Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Peter Clifford from An Garda Síochána to give some advice for people considering this job:

Peter Clifford

Probationer Garda

An Garda Síochána

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Peter Clifford
To get physically fit for the entrance tests and also for the demanding physical nature of the job. Also I would tell people to enjoy themselves before they join as it’s a job for at least 30 years.

I would also informl people about the variety of avenues people can get into when they have completed their training. There really is a career for every person regardless of where their interests lie. There is so many specialised units and prospects.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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If you are interested in why things happen in the physical world, then Physics Technology may be for you. It underpins most modern technologies and holds a key to improving all of our futures.

Physicists design experiments to test or apply new ideas in order to better understand the physical world. For instance, it is the work of physicists which has led to key developments in areas such as optics, electronics, communications systems, information technology, computing, medical technologies, energy production and management, sustainable technologies and environmental technologies.

The course is a four year, full time honours degree programme and aims to provide graduates with scientific and analytical skills in physics as well as a practical problem solving ability.

It is not necessary to have studied physics in order to do this degree, although you do need to have an interest in science and technology. All of the Physics in year 1 and much of it in year 2 is delivered using the exciting method of Problem Based Learning. This learning style allows students to develop additional skills much sought after by industry: problem solving, adaptability, teamwork, research skills, leadership and communication skills.

Physics Technology is an accredited programme of the Institute of Physics (IOP).


This course will suit you if you are interested in the applications of physics to the key areas of Energy and Environment. You will need an aptitude for science and a keen interest in physics.

The first year of this programme provides a strong foundation across all of the relevant science subjects and in mathematics. This prepares students for the applied nature of the physics modules which are developed through to the final year and for the specialist Energy and Environment modules studied. In second year, the relevant core modules in physics, mathematics and computing are taught together with some specialised material in the Energy and Environmental areas. These areas are further developed in stages three and four.

All students participate in an industrial work placement of approximately 6 months in stage 3. Additionally, there is a strong emphasis throughout the programme on problem solving skills, professional skills, computing and ICT skills. There is a significant emphasis on laboratory practice and skills. These aspects of the programme, together with work placement and modules that emphasise the practical nature of the programme prepare graduates for employment in the relevant sectors or for graduate study either here in Ireland or abroad.


This is a Physics degree which has been developed in partnership with both the Medical Device Industry and the Medical Physics and Bioengineering community in Ireland and is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

A range of specialist modules are delivered by experts in the areas of Medical Devices, Bioengineering and Rehabilitation Engineering, Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy to ensure a strong focus and relevance to the programme. In the module “Physics of Medical Devices” you will gain an insight into the Medical Device Industry from the initial concept of a medical device to the manufacture of the device. In the module Diagnostic Imaging, the learner will gain an understanding of the principles of how an image is formed using x-rays or sound waves and be able to critically assess the important design features in such imaging devices for optimum image quality. In the “Bioengineering” module you will learn about the design and engineering of artificial limbs and implants as well as advanced biocompatible materials.

Furthermore, there is a seven month Work Placement as part of year 3 in either a Medical Physics & Bioengineering department in a hospital, research laboratory or in a Medical Device industry. This work placement will give you day-to-day experience as a physicist in Medical Physics and Bioengineering as well as helping you to develop important links for your future career.


The aim of this programme is to produce graduates with the necessary skills for employment as technicians/technologists or scientific personnel in the fields of technology and physics, with a particular emphasis on the applications of physics in industrial and environmental contexts including the science underlying renewable energy and sustainable technologies.

The first year of the programme is common with the programmes DT212 Science, DT259 Biosciences and DT261 Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences, giving the student a broad scientific base before concentrating on the Applied Physics in Year 2 and Year 3.

The programme is offered on a modular basis. Six common core modules in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, professional skills and Information Technology provide students with a solid foundation in science. In the second semester there are modules of Project Based Physics, Astronomy and Environmental & Energy Physics. The student chooses an additional module from a selection of Chemistry and Biology modules on offer.

In the third year the applied and practical nature of the degree and the emphasis on environment, energy and industry come to the fore.


Nanoscience is the study of very small-things on a nanometer scale (one thousandth millionth of a metre). This is the scale of large molecules like plastics or proteins.

Nanotechnology includes the techniques used to create structures on a scale below 100 nm, which can be used in new generations of electronics, sensors and computer chips. Many of today’s global challenges in the environment and health can be addressed by nanotechnology intervention.

This degree is a physics and chemistry degree with a unique focus on nanoscience and nanotechnology. In the later years of the degree the student chooses to specialise in either physics or chemistry, but all students do the nanotechnology modules. Concentration on a single subject is not enough for any scientist, especially in as wide-ranging a subject area as nanotechnology. So as well as chemistry and physics, this degree programme covers relevant Biology, Problem Solving Skills, Computer Studies, Maths (in Years 1 and 2) and Professional Skills.

Much of the physics in years 1 and 2 is delivered using Problem Based Learning which allows students to develop additional skills and qualities sought by industry including the ability to work in teams, interpersonal skills and adaptability. IT and Computing form an integral part of the programme which is characterised by extensive practical and project components.

In addition to the scientific modules, students will take a series of professional development modules on topics such as Entrepreneurial skills, Invention, Innovation and Commercialisation Skills and the role of science and technology in society. These modules will help graduates to apply the scientific knowledge gained on the degree in a meaningful real world manner.


This General Science Programme is ideal if you are not yet sure which Science discipline you wish to pursue and you are looking for a broad education in first year that will allow the maximum possible choice in future years.

In Year One students will study Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Nutrition.

Science - DT212

The main aim of this programme is to produce graduates with the necessary skills for employment as technicians/technologists or scientific personnel in the fields of biosciences, chemistry and physics.

Students will be able to select from a range of specialised modules which will be delivered in the second semester of year one including; Medicinal Chemistry, Astronomy/Environmental and Energy Physics and Human Biology and Disease. Entry to this course affords the opportunity to experience the three main scientific subjects prior to committing to a specific course.

After successful completion of the first year students will select and transfer to the second year of one of the following courses and will complete their studies as registered students of this course: BSc Biosciences (DT259) BSc Industrial and Environmental Physics (DT260), BSc Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science (DT261).

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