Theoretical Physics

B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
4 Years Full-Time
45 Places
CAO Points 554 (2023)
CAO Code TR035


What is Theoretical Physics?

Theoretical Physics explores the natural world at its most fundamental level, using mathematical theories guided by experimental investigation. For some it is the foundation for an academic career in mathematics or physics. For others it provides the basis for many career options in industry, medicine, law, finance and computing. Trinity provides a course which ranges widely across physics and mathematics. Its graduates are in demand for their technical skills and versatility. 

Theoretical Physics: The course for you?

If you enjoy mathematics and seeing how physical theories can be developed to unlock the secrets of the universe on every scale, from the quark to the Big Bang, you will be stimulated by this course. If you want to keep a wide range of options open for the future, you can do this in Theoretical Physics. It consistently attracts a spirited and talented class that makes the most of the Trinity experience.

Theoretical Physics at Trinity

Trinity is a world renowned university for physics and mathematics with a long tradition of excellence in teaching and research. The course offers a unique mixture of pure and applied mathematics and physics courses taught by faculty with international reputations in their research fields. The School of Physics has excellent first, second and third year laboratories for teaching experimental physics. The School of Physics is affiliated with Trinity’s world renowned nanoscience institute (CRANN, the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices) and the associated advanced microscopy lab (AML).

In the School of Mathematics students will be taught by active researchers working in areas of theoretical physics, such as string theory, quantum field theory and general relativity, as well as pure mathematicians. The School of Mathematics provides its own computing network comprising a dozen Linux machines acting as servers and about 60 workstations for undergraduates and staff. In addition, the school boasts the finest mathematics research library in Ireland, with more than 16,000 books and a current subscription to 100+ journals. Assessment for courses is through a mixture of laboratory reports, presentations and end-of-semester exams.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

Many of our graduates proceed to Ph.D. degrees in leading institutions throughout the world (such as Cambridge University, Harvard, and Imperial College London) in Mathematics and Experimental Physics, as well as Theoretical Physics. Alternatively, as this degree provides graduates with a strong foundation in highly complex problem-solving skills as well as logical and abstract thinking, a world of possibilities beckons. The broad scientific background and skills that the course develops are in great demand by employers in diverse areas, including actuarial science, patent law, journalism, weather forecasting, telecommunications, medical physics, information technology, scientific computing and teaching.

Your degree and what you’ll study

The course combines much of the Mathematics and Physics curricula, including several modules specifically designed with the Theoretical Physics programme in mind. The final year includes a Capstone project which is carried out working closely with individual faculty members to develop an original piece of research.


First and Second Years topics


Third Year topics

Fourth Year topics


  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Mechanics
  • Equations of Mathematical Physics
  • Classical Field Theory and Electrodynamics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statistical Physics
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Differential Geometry
  • General Relativity
  • Partial Differential Equations


Physics teaching is split into two modules (each 10 credits) in the first two years and a 5-credit lecture and 10-credit project modules in the third and fourth years.

  • Waves and Optics
  • Special Relativity
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Quantum Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Electromagnetic Interactions
  • Chaos and Complexity and Statistics
  • Atomic Physics and Statistical Thermodynamics
  • Condensed Matter Physics I and II
  • Astrophysics or Computer Simulation
  • Condensed Matter Theory
  • High Energy Physics and Nuclear Structure

Optional courses are in:

  • Energy Scienc
  • Magnetism and Superconductivity
  • Quantum Optics and Information
  • Cosmology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computational Physics Capstone research project

Click here for further information on modules/subject.

Study abroad

Theoretical Physics students can spend up to a year, usually the third year, of their studies at a university abroad, either in Europe via Erasmus exchanges or further afield via a considerable number of bilateral agreements between Trinity and universities ranging from the Australian National University to the University of California and New York University in the United States. You can learn more at:

Study Theoretical Physics at Trinity

This is a presentation by Jan Manschot giving an outline of the Theoretical Physics course in Trinity College Dublin.

Course Details


B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)

CAO Information

CAO Points 554 (2023) CAO Code TR035

Number of Places

45 Places
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Course Options

Related courses:

TR031 Mathematics

TR063 Physical Sciences

Admission Requirements

Leaving Certificate:

H3 in Mathematics and Physics

Advanced GCE (A-Level):

Grade B in Mathematics and Physics

International Baccalaureate:

HL Grade 6 in Mathematics and Physics

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


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

EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

    Non-EU Applicants

    Advanced Entry Applications

    Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.

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    Register Your Interest

    Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

    Register Your Interest

    I chose Theoretical Physics in Trinity because I wanted the best possible understanding about the laws that govern our universe. I loved solving problems. If you go through the definitions and practice using the theorems, it all comes together in this magical moment and, suddenly, you find you know how to solve a problem. It is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have done in my life. It is worth all the work I put in to now have an idea of how black holes work. I would like to pursue a Master's or a Ph.D. in particle physics or quantum gravity. Theoretical Physics has given me the problem-solving and analytical skills to research these topics.

    Manya Sahni