UCC Undergraduate courses

Physics and Astrophysics

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Physics and Astrophysics

  • Code


  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    4 Years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU State Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 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

    2021: 566

  • CAO Points Range

    2021: 566-625

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.


Students can enter second-year Science from the BSc Physics and Astrophysics (CK408) entry stream. You can proceed to a BSc Single Honours Degree in Astrophysics, Science Education (Physics Route only) or Physics, or a Joint Honours Degree in Physics with one of Applied Mathematics or Mathematics.

There are a variety of pathways from this degree and your choice of electives will impact your route. Please see the University Calendar (Physics) for more information.

In Year 1 students take 60 credits as follows:

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 
  • AM1020 Mathematical Modelling 
  • AM1021 Mechanics I 
  • 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

Option 3

  • PY1052 Introductory Physics I (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • MA1058 Introduction to Linear Algebra
  • MA1059 Calculus
  • MA1060 Introduction to Analysis 
  • CM1007 Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists (15 credits)  

Electives for Option 1 and 2 choose 15 credits from the following:

  • 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

Electives for Option 3; Choose 10 credits from the following:

  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals
  • BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems

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

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

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 the 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:




Lab Science




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.

FETAC requirements

FETAC requirements can be found here.

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 for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

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. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

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.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these 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 term 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