Applied Physics & Instrumentation (BSc) (Full-time) (Level 7)

  • Course Code

    MT 782

  • Field of Study

    Applied Physics and Instrumentation

  • Type of Course:

    Higher Certificate,Degree

  • Type of Qualification:


  • Type of Study:

    Full time

  • Application Closing Date:

Course Duration:

3 Years (6 Semester)

Course Summary

The BSc in Applied Physics & Instrumentation is one of MTU Cork's longest established courses and highly sought-after graduates can be found in essentially all of the region's advanced manufacturing and analysis sectors, but especially in the BioPharmaChem sector. 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 IT, computers, medical devices and microelectronics, as well as in hospitals, and in research and development.

Admission Requirements:

For admission to a programme, standard applicants must

  • score the necessary CAO points and
  • meet the minimum entry requirements

Leaving Certificate in five subjects i.e. Grade O6 or H7 in five subjects. The five subjects must include Mathematics, and either English or Irish.


Info re MTU Mathematics Exam only:
Some students who apply to MTU courses may not achieve the required entry standard in Mathematics through the Leaving Certificate. For such applicants, MTU offers a second chance to reach the required entry standard through a MTU Mathematics Exam. This second chance facility allows applicants (depending on their results in the MTU Mathematics Examination) to gain entry to courses with an Ordinary Leaving Certificate Mathematics entry standard, and (with a higher level of performance) courses with a Higher Leaving Certificate entry standard. Please click here for more information.

Work Placement

A mandatory work placement of a minimum of 10 weeks 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.

Leaving Cert Subjects:

Helpful subjects are Physics, Engineering, Technology, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

Further studies

Suitably qualified graduates are eligible to apply for entry to Year 4 (final) of the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Instrument Engineering OR the one year add-on Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Physics and Instrumentation.


Physical Sciences

For information on Fees/Student Grants/Scholarships and Financial Assistance, please click here.


Department website:


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!



Recorded November 2021


About the Course

The course is examined using a combination of continuous assessment of both theory and practical work, and end of year examinations.



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 programme is currently undergoing evaluation for accreditation by the Institute of Measurement and Control (, which is widely recognised in many industry sectors. 



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 teaching 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.



Research link


Suitably qualified graduates are eligible to apply for entry to the final year of


Suitably qualified graduates (1H) of the Level 8 degree may proceed to postgraduate study with research teams based at CIT's Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis, CAPPA, the Tyndall National Institute, and elsewhere.


Question Time

Please see a video testimony from one of our Instrumentation graduates, Amy O’Keeffe:



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 IT, 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.


graduate profile

Colin Horgan
Automation Engineer

“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.”


Full details of the modules on this programme of study are available by clicking the following links


Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics & Instrumentation CR001

Higher Certificate in Science in Applied Physics & Instrumentation

The multidisciplinary strengths of the graduates are particularly attractive to the small-to-medium enterprises often found in Ireland as these companies place a high value on the expertise, self-sufficiency and practical skills that courses in the MTU Cork Department of Physical Sciences are designed to cultivate. Looking beyond Ireland, the European dimension to the courses prepares graduates for work within the larger European and international firms and research institutes.


For over thirty years this course has been the premier gateway to a range of careers in the Applied Physics and Instrumentation field. Many of our graduates hold key positions in major process industries within the pharmaceutical, fine chemicals, food and beverage sectors as well as in leading engineering service companies that support these sectors. Other graduates have developed rewarding careers in a range of manufacturing industries, hospitals, education and research. The excellent career opportunities open to graduates at the various levels reflect the broad interdisciplinary scope of a curriculum that includes electronics, computing and mathematics along with physics and instrumentation.


The streams available in the BSc (Honours) in Applied Physics and Instrumentation course enable students to specialise whilst retaining their interdisciplinarity. The course has a strong engineering orientation with many graduates establishing careers as Instrument Engineers and Automation Engineers by continuing their studies to honours degree level. This education broadens the perspective of the student and helps to develop their design capabilities.


At Bachelor Degree Level
Typically, 95% of graduates find employment in Ireland across various sectors of industry, including: computing (24%), electronics (18%), engineering services (31%) and the chemical industry (8%).


Potential Areas of Employment

  • Scientific Instrument Calibration
  • Instrument/Automation/Control Engineering
  • Research and Development
  • Metrology

Application for this course are processed by the
Central Applications Office (CAO)



EU Applicants must apply via the CAO - please click on the link above.

Non-EU Applicants - please click here for how to apply.

CAO 1st Round:

Entry 2021: 292

CAO Cut off:

Not Specified

CAO Average:

Aidan O'Connell
021 433 5595

Nicola Byron, Department Secretary

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