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 and Astrophysics: The course for you?
If you enjoy laboratory and computational work and have an interest in how fundamental physical theories explain how the universe took shape, then this may be the course for you.
Physics and Astrophysics at Trinity
The course includes core physics subjects as well as specialised courses in 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 astrophysicists 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. Physics and Astrophysics at Trinity 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 astrophysics research and industrial settings.
Your degree and what you’ll study
In the first two years you study physics and mathematics and one other subject. The Physics course includes topics in astrophysics, statistics, mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, acoustics and optics, nuclear physics and quantum physics. The mathematics course includes topics in calculus, linear algebra, Fourier analysis and mechanics. You spend three hours per week in experimental or computational laboratories. You will learn computer coding skills through the Python programming language.
In the third year you take modules in physics and astrophysics and spend one day per week working in the computer laboratory (first semester) or in the experimental laboratory (second semester). You also receive training in communication and presentation skills. In the fourth year you carry out an experimental or computational Capstone research project during the first nine weeks of the first semester and then take lecture modules in Physics and Astrophysics which cover core Physics and Astrophysics at a more advanced level. In the fourth year you carry out a Capstone research project either in Trinity or in a research laboratory abroad, mainly in Europe, Canada or the USA. This will allow you to develop your practical skills in a research environment, while learning about different countries and cultures.
Third year modules
Quantum Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Condensed Matter Physics, Atomic Physics, Stellar and Galactic Structure, Computer Simulation,Statistical Thermodynamics and Astrophysical Spectroscopy, Experimental Techniques for Astrophysics, Semiconductor Physics and Devices.
Fourth year modules
Planetary and Space Science, Cosmology, Computer Simulation, Quantum Physics, High Energy Physics, Nuclear Structure, Electromagnetic Interactions, Modern Optics and Practical in Physics and Astrophysics.
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Study Abroad and internship opportunities
You may undertake your fourth year Capstone project at a research institute or university in the EU or further afield, provided you attain a sufficient standard in the third-year examinations. In recent years, students have worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States and at the European Space Agency in Madrid. Information on the year abroad programme for second- or third-year students, and a list of partner universities, can be found at: www.tcd.ie/study/non-eu/study-abroad
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AwardsB.A. (Moderatorship) Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Code TR063
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Advanced Entry Applications
Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
What our graduates say
Dr Aoife McCloskey
“I specialised in Physics and Astrophysics for my final degree. 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. Along with my postgraduate research I also worked 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.”