Physical Sciences - Research

Entry requirements

To register for a Postgraduate Research programme, a candidate must normally have obtained a primary degree classification equivalent to Lower Second Class Honours or above, from an approved University or an approved equivalent degree-awarding body, or have an approved equivalent professional qualification in an area cognate to the proposed research topic.

PhD: Candidates holding an appropriate Master's degree obtained by research may apply for direct entry to the PhD register to conduct research in a cognate area.

PhD-track: Candidates with a taught Master's degree in an appropriate discipline with first- or second-class honours, and candidates with a primary degree in an appropriate discipline with first- or second-class honours, grade one, may apply and be considered for entry to the PhD-track register with a view to proceeding towards a PhD. Such candidates will undergo a confirmation procedure, as outlined in the Academic Regulations, before being admitted to the PhD register.

Master's by Research: Candidates holding a primary degree equivalent to a second-class honours, grade two, may apply for entry on the research Master's register. Students on the Master's register may apply for transfer to the PhD Register under the same conditions, and using the same procedure, as PhD-track candidates requesting confirmation on the PhD register.

English Language Requirements can be reviewed at:

Applicants are assessed and ranked based on their performance at university, and the details provided on their application. Candidates may be called for interview and/or assessed on the basis of written work/proposed area of research.

Application dates

How to Make an Application

To make an application, please use the application portal. Before making an application, please ensure you have all appropriate entry requirements and provide all supporting documentation.

DCU Student Application Portal

DCU Student Application Portal Access
DCU Student Application Portal Guide

Important Note:

Before making a research application, the applicant must consult and seek approval from the School regarding the proposed programme of study. Additional information for research applicants is also available on the DCU Graduate Studies page.

Closing Dates

There are no closing dates for the majority of Postgraduate Research applicants (although this may be subject to change). Deadlines can apply for professional doctorate programmes, e.g. Doctor of Psychotherapy, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Elite Performance (Sport).

See the relevant Research section on School pages for more information.

Outcome of an Application

Candidates who submit a valid application for DCU will be notified of the outcome of their application by email. As such, it is important to ensure that your address for correspondence is accurate and current. Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for your application to be processed.


DCD20 PhD - Physical Sciences (Part-Time)
DCD21 PhD - Physical Sciences (Full-Time)
DCD22 MSc - Physical Sciences (Part-Time)
DCD23 MSc - Physical Sciences (Full-Time)
DCD24 PhD-track - Physical Sciences (Full-Time)
DCD25 PhD-track - Physical Sciences (Part-Time)



Physics research at DCU encompasses the broad areas of nanoscience, photonics, astronomy and physics education. The research activities span experimental and theoretical studies of Intense Laser-Matter Interactions, Experimental, Applied and Computational Plasma Physics, Nanomaterials, Optical Sensors and Biosensors, Semiconductors, Surface and Interface Physics, and Microsystems.

The Atomic and Laser Plasma Group is one of the few research groups, globally, to gain competitive access to the world-leading short wavelength Free Electron Laser (FEL) facilities in Germany and in Stanford in the US. The group has recently made seminal contributions in atomic physics using X-ray FELs in prestigious journals such as Nature Physics, Nature Photonics, and Nature Communications.

The Materials Growth and Characterisation Group is carrying out pioneering work on optical properties of defects in semiconductors using radioactive isotopes at the CERN labs. This group is also doing ground-breaking work on high k dielectrics which will impact on future electronic device development.

The Microfluidic Platforms Group leads the field of centrifugal microfluidic 'Lab-on-a-chip' systems for a range of applications including biomedical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.

Physics academics play a significant part in a number of Research Centres at DCU, including the National Centre for Sensors Research (NCSR), the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST), and the Biomedical Diagnostic Institute (BDI). In the last 5 years, the School has competed successfully for more than €10 million of research funding from Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, EU, and national and international industry.

We value our connections with industry and we aim to help our industrial partners enhance their R&D efforts by tapping into our specific research expertise - and by accessing our specialist facilities and the next generation of young scientists. You are invited to read our Physics of Innovation brochure (PDF) which includes contact details for our Enterprise Engagement Coordinator, Prof. Greg Hughes (

Research in the areas of Plasma technology, Nanotechnology, Biomedical research, STEM Education and Learning at the Castel Research Centre and Astrophysics.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    PhD / MSc

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider