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Undergraduate

Physics and astrophysics

B.A.;

What is Physics?

Physics is the study of the natural or material world and natural phenomena around us, including the fundamental particles of nature and their interactions, properties of atomic nuclei, atoms, molecules, gases and solid matter. It covers fields such as astrophysics, cosmology, and physics of materials. The laws of physics are the laws which govern electricity and magnetism in modern devices such as mobile phones, computers, the internet, radio and television, the mechanics of aviation and space flight, quantum mechanics underlying magnetic resonance imaging in medicine etc.

What is Astrophysics?

Since the dawn of human civilisation humans have gazed in wonder at the night sky. Astrophysics – the exploration of our solar system and the universe beyond – is still a major part of human endeavour in science. It covers everything from the sun and other stars to planets, galaxies and the cosmic microwave background.

Physics: The course for you?

Physics at Trinity enjoys a worldwide reputation, and provides an exceptionally stimulating environment for study and for subsequent postgraduate work. This course offers you the opportunity to study with world-leading experts in the School of Physics, with modules designed to provide you with a flexible qualification for employment across a range of research and industrial settings.

Students in the final year of Trinity Physics and Physics and Astrophysics courses undertake a 9 week full-time research project, either in Trinity or at a research institute or university abroad. Students travel to destinations as far afield as Australia and Hawaii for these projects.

Physics and Astrophysics @ Trinity

Our Physics and Astrophysics course includes a strong background in core physics subjects as well as specialised courses in topics such as astronomical instrumentation, spectroscopy, the solar system, stellar evolution, supernovae, galaxies, interstellar matter, black holes and cosmology. Half of the third year laboratory class is devoted to learning computational data handling techniques relevant for astrophysics – and the wider world of big data. The School of Physics is equipped with an 11” optical telescope and a 5 cm solar telescope for undergraduate use in the Monck Observatory.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

The Trinity physics degrees are all recognised by the Institute of Physics, which is the professional body for physicists in Ireland and the UK, as qualifications for the professional title ‘Chartered Physicist’ (CPhys). Physics graduates are always in high demand in Ireland and abroad in modern high-technology industries, as well as in teaching. You may also find a career in academic institutions, government and industrial research organisations and production facilities or in the meteorological service. There are diverse opportunities in electronics, telecommunications, biophysics, hospital and health physics, automation and computing. Your degree course will give you the opportunity to acquire problem solving skills which will be valued by your future employer. It could also give you useful primary training for a legal, managerial or actuarial career, where a technical background is attractive.

Your degree and what you’ll study

Students follow the Science (TR071) course in their first two-years and must take the prescribed modules in Physics and Mathematics in both years, which will include Introductory Astrophysics, Thermodynamics, Electricity, Sound and Optics, Nuclear Physics and Quantum Physics. Students spend three hours per week in the experimental or computer laboratories. All students have the opportunity to learn transferable coding skills through the Python programming language in a computer laboratory setting.

In Junior Sophister (third) year, Physics and Physics and Astrophysics students spend one day per week in the experimental laboratory. Students study a wide variety of specialised modules tailored to their chosen course as well as receiving training in communication and presentation skills. All third year students have the opportunity to meet with past graduates of the School of Physics through the ‘Wild Geese’ programme where they receive guidance on building a career in physics.

During the fourth year, students carry out a research project in either an academic or industrial research laboratory, the duration and the topic of which is also tailored to their specific course. Many students carry out their final year project abroad, mainly across Europe, Canada and America. This unique opportunity allows our students to develop their practical skills in a research environment, while learning about different countries and cultures.

MODULES: PHYSICS and ASTROPHYSICS

THIRD (JUNIOR SOPHISTER) YEAR

Quantum Mechanics, Electromagnetic Interactions, Condensed Matter Physics, Atomic and Nuclear Physics, Stellar and Galactic Structure, Computer Simulation, Statistical Thermodynamics and Astrophysical Spectroscopy, Experimental Techniques for Astrophysics, Practical in Physics and Astrophysics.

FOURTH (SENIOR SOPHISTER) YEAR

Planetery and Space Science, Cosmology, Computer Simulation, Quantum Physics, High Energy Physics, Electromagnetic Interactions, Modern Optics and Practical in Physics and Astrophysics.

If you would like more detailed information on all the modules offered, see: www.physics.tcd.ie

Study abroad and internships opportunities

Physics students may undertake their nine-week fourth year project at a research institute or university in the EU or further afield, provided they attain a sufficient standard in the third year examinations. In recent years, students have worked at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, at the Universities of Potsdam and Regensburg in Germany, at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States and at the European Space Agency in Madrid.

Further information on the year abroad programme, and a list of partner universities, can be found at: www.tcd.ie/study/non-eu/study-abroad

GET IN TOUCH!

www.tcd.ie/physics

dowlingu@tcd.ie

Tel: +353 1 896 1675

Twitter: @TCD_Physics

Maths/Physics Open Day is held in November each year.

Physics course coordinator: Prof. Charles Patterson Charles.Patterson@tcd.ie

Astrophysics Course Coordinator: Prof. Peter Gallagher Peter.Gallagher@tcd.ie


What our graduates say

Aoife McCloskey Postgraduate Student in Astrophysics and TCD graduate in Physics and Astrophysics

“I chose the general Science course at Trinity as it provided options to study a variety of sciences and also had the worldwide reputation of excellence to match. This was a decision I’ll never regret. I specialised in Physics and Astrophysics for my final degree, graduating in 2014. My undergraduate experience provided me with a range of invaluable skills and knowledge, such as problem-solving and coding, that have prepared me for pursuing a diverse range of scientific careers. I particularly love scientific research and am currently a PhD student with the Astrophysics Research Group at Trinity. Along with my research I also work as an educator with the Trinity Walton Club, teaching Mathematics to secondary school students. Without my undergraduate degree I would not have had these opportunities.”

What our current students say

Dylan Scully 4th year Physics

“Choosing to study Physics in Trinity was one of the best and easiest decisions I’ve ever made. The chance to pursue a full time research project in final year and work alongside world class researchers in one of Trinity’s research centres or abroad was a truly unique and enriching opportunity. Studying Physics has been both fascinating and riveting and has equipped me with the skills I’ll need no matter what direction my career takes after college.”

Course Options

Award

B.A.

CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is

TR071

Options

Students who wish to study Physics or Physics and Astrophysics apply to the Science degree (TR071) and may select one of these two courses as their specialist subject for the Junior Sophister and Senior Sophister (third and fourth) years.

Junior Freshman (first) year prerequisites: Mathematics, Physics.

Senior Freshman (second year) prerequisites: Mathematics, Physics.

For details of the first two years of the Science course, including entry requirements, see TR071: Science (common entry).

Physics is also an important part of the following courses:

TR035: Theoretical physics
TR076: Nanoscience, physics and chemistry of advanced materials
TR071: Physics


Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here


Apply

To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

Mature Student – Supplementary Application Form

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student then select the link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

Science, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 01/02/2017

Non-EU Applicants

  • Science, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 30/06/2017
  • CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is

    TR071

    Options

    Students who wish to study Physics or Physics and Astrophysics apply to the Science degree (TR071) and may select one of these two courses as their specialist subject for the Junior Sophister and Senior Sophister (third and fourth) years.

    Junior Freshman (first) year prerequisites: Mathematics, Physics.

    Senior Freshman (second year) prerequisites: Mathematics, Physics.

    For details of the first two years of the Science course, including entry requirements, see TR071: Science (common entry).

    Physics is also an important part of the following courses:

    TR035: Theoretical physics
    TR076: Nanoscience, physics and chemistry of advanced materials
    TR071: Physics