Structured PhD (Physics)

College of Science,
School of Physics

Course overview

All PhD students in the College of Science will enroll in a Structured PhD

Research activity within the School of Physics involves over sixty postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in three main research clusters and two cross-cutting thematic areas: 

Astronomy and Astrophysics
The Centre for Astrophysics comprises staff from Physics as well as other schools of the university. They have international collaborations in the area of high time resolution astrophysics and have developed advanced instrumentation for experimental observing runs in observatories abroad. The observational work complements detailed numerical modelling of pulsars. Cluster members also participate in the development of advanced data analysis techniques, and numerical modelling of star formation regions while others participate in high energy gamma ray astronomy via the VERITAS collaboration, an international group who operate a gamma-ray telescope array in Arizona. Cluster members have taken a leading role in the development of a virtual observatory.

Lasers and Applied Optics
The NCLA research group has a broad portfolio of fundamental and applied research on laser material interactions and works closely with industry in technology transfer and training. The Applied Optics group focuses on the development and application of adaptive optics and optical design.. Imaging and applied optics are enabling technologies that underpin many key developments in biotechnology, healthcare, and communication, as well as a wide variety of consumer products. The NCLA and Applied Optics groups have joined forces to form the Centre for Applied Photonics, LightHOUSE.

Atmospheric and Environmental Physics
The cluster members have developed a leadership role in Ireland and abroad in areas of climate change, air-sea exchange and air quality and operate the international ocean-atmosphere research facility, Mace Head, near Carna, Co. Galway. There is also considerable activity in the cluster in studies of indoor pollution and occupational hygiene. Group members are active in the Environmental Change Institute on campus, where they were instrumental in setting up the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS).

The cross-cutting thematic areas below involve additional personnel, in addition to staff from the individual clusters above.

Imaging and Medical Physics is a theme which extends across all the clusters but which also has a core research activity, linked to personnel in University Hospital Galway.

In Computational Physics, new computational techniques and approaches, including advanced parallel computing strategies, are being developed and applied to a range of modelling and simulation problems across the school.

The School houses a 512-core cluster and an advanced 3-D visualisation suite

Programmes available

Structured PhD, 4 years full-time

Entry requirements

To be eligible to enter on a programme of study and research for the degree of PhD you must have reached a high honours standard at the examination for the primary degree or presented such evidence as will satisfy the Head of School and the College of your fitness.

Areas of interest

For more details contact individual members of staff through the website contact points:

PAC code


Fees for this course

EU: €4,529 p.a. 2015/16

Non-EU: €13,750 p.a. 2015/16

Current Students

Gordon Sands profile
Gordon Sands

PhD Applied Physics

"I'm doing research in radiation safety in radiotherapy, so it involves elements of physics, engineering and medicine. Essentially radiotherapy is one of the most technologically advanced forms of treatment in healthcare. It uses a lot of advanced equipment, with people involved every step of the way. What I am looking at is places where mistakes can be made and making sure the system is designed in such a way that patients’ treatments will never be affected by these mistakes.

The learning environment at NUI Galway is fantastic. So many people, even outside of your own discipline, will always be there to help if you need it. Through my supervisor, I’ve developed a great relationship with the Radiotherapy Department in University Hospital Galway and have been able to get radiation therapists, clinical-based medical physicists, nurses and doctors involved with the research."

Latest News