Theoretical Physics

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time - Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN200
CAO Points Range 2016: 510 - 625
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 400

Leaving Certificate:
  • O3/H6 in Mathematics
  • O3/H6 in a laboratory science (Applied Mathematics or Geography may be used instead of a laboratory science subject) and
  • O6/H7 in English, Irish and two other recognised subjects
Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

The UCD Theoretical Physics degree puts emphasis on the mathematical description of physical phenomena, providing a unified picture of the fundamental laws of nature. It’s ideally suited to students who enjoy studying Mathematics and Physics for their Leaving Certificate. Insights from Theoretical Physics are driving our understanding of nature at all scales, from the origin of large-scale structures in the universe to the Planck scale, where our current understanding of space and time breaks down. The degree comprehensively covers Theoretical Physics, while developing your knowledge and expertise in problem solving, using analytical and computational techniques, which have wide application in, for example, biophysics, econophysics, quantum physics, relativity and nanoscience.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

Theoretical Physics graduates can choose to develop careers in:

  • Academic and government research institutions
  • Energy technologies
  • Information and communication technology
  • Advanced materials [e.g. semiconductor industry]
  • Management consulting, stock market and financial risk analysis
  • Climate change and environmental impact analysis
  • Second- and third-level education

Our Theoretical Physics graduates are well prepared for further research and have successfully completed PhDs in MIT, Caltech, Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge, as well as in UCD.

What Will I Study

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Theoretical Physics. Topics include electromagnetism, mathematical modelling, mechanics and special relativity, vector calculus, statistical physics, fluid mechanics, computational science, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics, general relativity, and statistical physics.

First Year

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective modules

Second Year

  • Theoretical Physics
  • + 1 Other Science Subject
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Theoretical Physics (includes Quantum Physics and Electrodynamics, Applied & Computational Mathematics and Mathematics)
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Theoretical Physics (includes General Relativity, Quantum Field Theory, Statistical and Particle Physics, Applied & Computational Mathematics, Theoretical Physics project)

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

For detailed information on subject content click the relevant link below:

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

International Study Opportunities

Students can apply to study for a semester or year in third year in a number of universities worldwide including:

  • University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
  • San Jose State University, California, USA
  • University of Melbourne, Australia


“I found Physics, in particular Quantum Physics, to be really interesting in secondary school and so chose to study Theoretical Physics at UCD because the course focuses heavily on the areas that I found cool. Especially in our last two years, we have the ability to tailor our module choices to the areas of Physics that we find interesting, be it Quantum Physics, Theoretical Astrophysics or Computational Physics, among many others. A great thing about Physics is all the support we get from lecturers, as well as the other years. Outside of studying, UCD gave me the option to return to Lacrosse and Taekwondo, and I also picked up Judo. I got involved in the Physics Society as Auditor, which allowed me to connect more with the other years and people from across the university.”

Athina Lange Student

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