Physics: Physical Sciences Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Physics: Physical Sciences?

Physics is the science of understanding how the world around us works. It involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time and related concepts such as energy and force.

Physics plays a key role in the future progress of humankind as we gain fundamental knowledge needed for future technological advances that will continue to drive the world.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Physics: Physical Sciences courses in the following subject areas:

  • Science, Technology, and Engineering – Gain the knowledge and skills that will help in future third-level education programs in a technology-related area.
  • Applied Science – An introduction to the world of science and covers a variety of subjects related to laboratory sciences.
  • LC Physics: Preparation Course for Leaving Certificate Physics Exam – The objective of this Leaving Cert Physics course of study is to ensure you will be well prepared to succeed in your Leaving Certificate Physics examination.
  • Physics by Experiment – An introduction to experimental physics with hands-on experience of practical techniques and experiments in well-equipped laboratories under professional supervision.
  • MSc in Astrophysics & Relativity – Gain advanced knowledge of astrophysics, general relativity, computational science, and data analysis and the up-to-date skills required to understand the universe we live in.
  • Radiotherapy and its Physics – Explore the application of physics to the techniques of radiotherapy in medicine and consider the effects of ionizing radiation on biological tissues.
  • Astrophysics – Explore the astrophysics of stars and planets, examining their properties, structure, evolution, and the physical processes that occur within them.

Studying Physics: Physical Sciences in college

There are many Physics: Physical Sciences courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or volunteering to help in both academia and industry roles as it will help to illustrate how the two environments differ and will inform your future career choice. Practical laboratory experience and knowledge of the range of techniques used will improve your chances when applying for research jobs. This experience can be achieved through a work placement in industry or vacation work.

Some scientific organizations offer research-based summer placements for undergraduate students and you may be able to get work experience in a university research department. Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Physics: Physical Sciences you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the physical sciences.

The physical sciences cover a range of disciplines, and there are employers across many sectors of industry including aerospace, chemicals, defense, electronics, energy, environment, food and consumer products, materials, and pharmaceuticals.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full-time, Monday to Friday but extra hours may be required to meet deadlines or carry out experiments depending on your role. You may work longer hours in academia because of the responsibility for postgraduate students. Researchers in the industry may have to work to fit in with shift patterns and commercial deadlines.

Depending on your subject area, you may work in lecture theatres, classrooms, studios, laboratories, libraries, hospital wards, or outdoors (if your activities include fieldwork). Work within the Physical Science field is mostly laboratory-based but may include fieldwork or work in other settings, depending on the nature of the project. Some research can involve working with dangerous or toxic materials, or working outdoors in all weathers.

Self-employment and freelance work are possible once you’ve developed an area of technical expertise. Consultancy is possible once you’ve established a reputation. Due to the collaborative nature of the work, you may need to visit other departments or institutions and need to be willing to spend some time abroad for conferences or to work on a project with other research scientists in your specialism.

Related jobs include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Acoustic consultant
  • Astronomer
  • Clinical scientist
  • Geophysicist
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Metallurgist
  • Meteorologist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Radiation protection practitioner
  • Research scientist
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Sound engineer
  • Technical author
  • Clinical technologist
  • Data analyst
  • Nuclear engineer
  • Operational researcher
  • Patent attorney
  • Prosthetics/orthotics
  • Software engineer
  • Telecommunications researcher

Further study

After completing a course in physics: Physical Sciences you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as senior research roles or move into other scientific and commercial functions, including sales, production, and marketing.


Are there different branches within Physical Sciences?

There are considered to be 7 branches of physics:

· Classical mechanics

· Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics

· Electromagnetism and photonics

· Relativistic mechanics

· Quantum mechanics, atomic physics, and molecular physics

· Optics and acoustics

· Condensed matter physics

· High-energy particle physics and nuclear physics

What skills could be helpful for a career in Physical Sciences?

Skills that could be helpful within the field of Physical Sciences include technical and scientific skills, research and analytical skills, a logical approach to problem-solving, communication and presentation skills to write reports and papers for publication and to present your research at conferences, the capacity to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, the ability to collaborate with others and work well in a team, project management skills, the ability to use your initiative and to work alone, numerical skills, IT skills and the ability to use computer-controlled equipment, self-motivation, and patience.

Where can I study Physics: Physical Sciences?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· The sun doesn’t change color during sunset, we only see it that way because the sun’s wavelengths react with the difference in the atmosphere.

· Water slows downlight; each water molecule has individual surface tension which distorts the image you see. This is why your face would look cartoonish behind a glass of water.

· Time goes faster at the top of the building than at the bottom. According to Einstein’s theory of Relativity, the farther an object is from the Earth’s surface, the faster time passes.

· Gyroscopic effect is what keeps a bike balanced; the principle is that a spinning wheel tends to stay aligned in its original direction.

· You cannot sink in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea has a very high density because of its salt content, which would make it impossible for you to sink.


Mariza Halliday

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