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 \91hands on\92 Physics degree programme. This programme is not differentiated from the Physics degree until Third Year. As part of this course, students obtain \91hands on\92 experience using a research class (1.2 m diameter mirror) telescope at the Kryoneri Observatory in Greece in their Third year. In addition, the University houses the unique Crawford Observatory.
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.

Most practicing astronomers in Ireland – i.e. those who carry out astronomical research – teach in Universities or Institutes of Technology. 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. Specific examples of the careers recent graduates have pursued include software engineer, energy researcher, Eircom engineer, stockbroker, geophysicist and BT technical manager.
Within the Department of Physics there is a wide range of research groups working, including three Astrophysics (or closely related) groups. These groups currently have a full-time manpower complement of 13, and have been successful in attracting support funding from Science Foundation Ireland and other funding agencies. Their main research areas include black holes in binary star systems, jets from active galactic nuclei, and gravitational physics.

  • Year 1
  • Core Modules:
    • Calculus and Linear Algebra (10 credits), Introductory Physics I and II (10 credits each)
  • Plus 10 credits from one of the following options:
    • Option 1 – Mechanics I and II (5 credits each)
    • Option 2 – Introduction to Mechanics (5 credits) and Elements of Mathematical Modelling (5 credits), plus elective modules to the value of 20 credits from the following: Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics.
  • Year 2
  • Core Modules:
    • Classical Mechanics, Introduction to Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics, Introduction to Computational Physics, Introduction to Quantum Physics, Electrostatics and Magnetostatics, Introduction to Astrophysics and Special Relativity, Experimental Physics
  • Plus one of the following options:
    • Option 1 – C/C++ Programming with Applications, Fourier Methods, Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus
    • Option 2 – Engineering Mechanics with Transform Methods, C/C++ Programming with Applications or Intermediate Calculus for Scientists, Linear Algebra and Science Education I
  • Year 3
  • Core Modules:
    • Electromagnetism, Statistical Thermodynamics, Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics, Optics, Quantum Mechanics, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Experimental Physics, Observational Astrophysics
  • Plus one of the following options:
    • Option 1 – Vector and Tensor Methods, Computer Modelling and Numerical Techniques, Computational Techniques, Fourier Transform Methods in Linear Systems Analysis
    • Option 2 – Mathematical Modelling in Engineering, Computer Modelling and Numerical Techniques
  • Year 4
  • Core Modules:
    • Stars and the Interstellar Medium, Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics, Gravitation and Cosmology, Major Research Project, Plus electives from a list of optional modules