What is Applied Physics and Instrumentation?
As the science which deals with fundamental physical concepts, such as energy, force and time, physics is at the heart of everything in the natural world such as gravity, heat and light. Applied Physics is the term used when we apply these concepts, and thus Applied Physics is at the heart of everything in the manmade world. Instrumentation is the specific technology that allows us to measure and control a wide range of physical and other quantities that are essential to life today.
Safety, reliability, productivity, efficiency, sustainability and economy, for example, are underpinned by instrumentation. Communications, healthcare, oil & gas exploration, energy generation, transportation, food safety and research & development are examples of sectors that are increasingly dependent on instrumentation. Quite simply, instrumentation makes things happen!
The aim of this course is to prepare graduates for a range of technical positions within the multidisciplinary field of Applied Physics and Instrumentation. Whilst there is particular emphasis on employment within process industries, such as chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, beverage and water, graduates are well equipped for employment in other sectors such as computers, medical devices and microelectronics, as well as in hospitals and in research and development.
The course is examined using a combination of continuous assessment of both theory and practical work, and end of year examinations.
Formal work placement (minimum of ten weeks) is an integral element of the course and takes place in Year 3. Students are placed in an applied physics and/or instrumentation role within an industry, organisation or research group. It may be possible for the placement to be in an international location.
Graduates will acquire comprehensive knowledge of process control, quality and safety systems in the context of the operations of process industries and the nature of their products. They will also be able to diagnose problems and implement solutions for a wide range of instrumentation systems used to measure and control technical processes.
This Degree is recognised by the Institute of Physics. Graduates of recognised Degrees qualify for Associate Membership upon graduation and may apply for full Membership after appropriate work experience.
The Institute of Physics provides routes for suitably qualified and experienced Members to become Chartered Physicists and Chartered Engineers. Further details can be found on the Institute of Physics website.
The Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Physics (Level 8) degree that follows Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and Instrumentation (Level 7) satisfies the degree requirements of the Teaching Council. As with other recognised degrees, a postgraduate programme of Initial Teacher Education, accredited by the Teaching Council, consisting of two years full time study or 120 ECTS credits must subsequently be completed to be eligible for registration with the Teaching Council.
Suitably qualified graduates are eligible to apply for entry to the final year of
Is this course an extension of Leaving Certificate Physics?
Whilst Physics at Leaving Certificate level is helpful, it is not essential as the key content in Physics is covered in Year 1 of the course.
What personal skills are most suited to the course and subsequent careers?
Motivation, initiative, dependability, commitment, and analytical ability.
What should my interests be?
How things work, problem-solving and meeting technical challenges.
Where am I likely to work?
There are excellent employment opportunities locally, nationally and internationally for graduates in Applied Physics and Instrumentation. Whilst many of these opportunities are in pharmachem, biotech and other process industries, graduates have found employment in other manufacturing sectors such as computers, medical devices and microelectronics, as well as in hospitals, and in research and development.
Is it possible to obtain a Higher Certificate award after two years?
Students who successfully complete Year 2 of this programme and do not wish to progress to Year 3 will receive the Higher Certificate in Science in Applied Physics and Instrumentation.
“I completed the BSc in Applied Physics & Instrumentation in 2010 and progressed to the final year of the BSc (Honours) in Applied Physics & Instrumentation where I specialised in Instrument Engineering. Within three weeks of completing my Honours Degree I had three offers of employment.
In July 2011 I joined Rockwell Automation Ireland as an Automation Engineer and have been working on automation projects for different clients with particular emphasis on programmable logic controllers (PLCs). I have also been working on distributed control systems (DCSs). While I found myself on a steep learning curve in industry, the familiarisation with the hardware and software of PLCs and DCSs provided by the course proved invaluable and very much eased my transition from college to industry.”