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Course overview

Special entrance requirements: B in Leaving Certificate at Higher Level in both Mathematics and Physics.


A four year honors degree course combining courses in mathematics and physics. The programme emphasises the theoretical side of physics but includes experimental aspects. It also includes a range of courses in pure and applied mathematics and an introduction to computing. Some of the topics covered are relativity, cosmology, astrophysics and quantum mechanics, lasers, magnetism and superconductivity.

Course Objective

The Theoretical Physics programme in Trinity is designed to provide students with a solid background for further study or work in any area of experimental or theoretical physics. It includes computational physics. Having a large mathematics component it is also an excellent foundation for work in almost any numerate or logical discipline.

Course Content

The underlying theories of physics are described in mathematical terms, so a theoretical physicist needs a good understanding of both subjects. Cosmology, astrophysics, chaos, relativity and quantum mechanics are just a few of the exciting topics in theoretical physics while the more practical side of the course involves the latest ideas in magnetism, superconductivity, lasers and semi-conductors. This course is taught jointly by the Schools of Mathematics and Physics.

In the first two years students take Physics lectures which review all classical physics, introduces modern physics and is backed up by a comprehensive laboratory course. It is combined with mathematics modules in Algebra, Analysis, Mathematical Methods, Mechanics and Theoretical Physics. In the third and fourth years students choose from a selection of modules from both mathematics and physics. Practical work is not compulsory in the final year, although there is an experimental option for those who wish to maintain contact with the experimental side of the subject, in preference to a project.

Course Assessment

Students are assessed by means of continuous assessment and examination.

Career Opportunities

A degree in Theoretical Physics can be a starting point for a career in research in a university, government agency, or in industry in the fields of astronomy, meteorology, computing hardware and software, aerodynamics, statistics, instrumentation, atomic and nuclear physics. Graduates may also choose to go on to a career in teaching, finance, actuarial work or management.

Further information on course content and regulations is available. Enquiries may also be directed to the School of Mathematics (tel: (01) 896 1949) or the Department of Physics (tel: (01) 896 1675).