Award Type and NFQ level : RESEARCH PH.D. (10)

CAO/PAC code : MHQ04 (FT), MHQ05 (PT)

CAO Points :

PhD (Science) in Theoretical Physics

The objective of the structured research programme in Theoretical Physics is to provide:

- A high quality research experience and training
- Enhanced arrangements for supervision and mentorship
- Structured arrangements for the development of generic and transferable skills
- Advanced discipline-specific taught courses
- Regular monitoring of progress

Closing date
Research applications are generally accepted at any time

September (or other agreed time)

Candidates for a PhD degree will normally be expected to have a Masters degree or a First Class Honours primary degree in Mathematical/Theoretical Physics or a relevant discipline.

Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.

Minimum English language requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score
  • TOEFL (Paper based test): 585
  • TOEFL (Internet based test): 95
  • PTE (Pearson): 62

Maynooth University’s TOEFL code is 8850

Prof P Coles
Cosmology and the large-scale structure of the Universe, especially theoretical models of galaxy formation and the evolution of galaxy clustering. The cosmic microwave background as a probe of space-time geometry and models of the early Universe. Dark matter and dark energy.  Statistical analysis of present and future observational data, especially the European Space Agency's forthcoming Euclid mission.

Relativistic Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity
Prof B Dolan
Quantum field theory and its use in elementary particle physics, condensed matter physics and statistical physics.
Unified theories of high energy physics and general relativity.  Thermodynamics of black holes.

Quantum Dynamics
Dr M Haque

Non-equilibrium dynamics in quantum systems.  Many-particle phenomena in laser-cooled trapped atomic gases. Using entanglement measures (from quantum information theory) to study condensed matter states and phenomena.  Topological order and other unconventional ordering.

Topological Quantum Computation
Dr J Vala
Topological phases of condensed matter systems. Topological quantum computation. Fault-tolerant quantum computation. Theory of decoherence and quantum error correction and suppression.

Non-perturbative Quantum Field Theory
Dr J Skullerud
Non-perturbative computer simulations of quantum field theory; in particular strong interactions. Phase transitions at high temperature and/or density.  Confinement and deconfinement of quarks and gluons.

Topological Phases and Quantum Computation
Dr JK Slingerland
Topological phenomena in condensed matter physics and their application to fault tolerant and scalable quantum computation. This involves study of two dimensional systems that harbor anyons – quasiparticles with exotic exchange properties. These topological phases and transitions between them are studied both at the level of topological field theory, and in local models and realistic physical contexts such as the fractional quantum Hall effect.

Black Holes
Dr. John Regan
Dr. Regan's research interests are in the study of the formation and evolution of massive black holes in the early Universe. He uses state-of-the-art computational models to understand the formation pathways of massive black holes and  their subsequent dynamics inside early galaxies.


For further details on the research specialisms within the Department please visit:

Typically a PhD in Theoretical Physics takes four years of full time study (six years part time). The structured PhD programme involves substantial original research under the supervision of academic staff in an area of theoretical physics or applied mathematics and the submission of a major thesis containing a significant amount of original matherial and results. Prospective students should contact potential supervisors to discuss possible research projects before submitting an application. In addition students must take a minimum of 30 credits in taught modules (15 in generic/transferable modules and 15 in subject/specialist modules) and not exceed 90 credits in taught modules over the duration of their Structured PhD programme.

Theoretical physicists are in high demand in the job market thanks to their skills in numeracy, analytical and abstract thinking and the application of these skills  to solving problems in the real world. Graduates  can consider a wide range of careers, including research and teaching in a university, research in a research institute or industrial setting; public sector agencies, the scientific civil service; banking and stock market analysis; business and actuarial work, telecommunications and in all sections of the computer industry.  They lead and are at the forefront of scientific discovery and in understanding the universe from the microscopic to the macroscopic, the origin of space-time, quarks, black holes and to astrophysical processes on the scale of the entire universe.

Online application only

PAC Code
MHQ04 PhD Sc Full-time
MHQ05 PhD Sc Part-time

The following information should be forwarded to PAC, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway or uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of birth certificate or valid passport.

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