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Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesEU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,138. See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 567
CAO Points Range2023: 567-625

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.

The introductory first year in Physics and Astrophysics gives you access to the four degree programmes: 

Year 1 Modules 

You will take 60 credits from a variety of modules, but note that there is a slight variation in module choice in first year depending on your preferred degree programme. You will have two options regarding which modules you take in first year:

  • If you wish to chose either BSc Physics, BSc Astrophysics, or BSc Chemical Physics, you can choose either Option 1 or Option 2 in first year.
  • If you wish to chose BSc Mathematical Sciences and Physics, you must choose Option 2 in first year.

Option 1

  • PY1052 Introductory Physics I (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • MA1011 Mathematical Methods I (5 credits)
  • MA1012 Mathematical Methods II (5 credits)
  • AM1052 Introduction to Mechanics (5 credits)
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5 credits)

Option 2

  • PY1052 Introductory Physics I (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • AM1052 Introduction to Mathematics (5 credits)
  • MA1058 Introduction to Linear Algebra (5 credits)
  • MA1059 Calculus (5 credits)
  • MA1060 Introduction to Analysis (5 credits) 
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5 credits)

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

  • AM1053 Introduction to Mathematical Modelling (5 credits)*
  • AM1054 Mathematical Software (5 credits)*
  • CM1006 Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists and Mathematicians (10 credits)**
  • CM1007 Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists (15 credits)**
  • CS1061 Programming in C (5 credits)
  • CS1065 Computer Applications with Visual Basic (5 credits) 
  • CS1068 Introductory Programming in Python (5 credits)
  • MA1057 Introduction to Abstract Algebra (5 credits)* 
  • PY1054 Special Topics in Physics (5 credits)
  • ST1050 Statistical Programming in R (5 credits)
  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits)

*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. 

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Why Choose This Course

A physics education helps you to develop problem-solving skills, and imparts a firm knowledge of basic science and the ability to apply and adapt that knowledge within the workplace. An education in Physics provides problem-solving, analytical, computational, mathematical and IT skills and can lead to a wide range of careers.

Our BSc Physics and Astrophysics course is internationally accredited by the Institute of Physics. Staff across disciplines, including physics, mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics teach modules on this course.

We have a very active research programme, with access to research groups located in the School of Physics and the Tyndall National Institute – UCC’s largest research institute.

UCC is also home to the Crawford Observatory which remains the only observatory on any university campus in Ireland.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work Placement

There is no formal work placement programme, however, in second and third year, you have opportunities to apply for Summer research at the nearby Tyndall Institute and the School of Physics.

Study Abroad

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 in the following universities: 

  • University of California (US)
  • University of Massachusetts (US)
  • University of North Carolina (US) 
  • Technical University of Munich (Germany)
  • University of Marburg (Germany)
  • University of Groningen (Netherlands) 

Skills and Careers Information

Graduate Study Options

There are many options for further study. Many graduate courses – both taught and research-based – look for students with undergraduate degrees in Physics. 

The School of Physics offers postgraduate research programmes to MRes (Masters by Research) and PhD level and welcomes applications from suitably qualified graduates. Postgraduate studies are completed in conjunction with one of the research groups in the School. Much of the research is performed collaboratively and there are excellent opportunities for students to broaden their skills and experience by spending time in one of their collaborating institutions in Europe, the USA, Asia or Australia.

Career Opportunities

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. The career fields to choose from include computer science, data science and analysis, education, the environment, medicine, space science, climate science, sustainability, IT management, banking and finance, engineering, meteorology, astronomy, health, marketing, and technology.

Our students have an excellent track record in both career development following graduation and in postgraduate study. For further information on career opportunities from each area of study, please see the information for the relevant degree course. You will find that the education covered in all streams of this course develops skills that are in high demand by employers and University research teams across the board.


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. 

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest. Applicants may also be called for interview.

Honours Maths or a high level of Ordinary Maths in the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) is strongly advised as this is a mathematically challenging course. Applied Maths and Physics in the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) is highly beneficial.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants 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 and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • 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.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact