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Theoretical Physics (PPS1)

Undergraduate (Level 8 NFQ, Credits 240)
Academic Year 2024/2025
Internships Available
Study Abroad
Sustainable Development Goals
Duration:
4 Year(s)
Next Intake:
2024/2025 September
General Entry Requirements (A-Level)

ABB / BBBD /
BBB + D AS Level

General Entry Requirements (IB)

29

Subject Requirements (Laboratory Science)

GCSE A / A Level D

(or AS Level C)
IB SL 6 / HL 4

Subject Requirements (Mathematics)

GCSE A / A Level D

(or AS Level C)
IB SL 6 / HL 4

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
Visit the UCD Global Undergraduate Entry Requirements webpage.

Curricular information is subject to change.

At UCD, Theoretical Physics puts emphasis on the mathematical description of physical phenomena, providing a unified picture of the fundamental laws of nature. It’s ideally suited to students who enjoy studying Mathematics and Physics in secondary school. Insights from Theoretical Physics are driving our understanding of nature at all scales, from the origin of large-scale structures in the universe to the Planck scale, where our current understanding of space and time breaks down. The degree subject comprehensively covers Theoretical Physics, while developing your knowledge and expertise in problem solving, using analytical and computational techniques, which have wide application in, for example, biophysics, social physics, quantum physics, relativity and nanoscience.

Information on all our courses including pathways, internships and careers information is available in the UCD Science Undergraduate Courses Entry 2024 Brochure (PDF).

About this Course

Theoretical Physics is one of the degree subjects available through the Physics stream in the common entry Science course. Students study similar modules for all degree subjects in the Physics stream in first year and will study modules for a minimum of two degree subjects in second year. At the end of second year, students choose their degree major. Assuming students meet all the academic requirements in first and second year, students are guaranteed a degree subject from the stream they are studying in second year. We do our best to ensure that students go on to study their top degree subject choice. As we offer plenty of degree subjects in each stream, students have a number of similar degree subjects to choose from as their degree major. For more information on choosing a degree major at the end of Second Year, visit the Physics stream page.

This is a sample set of modules that a Theoretical Physics student could study each year in UCD.

First Year
Scientific Enquiry • Introduction to Applied & Computational Mathematics • Calculus in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences • Frontiers of Physics • Foundations of Physics • Astronomy & Space Science • Fields, Waves and Light • Optional Modules • Elective Module 

Second Year
Computational Science • Classical Mechanics • Calculus of Several Variables • Introductory Quantum Mechanics • Oscillations & Waves • Vector Calculus • Methods for Physicists • Electronics & Devices • + modules for 1 other Science Subject • Elective Modules 

Third Year
Advanced Theoretical Physics Laboratory • Classical Mechanics+Relativity • Quantum Mechanics • Electromagnetism • Optics & Lasers • Complex Analysis • Option Modules • Elective modules Physics offers summer research experience to undergraduates 

Fourth Year
Research Project • Applied Quantum Mechanics • Advanced Mathematical Methods • High Energy Particle Physics • Nuclear Physics • General Relativity & Cosmology • Computational Biophysics • Quantum Field Theory • Option modules 

Timetables & Assessment
Each student will have their own timetable based on their individual module selection. This is a full-time course and classes may include lectures, practicals and tutorials, depending on the subjects. Students will also be expected to study independently (autonomous student learning). Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

Below is a list of all modules offered for this degree in the current academic year. Click on the module to discover what you will learn in the module, how you will learn and assessment feedback profile amongst other information.

Incoming Stage 1 undergraduates can usually select an Elective in the Spring Trimester. Most continuing undergraduate students can select up to two Elective modules (10 Credits) per stage. There is also the possibility to take up to 10 extra Elective credits.

Module ID Module Title Trimester Credits
Stage 2 Core Modules
     
ACM20030 Computational Science Autumn

5

ACM20050 Classical Mechanics Autumn

5

MATH20060 Calculus of Several Variables Autumn

5

PHYC20020 Introductory Quantum Mechanics Autumn

5

ACM20060 Oscillations and Waves Spring

5

ACM20150 Vector Integral & Differential Calculus Spring

5

PHYC20060 Methods for Physicists Spring

5

PHYC20090 Electronics and Devices Spring

5

Stage 2 Core Modules
     
Stage 2 Options
     
MATH20300 Linear Algebra 2 for the Mathematical Sciences Autumn

5

PHYC10050 Astronomy & Space Science Autumn

5

PHYC10210 Quanta, Particles & Relativity Autumn

5

PHYC10250 Thermal Physics and Materials Autumn

5

PHYC20100 Thermo & Stat Physics Autumn

5

STAT20110 Introduction to Probability Autumn

5

MATH10320 Mathematical Analysis Spring

5

MATH20310 Groups, Rings and Fields Spring

5

PHYC20040 Exploring the Solar System Spring

5

PHYC20080 Fields, Waves and Light Spring

5

STAT10060 Statistical Modelling Spring

5

Stage 2 Options
     
Stage 3 Core Modules
     
PHYC30320 Advanced Laboratory for Theoretical Physics I 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr)

10

ACM30220 Partial Differential Equations Autumn

5

PHYC30020 Classical Mechanics and Relativity Autumn

5

PHYC30030 Quantum Mechanics Autumn

5

ACM30200 Mathematical Fluid Dynamics I Spring

5

MATH30040 Complex Analysis Spring

5

PHYC30070 Electromagnetism Spring

5

Stage 3 Core Modules
     
Stage 3 Options
     
ACM30130 Advanced Computational Science Autumn

5

ACM30190 Dynamical Systems Autumn

5

MATH20300 Linear Algebra 2 for the Mathematical Sciences Autumn

5

PHYC20100 Thermo & Stat Physics Autumn

5

PHYC30050 Condensed Matter Physics Autumn

5

PHYC30100 Stellar Astrophysics & Astronomical Techniques Autumn

5

ACM30020 Advanced Mathematical Methods Spring

5

ACM30090 Mathematical Biology Spring

5

ACM30140 Numerical Methods for PDEs Spring

5

ACM30210 Foundations of Quantum Theory Spring

5

PHYC30080 Optics & Lasers Spring

5

PHYC30090 Nuclear Physics Spring

5

STAT20100 Inferential Statistics Spring

5

Stage 3 Options
     
Stage 4 Core Modules
     
PHYC40900 Proj. Theoretical Physics 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr)

10

PHYC40020 Applied Quantum Mechanics Autumn

5

Stage 4 Core Modules
     
Stage 4 Options
     
ACM30190 Dynamical Systems Autumn

5

ACM40010 Electrodynamics & Gauge Theory Autumn

5

ACM40070 Math Fluid Dynamics II Autumn

5

ACM40690 Survey of Appl and Comp Math Autumn

5

ACM40750 Gen Relativity & Black Holes Autumn

5

ACM41020 Maths of Machine Learning Autumn

5

PHYC30050 Condensed Matter Physics Autumn

5

PHYC30100 Stellar Astrophysics & Astronomical Techniques Autumn

5

PHYC40080 High Energy Particle Physics Autumn

5

PHYC40120 General Relativity & Cosmology Autumn

5

PHYC40470 Computational Biophysics and Nanoscale Simulations Autumn

5

PHYC40930 Ultrafast Soft X-ray Photonics Autumn

5

PHYC41070 Techniques in Biophysics Autumn

5

PHYC40330 Advanced Laboratory for TP III Autumn and Spring (separate)

5

PHYC40690 Advanced Laboratory Physics Autumn and Spring (separate)

5

ACM30020 Advanced Mathematical Methods Spring

5

ACM30090 Mathematical Biology Spring

5

ACM41010 Math of Sust & Environment Spring

5

ACM41030 Optimization Algorithms Spring

5

ACM41040 GR and Gravitational Waves Spring

5

PHYC30080 Optics & Lasers Spring

5

PHYC30090 Nuclear Physics Spring

5

PHYC40030 Galaxies, Observational Cosmology & the Interstellar Medium Spring

5

PHYC40110 Medical Physics (Selected Topics) Spring

5

PHYC40200 Quantum Theory of Condensed Matter Spring

5

PHYC40210 Applied Optics Spring

5

PHYC40360 Theoretical Astrophysics Spring

5

PHYC40650 Advanced Statistical Physics Spring

5

PHYC40800 Quantum Field Theory Spring

5

Students can apply to study for a trimester or year in third year in a number of universities worldwide including University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Santa Cruz; San Jose State University, and University of Melbourne.

The UCD School of Physics typically offers a number of research studentships working on a range of projects within the school. These are suitable for undergraduates currently studying physics or a related discipline, and aim to give students the opportunity to gain research experience.



More information about the internship module and application process.


Theoretical Physics graduates can choose to develop careers in a variety of sectors including academic and government research Institutions, energy technologies, information and communication technology, advanced materials  [e.g. semiconductor industry], management consulting, stock market and financial risk analysis, climate change and environmental impact analysis, and second and third-level education. Our Theoretical Physics degree subject is an accredited Physics degree subject and graduates are well prepared for further research and have successfully completed PhDs in MIT, Caltech, Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge, as well as in UCD.

The following advice is for Non-EU applicants. For Irish/EU/UK students, please apply via MyUCD.

The following entry route(s) are available:
 
Science: Physics (includes Theoretical/Astronomy & Space Science) Stream (PYS2)
Undergraduate Degree (Non EU)
Entry in Sep 2024
Full Time - 4 Year(s) Apply from Oct 2023 Apply

By studying an undergraduate degree in the Science programme, you will be joining a global community of scientists and will be taught by world-class researchers at the forefront of research in one of the most innovative and diverse programmes in Ireland, encompassing biology, sustainability, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, mathematics and computer science. Faculty who teach on the Science programme draw on their research to provide an inclusive and equitable education for scientists who will be leaders and innovators in a range of industries and research institutes working towards a sustainable and equitable future. 

The curriculum is informed by the following research:

  • Exploring and understanding the processes that drive and can mitigate and enable adaptation to global change from evolutionary, environmental and social perspectives at levels ranging from molecular and genetic to individual, ecosystem and landscape

  • Translating fundamental discoveries to a greater understanding of health and disease, with the ultimate aim of informing novel drug discovery

  • Performing fundamental and applied research with a focus on current societal challenges including the energy transition, environmental change, geohazards and access to natural resources

The College of Science offers a range of degree subjects within the Science and Sustainability common entry courses that embed sustainability principles and are working towards the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

SDG

  • Good Health and Well-being (SGD 3)

  • Quality Education (SDG 4)

  • Affordable and Clean Energy (SGD 7)

  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9)

  • Sustainable Cities and Communities (SGD 11)

  • Responsible Consumption and Production (SGD 12)

  • Life Below Water (SDG 14)

  • Life on Land (SDG 15)

The programmes at UCD are designed to equip students with the best education in their chosen field, while at the same time embedding the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) in their education where most relevant.

"In First Year, I had the opportunity to sample a number of different areas before eventually choosing Theoretical Physics as my degree. The combination of problem solving, mathematics and programming helped me make my decision. I travelled to CERN in Geneva with the Physics Society which was a great experience. I also regularly go on surf trips with UCD Surf Club around Ireland. I travelled with the club to Taghazout in Morocco on their annual foreign trip where I had an amazing time. Since my graduation, I have been working as a Technology Consultant within Ernst & Young which gave me the opportunity to work on a large variety of projects and learn about how technology can be used to solve problems for various clients."

Ian Smith, Graduate

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Theoretical Physics (PPS1)

Undergraduate (Level 8 NFQ, Credits 240)