UCC Undergraduate courses

Physics & Astrophysics

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Physics & Astrophysics

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    4 Years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    1 x H4, 1 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; Maths and a Lab Science subject are required. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2022: 578

  • CAO Points Range


Course Outline

If you are passionate about how things work and enjoy scientific experiments and mathematics, you should think about studying physics. Fundamentally Physics and Astrophysics is concerned with the study of the universe, from the largest galaxies to the nature of matter itself. Without doubt, this programme will challenge you and your imagination and opens up a world of opportunity both personal and in your career.

Physics, and the technologies developed by physicists, play a major role in chemistry, biology, medicine, electronics, geology, and in the applied fields of optics, nanotechnology, computer science and engineering. A physics education not only develops your problem-solving skills but will also provide you with a solid knowledge of basic science and the ability to apply and adapt that knowledge within the workplace for the betterment of society.


Students can enter second-year Science from the BSc Physics & Astrophysics (CK408) entry stream.

BSc Single Honours Degree options include:


Your choice of module electives will impact your degree route. See the University Calendar (Physics) for more information.

Year 1 Modules (60 credits)

All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

Option 1

  • PY1052 Introductory Physics I (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • MA1011 Mathematical Methods I 
  • MA1012 Mathematical Methods II
  • AM1052 Introduction to Mechanics 
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Option 2

  • PY1052 Introductory Physics I (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • AM1052 Introduction to Mathematics 
  • MA1058 Introduction to Linear Algebra
  • MA1059 Calculus
  • MA1060 Introduction to Analysis 
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics


Electives for Options 1 & 2 (choose 15 credits):

  • AM1053 Introduction to Mathematical Modelling*
  • AM1054 Mathematical Software*
  • CM1006 Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists and Mathematicians (10 credits)#
  • CM1007 Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists (15 credits)#
  • CS1061 Programming in C 
  • CS1065 Computer Applications with Visual Basic 
  • CS1068 Introductory Programming in Python
  • MA1057 Introduction to Abstract Algebra* 
  • PY1054 Special Topics in Physics 
  • ST1050 Statistical Programming in R
  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals
  • BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems


*Students wishing to study BSc Mathematical Sciences & Physics must take these modules.

#Students wishing to study BSc Chemical Sciences must take one of these modules. 


Degree Awards – Single Honours: Physics, Astrophysics, Chemical Physics
If you wish to pursue one of the above BSc Single Honours degree awards, you can choose either Option 1 or Option 2 in first year.

Degree Award – Joint Honours: Mathematical Sciences and Physics
If you wish to pursue the BSc Joint Honours Mathematical Sciences and Physics degree award, you need to choose Option 2 in first year.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.


Written exams take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules have formal examinations and many modules use other types of assessment. Please see the Book of Modules for more information on each module and its assessment.

Why Choose This Course

Who teaches this course?

Staff across disciplines, including physics, mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics teach modules on this course, which is one of the top two degrees offered by the school. 

Connected Curriculum

Our learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between topics such as physics, maths, technology, and society.

Available Scholarships

We support our postgraduate community by offering scholarships and bursaries to prospective and current students. Please see the SEFS Scholarships and Funding PG page for more information. 

Placement or Study Abroad Information

In the third year there are opportunities for studying abroad at a variety of universities in the US and Europe. Recently, UCC Physics students have spent third year at the University of California, University of Massachusetts, University of North Carolina, and the University of Marburg in Germany.

Skills and Careers Information

An education in physics provides problem-solving, analytical, computational, mathematical, and IT skills and can lead to a wide range of careers. The emphasis on developing problem-solving skills across a range of disciplines is highly regarded by employers. Our students have an excellent track record in both career development following graduation and in postgraduate study. Please refer to Skills and Careers Information for each separate degree programme in this Physics & Astrophysics (CK408) entry route.


Leaving Certificate entry requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H4 in one subject, minimum grade H5 in one subject and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

The following are considered Lab Science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Chemistry and Agricultural Science.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishMathsLab ScienceNote
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7 or H4* O6/H7 or H4* H4 in either a Lab Science subject, Maths or Applied Maths or Computer Science

If the H4 is in Maths, Applied Maths, or Computer Science an 06/H7 in a Lab Science subject is also required. 

Mature entry applicants: Find out about the mature entry requirements here.

Other qualifications: EU/EFTA/UK students presenting an alternative school-leaving qualification (e.g. A-levels or International Baccalaureate) or QQI/FE course should visit our  pages for further information. 

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page.

Refer to our International Office page for more information on how to apply to UCC.

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. Please see Fees Office for more information.

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

EU applicants: Application to the first year of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Mature applicants: Application is made through the CAO and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of proposed entry.

EU Applicants: The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over): See the CAO Mature Applicants page and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) page for essential information on the application process for mature students.

QQI FET: See our QQI FET Applicants page.

Non-EU Applicants: Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page.

All Applicants: Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Please check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

  • In UCC, we use the terms programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact