Subject Overview

This subject aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life. It offers a general education in physics for all students, enabling them to develop an understanding of the scientific method and their ability to observe, to think logically, and to communicate effectively. 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.


Subject content is presented at Ordinary level and Higher level under the headings:
  • Mechanics
  • Temperature
  • Heat
  • Waves
  • Vibrations and Sound
  • Light
  • Electricity
  • Modern Physics
    Option 1: Particle Physics (HL only)
    Option 2: Applied Electricity (HL only)
At Higher level, there is a deeper, more quantitative treatment of physics.
Students follow a course of practical work, with prescribed experiments in each of the main sections of the syllabus. Students are required to keep a record of this work.


Leaving Certificate Physics is assessed by means of a terminal examination paper at each level. Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course.


The syllabus was introduced into schools in September 2000 and was first examined in June 2002. Physics is included in the first phase of the review of Leaving Certificate subjects as part of the senior cycle developments being undertaken by the NCCA.