BSc in Astrophysics

Astrophysics (BSc) – Course Code: CK408 Physics and Astrophysics, Duration: 4 years

The UCC Astrophysics degree is designed for those who have always harboured an interest in Astronomy and the Physics of the universe.

The course equips students with the same fundamental background in Physics, and with the same numerical and computational skills, as those graduating via the more traditional Physics degree course. This course is not differentiated from the Physics degree until Year 3. For those students not pursuing research in Astrophysics beyond their degree, graduates of this course have the same wide range of potential employers as do those graduating with a Physics degree.

In addition to the core Physics material, Astrophysics students also cover topics such as Observational Astronomy and Cosmology, Star Formation and Evolution, White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars, Black Holes, Accretion Physics, Galactic Structure, Active Galactic Nuclei, Cosmology, Newtonian Gravity, Gravitational Waves, Massive Black Holes and Gravitational Collapse.

As part of this course, students obtain practical experience using a research class (1.2 m diameter mirror) telescope at the Kryoneri Observatory in Greece in their Third year. The University also houses the unique Crawford Observatory.

Most practicing astronomers in Ireland – i.e. those who carry out astronomical research – teach in Universities or Institutes of Technology. Within the Department of Physics there is a wide range of research groups working, including three Astrophysics (or closely related) groups. Their main research areas include black holes in binary star systems, jets from active galactic nuclei, and gravitational physics.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the CK408 Programme and the Book of Modules for further details on Physics.

Programme Learning Outcomes 

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Derive and apply solutions from knowledge of physics, astrophysics, and mathematics;
  • Identify, formulate, analyse and solve physics and astrophysics problems;
  • Design an experiment to test a hypothesis or theory in physics and astrophysics;
  • Prepare written laboratory reports that provide a description of the experiment, explain the experiment and reasoning clearly, and provide an appropriate conclusion;
  • Communicate effectively with the physics and astrophysics communities.



Year 1 Modules:

Option 1:
  • Introductory Physics I (10 credits);
  • Introductory Physics II (10 credits);
  • Introduction to Linear Algebra (5 credits);
  • Calculus (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Analysis (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Mechanics (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Mathematical Modelling (5 credits)
  • Mathematical Software (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists and Mathematicians (10 credits);
  • Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists (15 credits);
  • Programming in C (5 credits);
  • Computer Applications with Visual Basic (5 credits);
  • Introductory Programming in Python (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Abstract Algebra (5 credits);
  • Special Topics in Physics (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics (5 credits)
Option 2:
  • Introductory Physics 1 (10 credits);
  • Introductory Physics II (10 credits);
  • Introduction to Linear Algebra (5 credits);
  • Calculus (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Analysis (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Chemistry for Physicists (15 credits)
  • Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Biological Chemistry and Microbiology (5 credits);
  • Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits);
  • Introduction to Ecology (5 credits)


Year 2 Modules:

  • Astrophysics and Special Relativity
  • C/C++ Programming with Applications
  • Classical Mechanics
  •  Computational Physics
  • Electrostatics and Magnetostatics
  • Experimental Physics
  • Experimental Methods
  • Fourier Methods
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Quantum Physics
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
  • Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Linear Algebra
  • Mathematical Modelling


Year 3 Modules:

  • Computer Modelling and Numerical Techniques
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Experimental Physics;  Experimental Methods
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Optics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statistical Thermodynamics
  • Vector and Tensor Methods
  • Observational Astrophysics
  • Mathematical Experimentation and Chaos
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Optimisation and the Calculus of Variations
  • Computational Techniques


Year 4 Modules:

  • Stars and the Interstellar Medium
  • Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics
  • Gravitation and Cosmology
  • Research Project
  • Experimental Physics
  • Quantum Optics
  • Physics of Semiconductor Devices
  • Advanced Mechanics
  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • Advanced Electromagnetism
  • Advanced Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Introduction to Plasma Physics
  • Introduction to Lasers and Photonics
  • Advanced Computational Physics

**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year.