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Course Fact File
Duration4 years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8

Course Outline

Physics occupies a central position in science and technology. It is concerned with fundamental questions about the basic building blocks of matter and how the universe evolved.

The Astrophysics degree at UCC is designed for those who have always harboured an interest in astronomy and the physics of the universe.

The course equips students with the same fundamental background in Physics, and with the same numerical and computational skills, as those graduating via the more traditional Physics degree course. This course is not differentiated from the Physics degree until Year 3. Refer to CK408  for more details.



Year 1 Modules

Option 1 - Core

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

Option 2 - Core

  • PY1052 Introductory Physics 1 (10 credits)
  • PY1053 Introductory Physics II (10 credits)
  • 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)


  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1003 Introduction to Biological Chemistry and Microbiology (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • BL1005 Introduction to Ecology (5 credits)
  • Year 2 Core Modules: Astrophysics and Special Relativity; C/C++ Programming with Applications; Classical Mechanics;  Computational Physics; Electrostatics and Magnetostatics; Experimental Physics; Experimental Methods; Fourier Methods; Multivariable Calculus; Quantum Physics; Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics. Electives: Ordinary Differential Equations; Linear Algebra; Mathematical Modelling
  • Year 3 Core Modules: Computer Modelling and Numerical Techniques; Condensed Matter Physics: Electromagnetism; Experimental Physics; Experimental Methods; Nuclear and Particle Physics; Optics; Quantum Mechanics; Statistical Thermodynamics; Vector and Tensor Methods; Observational Astrophysics. Electives: Mathematical Experimentation and Chaos; Fluid Mechanics; Optimisation and the Calculus of Variations; Computational Techniques
  • Year 4 Core Modules: Stars and the Interstellar Medium; Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics; Gravitation and Cosmology; Research Project; Experimental Physics. Electives: Quantum Optics; Physics of Semiconductor Devices; Advanced Mechanics; Advanced Quantum Mechanics; Advanced Electromagnetism; Advanced Condensed Matter Physics; Atomic and Molecular Physics; Quantum Field Theory; Introduction to Plasma Physics; Introduction to Lasers and Photonics; Advanced Computational Physics

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.

Course Practicalities


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

Why Choose This Course

As well as the knowledge I gained from my course, I developed a keen problem-solving ability which will stand to me in any career...

Dr Anna Hourihane | UCC Graduate, BSc & PhD in Astrophysics

Find Out More

As part of this course, students obtain practical experience using a research-grade telescope abroad in Year 3. In addition, the university houses the unique Crawford Observatory and a new astronomical observing facility on the top of its science building.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

A field trip abroad to an astronomical observatory in Year 3 is an integral part of the overall course.

Skills and Careers Information

Most practicing astronomers in Ireland, i.e. those carrying out astronomical research, tend to teach at the third level.

For those who do not pursue research in Astrophysics beyond their degree, graduates have the same wide range of potential employers as do those graduating with a Physics degree. Examples of the careers recent graduates have pursued include software engineer, energy researcher, Eircom engineer, stockbroker, geophysicist, and BT technical manager.


Refer to CK408.

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

Refer to CK408.

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