Physical Sciences - Research

Entry requirements

To register for a postgraduate research degree, a candidate must normally have obtained a primary degree classification equivalent to 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.

I.PhD applicants should hold a masters degree by research from a recognised university.

II.Applicants who do not hold a postgraduate research qualification e.g. Masters by Research (or equivalent) are only eligible to register on the 'PhD-track register' which is stage 1 of the PhD programme. On successful completion of the transfer process (report and interview within 21 months of their start date) a student on the 'PhD-track register' will be transferred to the 'PhD register' with effect from their original start date in the university. Students who do not successfully complete the transfer may be eligible to graduate with a Masters at this stage.

III.For those interested in applying for a Masters degree by research, an honours primary degree is necessary (preferably at least 2:1) in the discipline in which they intend to undertake the research.

It may also be possible to move from the Masters register to the PhD register on successful completion of a transfer process, as outlined above, if the student made sufficient progress.


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)

Research areas


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 Groups
•Astrophysics Research
•Atomic and Laser Plasma Research
•Materials Growth and Characterisation
•Maths and Science Education Research
•Microsystems Research
•Optical Sensors Research
•Plasma Modelling and Diagnostics
•Plasma Research Laboratory (PRL)

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