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Physics and astrophysics

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR071
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 515* points
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Course 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

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


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

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 broadcasts, 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.

Is this the right course for you?

If you like doing experiments and working in the lab, if you are interested in how the universe began and evolved, or if you enjoy physics, technology, computing, maths and solving problems then you should consider studying Physics or Physics and Astrophysics.

Why study Physics and Astrophysics at Trinity?

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.

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.

What will you 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.

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.


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.


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:

Study abroad

Physics students may undertake their nine-week fourth year project at a 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:


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.

Further information

Maths/Physics Open Day is held in November each year, find out more:

Twitter: @TCD_Physics

Email: | Tel: +353 1 896 1675

Graduate Profile

Michael Byrne

After four great years studying Physics at Trinity, I headed to Oxford for an M.Sc. degree in applied mathematics before beginning a PhD in climate science at MIT.

I spend most of my time running climate simulations under the supervision of another Trinity Physics graduate, Paul O’Gorman. This involves extensive use of the coding skills I honed in the undergraduate computer lab practicals in the School of Physics. Research questions I’m working on include: Why, under global warming, do land temperatures increase more than ocean temperatures? How will the terrestrial water cycle change in the future? What effects do land surface properties have on monsoon circulations?

Student profile

Claire Raftery, PhD student in Solar Astrophysics.

"I began my career as a scientist at Trinity College Dublin. Having studied Physics, Applied Maths and honors Maths in secondary school, I decided that a general science degree would suit me best. I knew I wanted to be a scientist but I wasn't sure what area I would like to work in so I decided to apply for the Natural Science course at Trinity. This University has a world-renowned Physics Department, with some of the best facilities in the country. I studied Maths, Chemistry and Physics for two years and decided to specialise in Astrophysics in my third year. Over the next two years, I spent six weeks studying at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida and three months working as an intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

I am now a PhD student in the Astrophysics Research Group and I study the mechanisms involved in the cooling of solar flares. I call on the subjects I studied as an undergraduate every day, from nuclear structure to atomic physics and from electromagnetism to spectroscopy. I now spend three to four months a year working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with world leaders in this field. After completing my PhD, I plan to continue my research at NASA or one of the other influential intuitions around the world."