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Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics

Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics
NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

Entry Route: Physics (Common Entry) - LM125

Course code:
4 Years

Course leader:
Dr. Ian Clancy
Email: Tel:
353 61 202371

Tel: 00 353 61 202015


About You

Are you the type of person who enjoys understanding the details of how current technologies work? Would you like to use this understanding to develop new technologies and applications? Do you want to have flexibility in choosing your career?  If so, this programme might suit you.

Why Study Applied Physics in UL?

In short, the top reasons for studying applied physics at UL are:

1. A pragmatic balance between fundamental and applied aspects of physics.

2. Strong emphasis on problem-solving skills making graduates highly desirable as employees in industry, academia and research.

3. Strong engagement in research ensuring that graduates are up to date with the latest developments in applied physics.

4. Outstanding links with local industry for cooperative placement, collaborative research and employment.

5. A friendly, collaborative, and highly collegial environment that stimulates innovative thinking and promotes the highest standard of accomplishment in tackling challenges.

The UL link with industry is one of the strongest in Ireland. With both directly funded and state-sponsored active collaborative research, the Department of Physics at UL is working with companies such as Analog Devices, COOK Medical, Intel, and BorgWarner. In addition to advancing science and developing new products, this engagement also creates employment opportunities for the graduates of the BSc in Applied Physics course. UL’s pioneering Cooperative placement programme also ensures that the graduates are engaged with industry from an early stage of their career and can adapt to the high levels of skill and professionalism required in industry.

Faculty members teaching this course are deeply involved in research and are continually generating scientific breakthroughs and next generation technologies. The Department has an outstanding track record in scientific publications, patents and generation of intellectual property. Examples of scientific advances and technological innovations pioneered in the Department include piezoelectricity in synthetic bone material, infrared nanoscopy, and vanadium redox flow batteries.

Many of the Department’s faculty members are also members of the Bernal Institute, one of the leading research institutes in Ireland, which houses nationally unique microscopy, spectroscopy and process infrastructure. Students gain access to this infrastructure through undergraduate laboratory courses and fourth year projects.


The programme is four years in duration.The first two years provide you with a strong foundation in the following areas:

  • Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Optics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Modern Physics
  • Experimental Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Electronics
  • Computing
  • Mathematics

The third and fourth years of study provide core material in the following areas:

  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Semiconductors
  • Nanotechnology
  • Computational Physics
  • Medical Instrumentation

An important element of the final year is an Applied Physics project which gives you the opportunity to study a problem in depth. During the Spring Semester and Summer of third year a period of Cooperative Education gives you the experience of the application of Physics in an industrial environment.

For further details, go to

Entry to this program is through LM125: Batchelor of Science in LM125: Batchelor of Science in Physics (Common entry). Before the end of Semester 1, you will have chosen to pursue a degree in Applied Physics or Mathematics and Physics. Outlined below is the Applied Physics route from Semester 2. 

Year 1 Semester 1   Semester 2 Vacation
LM125 Physics Common Semester MA4002 Engineering Mathematics 2  
    CH4122 General Chemistry 2 (inorganic)  
    CH4132 General Chemistry 2 (Physical)  
    PH4102 Waves/Light/Modern Physics  
    ET4122 Analogue Electronics 2  
    PH4092 Semiconductor Devices  


Year 2 Semester 3   Semester 4 Vacation
MA4003 Engineering Mathematics 3 MA4004 Engineering Mathematics 4  
PH4041 Optics PH4072 Electromagnetism  
PH4171 Mechanics PH4132 Modern Physics  
CH4003 Physical Chemistry 2 PH4042 Thermal Physics  
PH4613 Forces, Potentials and Fields   Elective  
    CH4004 Physical Chemistry 3  
    ET4224 Robotics 1: Sensors and Actuators  


Year 3 Semester 5   Semester 6 Vacation
PH4005 Introduction to Computational Physics CO4320 Cooperative Education 1 Cooperative Education 2
PH4061 Quantum Mechanics      
PH4021 Physics of Solids      
PH4071 Semiconductors 1      
CH4005 Physical Chemistry 4      
ET4305 Instrumentation & Control 1      


Year 4 Semester 7   Semester 8 Vacation
PH4607 Solid State Physics 1 PH4608 Solid State Physics 2  
PH4081 Nanotechnology 1 PH4062 Nanotechnology 2  
PH4161 Atomic/Molecular/Laser Physics PH4111 Semiconductors 2  
PH4091 Physics of Modern Measurement PH4018 Medical Instrumentation  
PH4907 Applied Physics Project 1 PH4908 Applied Physics Project 2

The Applied Physics degree grants flexibility and freedom in choosing a career. Applied physics has the obvious advantage over pure physics courses, for example astrophysics, in that our graduates are better positioned to fill lucrative industrial roles.

Many of our graduates, for instance, are employed by market leaders such as Intel Ireland, Analog Devices, and ASML. 

Applied Physics is sufficiently broad in scope that our graduates are working throughout the high technology sector in areas including computer software (Google, Avaya), electronics (Molex, Microsemi), enterprise services (Accenture, SAP), and medical devices (Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, and Stryker).

Recent graduates have established careers in areas like;

  • Semiconductor Devices and Microelectronics
  • Lasers and Optoelectronics
  • Sensors
  • Telecommunications
  • Materials Science
  • Geophysics
  • Bio and Medical Physics
  • Energy


Follow-on Study

Our graduates have a good understanding of mathematics and experimental techniques allowing further study to MSc and PhD levels in various areas of science, engineering, mathematics and even quantitative areas of finance and economics.

Want to find out more about possible careers with this degree? Click Here

Graduate Profile

Shane McCarthy
Since graduation, I’ve been working for Accenture as an Analytics Consultant. Accenture is a global management consulting company that works with businesses and governments to help maximize their performance and achieve their corporate vision. I spend my time carrying out analysis, building models and advising our clients who are scattered right across the globe, meaning I get to travel regularly. Working for a consulting company ensures lots of variety - to date I’ve worked on projects ranging from examining the prescribing behaviour of doctors, to saving hundreds of millions of tax-payers’ money through operational efficiencies for an EU revenue agency and even detecting fraud in healthcare.

A degree in Applied Physics will open many doors for you and is the ideal foundation for many careers. This course will give you the quantitative skills, tools and practical training to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. The UL Experience (outside the classroom) will help you grow as a person and develop those softer skills which are so very important, no matter what career you choose.

Graduate Profile

Dr. Jim O’Doherty
A day in the life of a hospital Medical Physicist can be a hectic one. Hospitals are dynamic places requiring clinical interaction, and as a consequence my job ranges from treating cancer patients to performing scans for a variety of conditions, all while researching and developing new and improved treatment methods for the benefit of our patients. I also advise on the radiation protection aspects of our work, and I am regularly involved in the management of many of our patients’ treatments.

My primary degree in Applied Physics and the training and knowledge that I received during my time at UL is invaluable to my work. I use this knowledge and training on a day-to-day basis. There are many subjects that I studied at UL which are integral to what I do now, including Modern Physics, Optics, Computer Programming, Sensors, Biomedical Physics as well as a host of other topics covered in depth on the Applied Physics course. The breadth of Applied Physics offers you many career paths, and the one that I chose is hard work but interesting, exciting and very rewarding.

Jim currently works as a Medical Physicist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in the UK.