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Each year more than 4,000 choose NUI Galway as their University of choice. Find out what life at NUI Galway is all about here.
About NUI Galway
About NUI Galway
Since 1845, NUI Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find out what makes our University so special – from our distinguished history to the latest news and campus developments.
Colleges & Schools
Colleges & Schools
NUI Galway has earned international recognition as a research-led university with a commitment to top quality teaching across a range of key areas of expertise.
Research & Innovation
Research & Innovation
NUI Galway’s vibrant research community take on some of the most pressing challenges of our times.
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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Physics, Astrophysics, Biomedical, Theoretical
Physics is the fundamental science, which seeks to understand the basic laws governing the structure of matter, the nature of energy and the physical forces that form our world. Its span of interest ranges from the nature of the short-range forces which operate inside the atomic nucleus to the origin and structure of the universe.
If you have an enquiring mind, and are interested in discovering how things work, then this could be the course for you. The Bachelor of Science (Physics – degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical, Theoretical, Climate) four year degree at NUI Galway offers you the flexibility in how you can study physics. It gives you the opportunity to experience a number of subjects along with core Physics before specialising in your chosen pathway in third year.
These pathways are:
- Applied Physics, the study of physics with particular emphasis on technological and practical applications
- Astrophysics, the part of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including that of stars, black holes and galaxies
- Biomedical Physics, the application of physics to the medical and biological sciences
- Theoretical Physics, the application of mathematical tools and models to explain and predict physical phenomena
- Climate Physics, focussed on understanding the physics of climate change from a rigorous-science perspective, a study of the key processes driving climate change, enabling a response on a regional, national and international scale
You will be introduced to these pathways at the very start of the programme. Students will gain an insight into some of the most exciting and interesting areas of scientific inquiry.
Do I need honours level Mathematics?
No, but physics is mathematical. In the first and second year you will be required to take mathematics courses, which will bring you to the standard required.
Do I need leaving certificate physics?
Leaving certificate physics will help you but it is not a requirement. We will teach you physics in first year.
Click here for more information on the Bachelor of Science (Physics – degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical, Theoretical, Climate).
See our New Physics brochure for further details: Physics brochure 2020 We are currently revising our brochure.
Applications and Selections
Who Teaches this Course
Requirements and Assessment
Minimum Grade H5 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at O6/H7 level in the Leaving Certificate, including Irish, English, Mathematics, a laboratory science subject (i.e. Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Physics with Chemistry (joint) or Agricultural Science) and any two other subjects recognised for entry purposes.
Next start date
A Level Grades (2020)
Mode of study
NUI Galway School of Physics was awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics in 2013. The aim of Project Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in physics. www.iop.org
- Physics Specialist Topics
- Applied Mathematics or Biology
- Physics (four modules)
- Plus eight additional modules chosen from an approved list in the following areas:
- Applied Mathematics
- Earth and Ocean Sciences (Climate stream)
- Megatrends (Economics and Business)
- Physics (six modules)
- Plus six additional modules chosen from an approved list in the following areas:
- Applied physics
- Biomedical Physics
- Theoretical Physics
- Other modules available in the College of Science
- Core Physics modules
- Specialist Physics courses (Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical, Theoretical,Climate)
- Plus advanced laboratory, project work and problem solving
Honours graduates can pursue higher degrees in physics or, depending on the specialisms selected, in a wide range of areas such as applied physics, astrophysics, energy/environmental studies, medical and biomedical physics, meteorology, and theoretical physics.
Why Choose This Course?
A degree in physics is an excellent training for employment in high technology industries (e.g. communications, electronics, optics and photonics, semiconductors, medical devices) and also in fields such as second- and third-level education,climate science, meteorology, the environmental and medical sciences, and software design.
A physics degree can also lead to an exciting career in fundamental research in any area of physics or in multidisciplinary areas such as nanotechnology, medical physics, biophysics, occupational health, and materials science. Theoretical physicists often work in the financial and actuarial sectors.
Click here to read a report produced for the Institute of Physics which shows 160,000 people are employed in physics based industries in Ireland.
“The challenges faced in Automotive Vision & Imaging are diverse and require different skill sets including technical expertise, problem solving, adaptability, communication & teamwork. Our experience is that graduates from the BSc, Masters and PhD programmes in the NUI Galway School of Physics have these competences in abundance and thus form a vital part of our team at R&D Valeo”.
Derek Savage, Computer Vision & Imaging (CVI) Department Manager, Valeo Vision Systems
Who’s Suited to This Course
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student Contribution
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Contribution Charge + Student Levy
Student Levy: €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here https://su.nuigalway.ie/
Find out More
Dr Niall Colgan
College of Science
T 353 (0)91 492 490
F 353 (0)91 750 501
What Our Students Say
Laura Britton | BSc Applied Physics
I have very fond memories of studying physics in NUIG and have made lifelong friends along the way. The undergraduate degree gave me a strong foundation in physics theory, and in particular I developed the confidence to be able to break any problem down into its fundamentals and solve with critical thinking. I went on to study a masters in Key Enabling Technologies in the NCLA department which really helped me to hone my research and practical skills. During the masters, I conducted research alongside an exciting start-up company here in the West of Ireland. I am currently employed by this company as a photonics researcher and we are in the process of developing a light-based treatment to remove sea lice from fish! I enjoy my work and every day I am challenged to use the creative problem solving skills that I developed during my time in NUI Galway.