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

CAO Code: DN200 MPG
CAO Points Range 2015: 510 - 625
Length of Course: 4 Years
DN200 Places: 402

Leaving Certificate: Passes in six subjects including English, Irish, Mathematics (Min OB3/HD3), one laboratory science subject or Applied Mathematics or Geography (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’s 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, general relativity, and statistical 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 Quantum Physics and Electrodynamics, Applied & Computational Mathematics and Mathematics)
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Theoretical Physics (includes General Relativity, Statistical and Particle Physics, Applied & 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.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Theoretical Physics graduates can choose to develop careers in:

  • 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
  • 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.

International Study Opportunities

Students can apply to study for a semester 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

Student Profile

“With a degree in Theoretical Physics, there are plenty of job opportunities ranging from working with computers, in meteorology, in the finance sector, even in further research in labs around the world. Currently, I’m considering research in the field of optics, a branch of physics that has never failed to interest me. Theoretical Physics has a high emphasis on group work, and there are plenty of opportunities for inter-disciplinary work working as part of a team of biologists, chemists or engineers. Societies and clubs are a huge part of UCD life. Hardly a day goes by that I can’t be seen at a coffee morning for UCD LGBT, a free film screening with FilmSoc in the UCD cinema, a lecture by a prominent physicist with the Physics Society or a play in the Dramsoc theatre.”

Eoin Ó Laighléis, Student

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Course Pathway

See Also
Applied & Computational Mathematics
Financial 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