunities for students to get involved. I have been a member of UCD GAA club since first year and play with the Men’s Gaelic Football Team. It is a good way of getting a break from time spent studying.”

Jim Rossiter Student

Physics with Astronomy & Space Science

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time – Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN200
CAO Points Range 2019: 521
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 400

Leaving Certificate:

  • O2/H6 in Mathematics
  • O2/H6 in a laboratory science (Applied Mathematics, Computer Science or Geography may be used instead of a laboratory science subject) and
  • O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognised subjects
Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

The space sector is enjoying exceptional growth, with increasing demand for suitably qualified graduates. Satellites play a key role in navigation, communication and space exploration. This course is primarily a Physics degree that also provides an introduction to the applications of Physics in Astrophysics and Space Science. Students gain an understanding of how ground-based and space-based technologies are used to explore the universe. Astronomers pursue knowledge and understanding of the underlying processes at work in the universe through physics. The core of the degree is therefore an Institute of Physics accredited honours BSc qualification.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

The space sector demands a highly skilled workforce. There are opportunities for graduates to work with major space agencies, such as ESA and NASA, or with space companies. Since the Physics with Astronomy & Space Science degree is an accredited Physics degree, graduates are also qualified to go into medical physics, meteorology, semiconductor technology, energy, ICT and finance.

Graduates may apply for MSc programmes such as Space Science & Technology. They may also pursue research through PhD programmes in Ireland and abroad in many fields of physics.

What Will I Study

Students gain hands-on experience using professional astronomical telescopes, including UCD’s ‘Watcher’ robotic telescope in South Africa. Space instrumentation and data analysis, including programming, form part of the laboratory training.

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Physics with Astronomy & Space Science:

First Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Astronomy & Space Science
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective module

Second Year

  • Physics
  • + 1 Other Science Subject
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Physics with Astronomy & Space Science Support is provided for students applying to summer internship programmes e.g. at ESA. UCD Physics offers research experience to undergraduates, including in the Astrophysics and Space Science research groups
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Physics with Astronomy & Space Science Students participate in a week-long field-trip where they undertake astronomical observations at Tenerife’s Teide Observatory.

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

For detailed information on subject content click here

International Study Opportunities

Students can apply to study for a semester or year in third year in a number of universities worldwide including:

  • University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
  • San Jose State University, California, USA
  • University of Melbourne, Australia

Testimonial

“The flexibility of DN200 meant that I could focus entirely on the subject that I wanted – Physics. The experience that comes out on top in my degree is the final-year field trip to Teide Observatory in Tenerife. The experience of proposing a complex project to study a binary star system and then learning how to use a world-class telescope to conduct this research was really rewarding. Presenting my results and writing it up in a thesis was a proud moment – 4 years of hard work had led to that point and I had learned so much. I’m currently an Irish Research Council funded PhD student in the UCD Space Science Group specialising in Gamma-Ray Bursts and Gravitational Waves. I am also part of the EIRSAT-1 team, which is currently designing, building, and preparing to launch Ireland’s first satellite.”

Lána Salmon Graduate

Physics

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time – Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN200
CAO Points Range 2019: 521
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 400

Leaving Certificate:

  • O2/H6 in Mathematics
  • O2/H6 in a laboratory science (Applied Mathematics, Computer Science or Geography may be used instead of a laboratory science subject) and
  • O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognised subjects
Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

Physics is about the fundamental laws of the universe that govern living as well as non-living systems. It is a fundamental science, involving a deep understanding of nature derived from mathematical and experimental insights. Physics is the subject that constantly asks “why?”, questioning why matter and energy exist and act as they do, and discovering the underlying rules that govern their behaviour. Physicists now believe that all phenomena observed in the universe can be explained in terms of a handful of forces: gravity, electricity, magnetism, and weak and strong nuclear interactions.

X-rays, radioactivity and particle beams have led to advances in medicine. The invention of lasers and solid-state transistors by physicists paved the way for computers, DVD players and iPods. Understanding physical principles and discovering new laws that explain our universe at an even deeper level are the challenges that confront physicists in the 21st century.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Recent graduates have pursued careers in the following:

  • Energy technology
  • Medical physics
  • Meteorology
  • Advanced materials (e.g. semiconductor industry)
  • Geoscience
  • ICT and financial industries
  • Semi-state bodies such as EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection

Graduates are also eligible to apply for MSc programmes in Nanobio Science, Space Science & Technology, Nanotechnology, Medical Physics or Meteorology, or for PhD programmes in Ireland and abroad in diverse areas such as Radiation Physics, Physics of Advanced Materials, Atomic Physics, Particle Physics and Astrophysics.

What Will I Study

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Physics. Topics include fields, waves and light, quantum mechanics, astrophysics, thermal physics, optics and lasers, atomic and nuclear physics, particle physics, condensed matter physics and medical physics.

First Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective module

Second Year

  • Physics
  • + 1 Other Science Subject
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Physics
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Physics (includes a research project)

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

For detailed information on subject content click here

International Study Opportunities

Students can apply to study for a semester or year in third year in a number of universities worldwide including:

  • University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
  • San Jose State University, California, USA
  • University of Melbourne, Australia

Testimonial

“I fell in love with Physics after discovering how much I appreciated being able to see what we learned in the classroom work first-hand in the lab. After Second Year I completed my first research internship with the UCD School of Physics. I worked closely with staff to write programs to solve equations describing white dwarf and neutron stars. I found this placement beneficial as it gave me my first taste of real scientific research. I will be travelling to University of Notre Dame this summer to undertake another internship studying radioactive materials’ impact on the environment.”

Eimear Conroy Student