What is the subject about? 

Leaving Certificate Physics is a very intresting and challenging subject. The physics Syllabus does not require Higher Level Mathematics. However, formulae and Mathematical problems occur in most topics. Students studying Physics should enjoy mathematical calculations, and memorisation of key formulae and equations is essential (for Higher Level). Practical work is an integral part of the Physics course; students must carry out the mandatory experiments and keep detailed accounts of produc, calculations and analysis of results. This practical work will be assessed in the written exam paper. This revised syllabus places particular emphasis on Science, Technology and society so that students may relate the various laws and principles to everyday life. 

How is the subject assessed? 

I. Written Examination (100%) 

Section A: 

  • Answer 3 out of 4 questions 
  • 120 marks: 40 marks per question 
  • Questions are based on experimental procedures and use of results 


 Section B: 

  • Answer 5 out of 8 questions 
  • 280 marks: 56 marks per question 
  • Questions are more broad and theory based 


The Leaving Certificate course covers the following core topics: 

Mechanics: Study of forces, energy and motion (7 mandatory experiments) 

Temperature and Heat: Study of heat, heat quantities, heat transfer, temperature and thermometers (4 mandatory experiments) 

Waves: Study of wave phenomena 

Vibrations and sounds: Study of wavce nature of sound, vibratons in strings and air columns, characteristics of notes (3 mandatory experiments) 

Light: study of mirrors, lenses, reflection, refraction and the wave nature of light (5 mandatory experiments) 

Electricity: Study of static electricity, electric fields, capacitance, electric current and electromagnetism (5 mandatory experiments) 

Modern physics: Study of electrons and their properties; the nucleus, radioactivity and nuclear energy 


In addition to the core material there are two options offered:

– Option 1: Particle Physics 

– Option 2: Applied Electricity 


Additional Comments 

– While there is an element of maths in the physics course, honours maths is not a requirement to do honours physics. It is entirely possible to get on well in honours physics without honours maths. 

– Pupils should become able to draw and read graphs and be competent in using a calculator throughout the course. The physics syllabus has strong links with the other science subjects especially chemistry. 

– Pupils who will gain the most from studying physics are those who have an interest in Science at Junior Cycle level and those who enjoy learning about how things work. 

– The science, technology and society section allows students the chance to see where the physics they are learning applies as in TVs, car motors and electricity in the home and also, to see some of the industrial applications of certain topics. 


Career Opportunities 

– Lecturer 

– Education 

– Data Scientist 

– Lab Manager 

– Medical Physicist 

– Aerospace Engineer 

– Optical Engineer 

– Process Engineer 

– Research Analyst 

– Programmer