What is Physics?
Physics is the study of the laws of the universe, how these function at our everyday classical scales, at smaller quantum scales of atoms, nuclei and fundamental particles, of electrons and photons in vacuum, in materials, in devices and nanostructures, of complex collective behaviours, and how these laws act over the immense scales of stars and vast distances of the universe. Physics encompasses all of this and more.
Physics: The course for you?
Physicists view the behaviours within the world in terms of all observable interactions. The known law of physics are a distillation resulting from this viewpoint, governing every aspect of the world around us. In this course you study the fundamentals of classical and quantum physics, the physics of motion, of energy, of light, of individual particles to ensembles of particles, whether on cosmic scales, the nanoscale, or the quark scale. Your study includes materials, semiconductors and nanostructures, atomic, nuclear and fundamental particle physics, collective behaviours of electrons in magnetism, photons in modern photonics, and thermodynamic principles applied to gases, stars or quantum systems and computer simulation. This degree encompasses all of physics inclusive of nanoscience and cosmology and the underpinnings of our world and its behaviours.
Physics at Trinity
The School of Physics has strong teaching and research links with other departments in Trinity and beyond. All lecturers run research groups with major strengths of the department being in photonics, magnetism, nanomaterials, nanoscience, energy materials and energy processes, microscopy, spectroscopy, quantum systems, computational physics, foams as well as astrophysics. Every student is encouraged to consider themselves as a physicist from day one and trained to observe and interpret. Physics research training culminates in the individual Capstone research project each student carries out in the final year. All students gain both a practical, handson experiences, in addition to deep physicsbased understanding in how to approach problem solving.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
Graduates of physics not only have general scientific training with specialised knowledge of physics but have a deep understanding of complex mathematical behaviours and how to creatively problem solve, resulting in employment in many diverse positions and industries. You may pursue further training in physics and become a research scientist in industry, university, or institutes. Some graduates undertake further study in medical physics, in education or in business degrees.
Your degree and what you’ll study
Students who wish to study physics apply to the physical sciences stream (TR063) and at the end of second year may select physics as their specialist area for the third and fourth years.
You will study the Physics of quantum systems, of electromagnetism and of collective behaviours underpinning condensed matter and the electronic and physical structure of materials as well as atomic and semiconductor physics and devices. Options will include galactic and stellar astrophysics, computational physics, experimental techniques and observational astrophysics. The experimental programme of advanced laboratory experiments in the JS year, refines your data analysis skills and scientific interpretation with a major emphasis on developing your science communication skills. You will also broaden your studies by taking Trinity Elective modules in non-science subjects.
In Year Four you study advanced subjects in quantum, nuclear and particle physics, advanced electromagnetism, and physics problem solving with the widest possible additional module choice in all of our degrees encompassing photonics, energy, nanoscience, polymer, physics magnetism, computational physics, cosmology, quantum optics and information. Students undertake individual Capstone research projects, drawing directly from research in the department, guided by Trinity professors, working within their research group, or at an international partner university. Research projects have recently included machine learning for computational materials science, printed supercapacitors from 2D materials, strong light-matter interactions, semiconductor laser control, novel solar thermal devices, 3D printing of magnets, quantum thermodynamics and properties of nanowire networks.
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Study abroad and internship opportunities
Many of our students undertake research internships in Trinity or other universities during the summer vacation. Our students have won scholarships for example to attend the PRACE Summer of High Performance Computing, and the Institute of Physics in Kazan, among others to work in research laboratories between the third and fourth years. 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/study-abroad/outbound
Study Physical Sciences at Trinity
An introduction to the undergraduate programmes in Physical Sciences at Trinity College Dublin by the Course Director, Assistant Professor Cormac McGuinness.
AwardsB.A. (Moderatorship) Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Points 510 (2023) CAO Code TR063
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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 Trinity.