Physics is about the fundamental laws of the universe that govern living as well as non-living systems. It is a fundamental science, involving a deep understanding of nature derived from mathematical and experimental insights. Physics is the subject that constantly asks “why?”, questioning why matter and energy exist and act as they do, and discovering the underlying rules that govern their behaviour. Physicists now believe that all phenomena observed in the universe can be explained in terms of a handful of forces: gravity, electricity, magnetism, and weak and strong nuclear interactions.
Developments in physics have led to advances in many fields, including medicine and the semiconductor industry. Understanding physical principles and discovering new laws that explain our universe at an even deeper level are the challenges that confront physicists in the 21st century. The degree will develop your knowledge and skills in problem-solving, data analysis, computation and experimental techniques.
Download the UCD Science Undergraduate Courses Entry 2023 Brochure (pdf)
For more information regarding this course, please click School of Physics
This is a sample pathway for a degree in Physics. Topics include relativity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal physics, optics and lasers, atomic and nuclear physics, particle physics, condensed matter physics and medical physics. Practical training develops core experimental skills including data acquisition techniques.
Physics • Mathematics • Optional Science modules • Elective module
Physics • + 1 other Science subject • Elective modules
Physics • Elective modules • UCD Physics offers research experience to undergraduates
Physics, (project, core physics and options including general relativity, medical physics, ultrafast photonics, computational biophysics and astrophysics)
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.
The UCD Physics degree is an accredited Physics degree and recent Physics graduates have pursued careers in the following:
- Energy technology
- Medical physics
- Advanced materials (e.g. semiconductor industry)
- ICT and financial industries
- Semi-state bodies such as EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection.
Graduates are also eligible to apply for MSc programmes in Nanobio Science, Space Science & Technology, Nanotechnology, Medical Physics or Meteorology, or for PhD programmes in Ireland and abroad in diverse areas such as Radiation Physics, Physics of Advanced Materials, Atomic Physics, Particle Physics and Astrophysics.
Students can apply to study for a trimester or year in third year in a number of universities worldwide, including:
- University of California, Berkeley, USA
- University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
- San Jose State University, California, USA
- University of Melbourne, Australia
I really fell in love with Physics after being able to apply what I learned in the classroom first-hand in the lab at UCD. This interest was boosted by two opportunities to undertake internships during my degree. After second year, I worked closely with UCD School of Physics staff to write programs to solve equations describing white dwarf and neutron stars. Then, in third year, I travelled to the University of Notre Dame in the United States to study radioactive materials’ impact on the environment. Inspired by these internships, I began a PhD in particle physics. I am currently based at CERN in Switzerland, helping to run the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider and to analyse the particle collisions it records.
Eimear Conroy, Graduate