These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.
Physics describes the laws and forces that govern natural phenomena. The subject aims to enhance students ability to think logically, to observe, to understand scientific method and to communicate effectively. It offers a general education in physics for all students. Science, Technology and Society (STS) is an integral part of the syllabus so that students can be aware of the principles of the applications of physics in the everyday world.
Why Study Physics
Physics contributes to a student’s future career in many ways. It helps, in conjunction with the other Leaving Certificate subjects, to provide a broad, balanced education for any student. Physics teaches students to think logically and enables them to express their thoughts in a concise manner. The skills and knowledge developed through their study of physics can be useful in a wide variety of situations.
What kind of student would Physics suit?
The Leaving Cert physics course follows directly from Junior Cert Science, and covers more topics in greater depth.
Physics is often referred to as the maths side of science even though only a small proportion of the course is based on maths.
Physics aims to enhance the student’s ability to think logically, observe and understand scientific method.
The course is heavily based around experiments - students are required to complete and write reports of 24 practical experiments throughout the two years of Senior Cycle, and be fully aware of:
These laboratory experiments, along with many more non-compulsory experiments are examined in detail on a section of the written exam paper.
The Physics course also involves a lot of theory which is tested in the written examination. Students are expected to be able to use various formulae with respect to SI units and significant figures, and have a good understanding of the role of physics in modern society and technology.
The study of Physics for Leaving Certificate is broken down into eight sections or topic areas:
(a) Six compulsory sections (b) Two option sections (Higher paper only, one to be done)
Particle Physics: recent type of physics, delving into the new discoveries leading to a better understanding of the formation of the universe and where we came from.
Applied Electricity: detailed study of electricity and the working of a motor developing from electricity already studied.
At Higher Level, there is a deeper, more quantitative treatment of physics. The two option sections are omitted from the Ordinary Level Leaving Certificate course.
The course also consists of 24 core mandatory experiments complementing each section in an aim to develop students’ technical skills and enhance understanding and reinforce key concepts.
The leaving cert exam is three hours in duration. A total of 400 marks are available for the exam.
Leaving Certificate Physics is assessed by means of one terminal examination paper at each level. Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course.
Physics is a useful subject for many courses and career areas and a good foundation for a broad range of scientific and technical careers in particular.
Many careers benefit from the logical and numeracy skills developed in the study of physics. Many technical courses involve components of physics.
Students may move into employment or into further study following their two years of physics at Senior Cycle. They may choose to progress to a Post Leaving Certificate course (PLC) or move on to a third level course.
Physics is a requirement for entry into a number of third level courses. Some examples include: Theoretical Physics in UCD and TCD.
Physics and physics-related courses may be taken at both certificate and degree level in third-level institutions.
This subject may be essential for entry into some Third Level courses. Click on the link below to view courses that may require this subject for entry:Physics