Theoretical Physics
BSc (Hons)
Full Time - Undergraduate studies
Course Information

CAO Code: DN200 MPG
CAO Points Range 2013: 505 - 625
Length of Course: 4 Years
DN200 Places: 380

Leaving Certificate: Passes in six subjects including English, Irish, Mathematics (Min OB3/HD3), one laboratory science subject or Applied Mathematics (or Geography from entry 2014) (Min OB3/HD3). Two of the six subjects must be minimum HC3.

Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:
Other EU Applicants
Non-EU Applicants
Level 5/6 FETAC Entry Routes
Level 6/7 Progression Routes
Mature Entry Route

Why is this course for me?

The UCD Theoretical Physics degree puts emphasis on the mathematical description of physical phenomena, providing a unified picture of the fundamental laws of nature. It is ideally suited to students who enjoy studying Mathematics and Physics for their Leaving Certificate. 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 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, econophysics, quantum physics, relativity and nanoscience.

What will I study?

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Theoretical Physics. Topics include electromagnetism, mathematical modelling, mechanics and special relativity, vector calculus, statistical physics, fluid mechanics, computational science, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics.

First Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective modules

Second Year

  • Theoretical Physics
  • + 1 Other Science Subject
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Theoretical Physics (Includes Physics, Applied and Computational Mathematics and Mathematics)
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Theoretical Physics (includes Physics, Applied and Computational Mathematics and Mathematics)

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials. Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

Year 1 Sample Modules (.pdf) – Please note that these modules may change for entry 2012.
Years 2 - 4 Sample Modules (.pdf) – Please note that we are currently revising the structures for Second, Third and Fourth year so these modules are an indication of course content only

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Theoretical Physics graduates can choose to develop careers in:

  • Energy technologies
  • Information and communication technology
  • Management consulting, stock market and financial risk analysis
  • Climate change and environmental impact analysis
  • Second- and third-level education.

Our Theoretical Physics graduates are well prepared for further research and have successfully completed PhDs in MIT, Caltech, Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge, as well as in UCD.

Student Profile

By studying second year Theoretical Physics I get to learn and enjoy different mathematical and physical concepts, and how they come together to describe our world. Time and time again I'm blown away by how some of these ideas were discovered and by how they can be taught to us. The work varies between being in a lab grappling with apparatus, and sitting with pen and paper, grappling with equations and theorems. It is challenging, rewarding, and interesting, but the work is, in my opinion, not the best thing about doing this degree. The best thing is the people. To be surrounded by like-minded classmates, who are as passionate about physics as I am is refreshing, as well as having lecturers, tutors and lab demonstrators who are friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic about teaching. It makes it a pleasure to learn.

Part of UCD's appeal is also the wide range of societies and clubs that it offers. Taking advantage of the societies available to balance the work with the fun is a must, to meet new people, go new places, and stay sane! I enjoy taking part in the events that FilmSoc, UCD LGBT, MathSoc, and PhysicsSoc put on. We'll even be going on a trip to Geneva for a tour of CERN with PhysicsSoc this year! It should hopefully be a wild, exciting event, just like the rest of my degree.

Fionn Ó hÓgáin

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Course Pathway

See Also
Applied & Computational Mathematics
Contact Information

Dr Vladimir Lobaskin,
UCD School of Physics
Science Centre
Belfield, Dublin 4.

Tel: +353 1 716 2432
Email: vladimir.lobaskin@ucd.ie