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Course Structure

The Freshman Years

In the first two years (Freshman years) you will follow the Science (TR071) programme, taking chemistry, physics and mathematics. The Physics and Chemistry modules are essentially the same as those taken by students intending to pursue degrees in Chemistry or Physics so that the N-PCAM student have a clear understanding of the science that underpins Nanoscience. The modules include lectures, laboratory classes and problem solving tutorials. In addition to these standard courses there are specialized tutorial classes introducing students to the study of nanoscience. There are approximately 15 hours of lecture and tutorial classes and approximately 6 hours in laboratory classes each week.

The Sophister Years

In the Sophister years (three and four), you will study specialised courses in materials physics and chemistry.

Junior Sophister

At the beginning of Junior Sophister year (3rd year), students really begin to specialise in Nanoscience. Over the two Sophister years students study core courses in Physics and Chemistry along with some specialized courses in Nanoscience. Topics covered include solid state physics and chemistry, quantum mechanics, lasers, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, macromolecules, spectroscopy, group theory, materials preparation and microelectronic technology. In JS students spend six hours per week in the specialised JS Nanoscience Teaching Laboratory performing nanoscience based experiments where students will be introduced to a wide range of techniques for the synthesis, preparation and characterisation of nanoscale materials. Some laboratory training is provided in CRANN ( using their state-of the art facilities in nano-fabrication of advanced materials and nano-characterisation to understand how such materials work.

Senior Sophister

The Senior Sophister (fourth year) course further explores nanoscience and other topics, including more advanced solid state physics and chemistry, non-linear optics, materials for electronic and photonic devices, conducting and insulating polymers and metal oxides, superconductivity, surface and interface effects, computer simulation and advanced growth techniques (with specific examples of their applications in the nanosciences). In this year, students carry out a major research project (3-5 months) where they become familiar with the applications of advanced materials, nanostructures or nanodevices in real-life situations. Many students do their projects in innovative research areas such as nano-technology, and smart materials. In most cases the project is pursued abroad in an academic or industrial research laboratory, and recent examples of laboratories where projects have taken place include the IMEC micro- and nano-electronics research centre in Leuven, Belgium; The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California; the University of Alberta, Canada, and the University of Wollongong, Australia, and the University of Potsdam (Universität Potsdam) Germany.


You will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-year examinations.

Study abroad

Many students carry out their final year project abroad, mainly in the USA, Australia, France and Germany. This allows Trinity students to develop their practical skills in materials science and to learn about different countries and cultures.

Last updated 10 September 2013