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Science (common entry programme)

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


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

Course overview

Science is a small word and yet it conjures up the whole spectrum and sum of human knowledge about the natural world. So where do you begin?

It is precisely because of the scope and variety of this field of study that science at Trinity is structured with choice in mind. Courses in the first two years are designed to introduce you to and train you in the fundamental sciences. By the end of the Senior Freshman (second) year you will have moved far beyond the extent of science as it is taught at school and will understand better where your real interests lie. At this point you have the opportunity to focus on one of sixteen specialist areas for your final two years.

Is this the right course for you?

Science at Trinity College leaves plenty of room for flexibility and is ideal if you want to explore the many avenues open to you as a scientist. Even if you already know what you want to specialise in, you will find that employers value the benefits of a broad-based scientific training and background.

Course content

Teaching is by lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes, so you will become familiar with laboratory practice and the methodology of scientific research from the first year. Smaller seminar classes and group tutorials mean that you will also be able to discuss course work with lecturers and other students in a friendly and informal atmosphere. Tutorials are given at both basic and advanced levels to explain, expand and support the material presented in lectures. Science students typically average 24 class contact hours per week.

TR071 Science at a glance

Junior Freshman (first year)

Students choose subjects from the following to a total of 60 credits. The suggested combinations of subjects are shown in Patterns 1-4.

Biology; Chemistry; Geography; Geology; Mathematics; Mathematical methods; Physics; Foundation physics for the life and earth sciences.

Students must be aware that their choice of Junior Freshman subjects can affect their choice of moderatorship (third and fourth year specialisation).

Mathematics can also be studied as a single honor subject see  TR031: Mathematics.

Mathematics (20 credits)

This course teaches mathematics as a full subject and provides a basic mathematical training suitable for all branches of science.

  • Calculus
  • Partial derivatives
  • Linear algebra
  • Differential equations
  • Computing
  • Probability and statistics

Mathematical methods (10 credits)

A short foundation course in mathematics and computing for first-year students not taking mathematics as a full subject. This is a less detailed course that will introduce you to the principles and rules governing scientific investigation. Students who take this course may not take one of the physics degree options in 3rd and 4th years.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to computing
  • Functions, graphs, derivatives, maxima and minima
  • Integration
  • Matrices, linear equations1
  • Differential equations


Broad-based training in the fundamentals of modern biology.

Topics include:

Biology 1101 (10 credits)

  • Introduction to molecular and cellular biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental biology
  • Microbiology

Biology 1102 (10 credits)

  • Plant and animal biology
  • Ecology

Biology 1101 is a prerequisite for Biology 1102


The course provides a general introduction to the fundamentals of modern chemistry, and forms the basis for further studies, both in chemistry and in other sciences.

Chemistry CH1101 (10 credits)

  • General and physical chemistry
  • Introduction to the fundamentals of chemistry
  • The Periodic Table and stoichiometry
  • Atomic structure and principles of bonding
  • Electrochemistry, acids and bases
  • The solid-state, gas laws, thermodynamics, equilibria and kinetics

Chemistry CH1102 (10 credits)

  • Introduction to systematic inorganic and organic chemistry
  • Aspects of main group and coordination chemistry
  • Aliphatic and aromatic functional group chemistry

Chemistry CH1101 is a prerequisite for Chemistry CH1102

Geography 1021 (10 credits)

  • Climate change
  • Global atmospheric and oceanic systems
  • Global geoecology
  • Global geosystems
  • Surface processes and landscape development

Geography 1022 (10 credits)

  • Conservation
  • Environmental degradation
  • Environmental hazards

Geology 1101 (10 credits)

Geology topics include:

  • Earth in space: Earth as a dynamic physical system
  • The living planet: History of life on Earth and interaction of the physical, chemical and biological systems
  • A delicate balance: Living with natural hazards and Earth’s resources

Physics (20 credits)

Previous knowledge of physics is not required for this course.

Topics include:

  • The physics of motion
  • The material world
  • Hearing and seeing
  • Electromagnetic interactions
  • Origins of modern physics
  • Exploring the universe

Physics - foundation physics for the life and earth sciences (10 credits)

A foundation course of lectures, practical work and tutorials including the following topics: physics of motion, biomechanics, physics of hearing and seeing, electricity and magnetism and bioelectricity, radioactivity, nuclear physics and related medical applications, heat, pressure and fluids and their biological, geological and medical applications. No previous knowledge of physics is required.

Junior Freshman (1st year) Course Outline

Pattern 1

Mathematics, Physics, and two of the following (one from each semester)

Semester 1

  • Chemistry CH1101
  • Biology 1101
  • Geography 1021

Semester 2

  • Chemistry CH1102
  • Biology 1102
  • Geology 1101
  • Geography 1022

Pattern 2

Mathematics and four of the following (two from each semester)

Semester 1

  • Chemistry CH1101
  • Biology 1101
  • Geography 1021

Semester 2

  • Foundation physics
  • Chemistry CH1102
  • Biology 1102
  • Geology 1101
  • Geography 1022

Pattern 3

Mathematical Methods and five of the following (two from semester 1 and three from semester 2)

Semester 1

  • Chemistry CH1101
  • Biology 1101
  • Geography 1021

Semester 2

  • Foundation physics
  • Chemistry CH1102
  • Biology 1102
  • Geology 1101
  • Geography 1022

Pattern 4

Three from each semester

Semester 1

  • Chemistry CH1101
  • Biology 1101
  • Geography 1021

Semester 2

  • Chemistry CH1102
  • Biology 1102
  • Geology 1101
  • Geography 1022

Senior Freshman (second year)

Students choose three subjects from the following to a total of 60 credits:

Biology; Mathematics; Chemistry; Geography; Physics; Geology

Students must be aware that their choice of Freshman (first and second year) subjects can affect their choice of specialisation in the third and fourth year.

Mathematics (20 credits)

  • MA22S1: Multivariable calculus for science (5 credits)
  • MA22S2: Vector calculus for science (5 credits)
  • MA22S3: Fourier analysis for science (5 credits)
  • MA22S4: Mechanics (5 credits)
  • MA22S6: Numerical data analysis techniques (5 credits)

Geography (20 credits)

GG2024: Physical geography: Changing environments (10 credits)

This module represents a foundation in modern physical geography and is designed to explain and analyse environmental change during the last 2.6 million years (the Quaternary period).

GG2025: Human geography: Changing worlds (10 credits)

This module introduces students to a number of key issues within contemporary human geography and exposes them to a range of methodological approaches and research techniques. The overarching theme of the module is the way in which historical, cultural, environmental, political and economic geographies are changing under the force of globalisation.

Biology (20 credits)

  • BY2201: Cell structure and function (5 credits)
  • BY2202: Vertebrate form and function (5 credits)
  • BY2203: Metabolism (5 credits)
  • BY2204: Evolution (5 credits)
  • BY2205: Microbiology (5 credits)
  • BY2206: Ecosystem biology and global change (5 credits
  • BY2207: Behaviour (5 credits)
  • BY2208: Genetics (5 credits)
  • BY2209: Infection and immunity (5 credits)
  • BY2210: Agriculture, environment and biotechnology (5 credits)

Geology (20 credits)

GL2205: Dynamic Earth 1: rocks and evolution (10 credits)

GL2206: Dynamic Earth 2: structure and microscopy (10 credits)

Chemistry (20 credits)

CH2201 (10 credits)

This module will cover topics in:

  • Molecular orbital theory
  • Coordination chemistry
  • Chemical thermodynamics
  • Chemical kinetics
  • Introduction to organic synthesis

CH2202 (10 credits)

This module will cover topics in:

  • Main group chemistry
  • Nuclear and medicinal inorganic chemistry
  • Theoretical and quantum chemistry
  • Chemistry of aromatic compounds
  • Introduction to organic synthesis
  • Organic spectroscopy
  • Molecular modelling

Physics (20 credits)

PY2P10: Classical physics:

This module combines four elements of classical physics:

  • Current electricity
  • Oscillations
  • Physical optics: introduction
  • Thermodynamics

PY2P20: Modern physics

This module combines four elements of modern physics:

  • Special relativity
  • Quantum physics
  • Nuclear physics
  • Observing the Universe

Junior and Senior Sophister (third and fourth years)

Select one of:

Biochemistry Chemistry Environmental sciences Functional biology Genetics Geography Geology Immunology Microbiology Molecular Medicine Neuroscience Physics Physics and astrophysics Physiology Plant sciences Zoology

If you need more information on the TR071 Science course outline, please do not hesitate to contact the Science Course Office, +353 1 896 1970 or

Study abroad

You will have the option to study abroad in the Junior Sophister (third) year in most science courses. In the past, for example, students have studied in the USA, Canada, Australia, and in a variety of universities throughout Europe. Optional language classes are available to you in first and second year (see to facilitate this. Some departments will also actively encourage you to spend your summer months working abroad in a research laboratory.

Further information


Tel: +353 1 896 1970

Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateHD3 or OC3 Mathematics

HC3 In two of: physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics/chemistry, geology, geography, applied mathematics or agricultural science

GCSEGrade B Mathematics
Advanced GCE (A-Level)Grade C In two of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, geology, geography or applied mathematics
Combinations of subjects not permitted:
Physics/chemistry with physics or chemistry
Agricultural science with biology
Applied mathematics with mathematics
Other EU examination systemsSee

Graduate Profile

Ciara Maguire First Year Science Student and Intel Women in Technology Scholar I have always had a keen interest in science and a curiosity for the world around us. The general science course at Trinity is perfect for me. I have the opportunity to explore a variety of scientific fields before specialising. I chose Trinity as its science departments are internationally renowned and it is a college at the forefront of scientific discoveries. I relished the thought of such a challenging and inspiring atmosphere. In addition to the academic elements of College life I am also enjoying and embracing all that the College has to offer. Each week presents new, interesting and exciting events. Coming to Trinity has opened a window of opportunities, the many societies and clubs have allowed me to learn new skills as well as meet new and interesting people. The vibrant and inclusive atmosphere on campus reassures me that I have made the right choice coming to Trinity.