Entry Points (2020)

Course Overview

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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) 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

 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).

Physics at the Virtual Open Day

Read questions and answers from our 'Ask a Lecturer' in Physics Live Q&A session.

Explore courses and careers in Science through a video presentation.



Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

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.

Additional Requirements


4 years

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades (2020)


Average intake


Closing Date
NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting


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



Course code

Course Outline

Year 1

  • Physics
  • Physics Specialist Topics
  • Applied Mathematics or Biology
  • Mathematics

Year 2

  • Physics (four modules)
  • Plus eight additional modules chosen from an approved list in the following areas:
    • Applied Mathematics
    • Astrophysics
    • Anatomy
    • Mathematics

Year 3

  • Physics (six modules)
  • Plus six additional modules chosen from an approved list in the following areas:
    • Applied physics
    • Astrophysics
    • Biomedical Physics
    • Theoretical Physics
    • Other modules available in the College of Science

Year 4

  • Core Physics modules
  • Specialist Physics courses (Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical, Theoretical)
  • Plus advanced laboratory, project work and problem solving

Modules Years 1, 2 and 3

Modules Year 4 

Further Education

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?

Career Opportunities

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, 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

Employer Endorsement

“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

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,492 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€4,268 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student Contribution

€3,000 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€19,750 p.a. 2020/21

EU Fees 2020/21:
- Tuition: may be paid by the Irish Government on your behalf if you qualify for free tuition fees see - free fee initiative.
- Student Contribution: €3,000 - payable by all students but may by paid by SUSI if you apply and are deemed eligible for a means tested SUSI grant.
- Student Levy:  €224 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI.

Find out More

Dr Gary Gillanders
College of Science
T 353 (0)91 492 490
F 353 (0)91 750 501
E gary.gillanders@nuigalway.ie

What Our Students Say


Ciaran Monahan |   BSc (Physics and Applied Physics)

...I chose the course at NUI Galway because I had heard that it had an excellent physics programme with a variety of specialities. Also NUI Galway has a great research record, and publishes a large number of papers every year. I would definitively recommend this course to others. You are challenged every day on this course, from your first day!...


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