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: €3,170 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

    2020: 531*

  • CAO Points Range

    2020: 531-625

Course Outline

If you are passionate about how things work and enjoy scientific experiments and mathematics, you should study physics – the study of the universe, from the largest galaxies to matter itself. 

Physics and 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.

Its concepts, from relativity to quantum mechanics, challenge the imagination. A physics education not only develops problem-solving skills, it also provides a firm knowledge of basic science and the ability to apply and adapt that knowledge within the workplace.

Year 1 modules

Option 1


  • PY1052 & PY1053 Introductory Physics I & II (10 credits each)
  • MA1011 Mathematical Methods I (5 credits)
  • MA1012 Mathematical Methods II (5 credits)
  • AM1020 Mathematical Modelling (5 credits)
  • AM1021 Mechanics I (5 credits)
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5 credits)

Option 2


  • PY1052 & PY1053 Introductory Physics I & II (10 credits each)
  • 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 Option 1 and 2 to the value of 15 credits from the following

  • 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)
  • ST1051 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5 credits).
  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals
  • BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems

Option 3


  • PY1052 & PY1053 Introductory Physics I & II (10 credits each)
  • MA1058 Introduction to Linear Algebra (5 credits)
  • MA1059 Calculus (5 credits)
  • MA1060 Introduction to Analysis (5 credits)
  • CM1007 Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists (15 credits)

Electives for Option 3  two modules to the value of 10 credits from the following:

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


Option 1

Students select one Degree stream from:

  • Astrophysics
  • Physics
  • Chemical Physics

Option 2

  • Mathematical Sciences and Physics

Option 3

  • Science Education (Physics Route only).

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

Course Practicalities


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Not all modules will have formal examinations. Many modules use other types of assessment.

Who teaches this course

Staff across the disciplines of mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics teach modules on this course, which is one of the top two degrees offered by the school, thereby putting a wide breadth of mathematical knowledge and research experience at your disposal. This is evidenced by the high level and the wide range of final-year undergraduate projects which we offer.

Why Choose This Course

The programme at UCC offers excellent education in both experimental and theoretical physics.

Physics, and technologies developed by physicists, play a major role in atmospheric science, chemistry, biology, medicine, electronics, geology, energy, optics, nanotechnology, computer science and engineering.

An education in physics provides problem-solving, analytical, computational, mathematical and IT skills and can lead to a wide range of careers.

You will enter the jobs market with a top-class numerate degree from one of the strongest mathematical sciences departments in the country.

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.

We have strong links with local, national and international companies, as well as a strong international reputation in research, which will add value to your degree.


Placement or Study Abroad Information

There are opportunities for studying abroad in Year 3 at a variety of universities in the US and Europe. Recently, UCC Physics students have spent Year 3 at the University of California, University of Massachusetts, the University of North Carolina and the University of Marburg. 

Skills and Careers Information

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. 

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 2019/20 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €170.

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. 

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact