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Course Title
Faculty of Science and Health

Fundamentals of Plasma and Vacuum Studies

Certificate in Fundamentals of Plasma and Vacuum Studies

  • Course Type Undergraduate
  • Delivery Modes Part-Time, Modular
  • Duration 2 Years

This course aims to give you an understanding of the fundamentals of plasma and vacuum science. It’s suited to those working in high-tech manufacturing environments where plasma or vacuum systems are used, or who have industrial experience in a related area.

Plasma is a key technology in the development of alternative energy sources. Nuclear fusion, which is plasma-based, is one of the most promising candidates to take the place of fossil fuels. Plasma is also increasingly becoming part of the industrial arena and its range of application is vast.

In this programme, you’ll gain a working knowledge and understanding of the basic scientific principles that relate to plasma and vacuum studies. You’ll learn how certain technological problems within the industrial sector are met with plasma-based and vacuum-focused solutions, and how to optimise your career opportunities within the field.

Student Voice

The Plasma and Vacuum course was an incredibly useful course for me as I was working in the vacuum field at the time of taking it. I work in an ultra-modern facility and the course material was very relevant to the newest technology I was working on (SEMs-scanning electron microscopes). The course was very manageable, even with my difficult working hours, and the DCU staff were very accommodating. Overall, a very positive experience which led to a Cert that has advanced my career to no end.

Adrian English, Certificate in Plasma and Vacuum Studies

About the course

The course is delivered through a combination of direct contact classes and online.

It’s assumed that you have no prior knowledge of science, so Year One is dedicated to introducing the key concepts in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry that will help you understand the fundamental properties of plasma and vacuum, and the application of plasma science to industrial processes. A key course objective is to provide you with this basic scientific background.

Year Two covers material that is industrially relevant. You’ll learn about the fundamentals of plasma and vacuum science, and about the properties of materials and how we can modify them using industrial plasma processing.

The course is designed by staff in the DCU-based National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST), which is internationally recognised as a world-class plasma science research centre. The course material was developed in consultation with staff and researchers who are leaders in their field.

Course Life

We have a unique and vibrant culture on our modern campus close to Dublin city centre. We provide state-of-the-art study facilities for all our courses and everything else you need for a healthy, fun and active student life.


Exceptional Facilities

DCU students enjoy exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our 3 academic campuses. These include modern learning theatres, research centres, television and sound studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced laboratories in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and a virtual hospital ward.


A Vibrant, Dynamic Social Environment.

Student facilities include a superb sports complex with a 25 metre pool, two libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre. In 2016 we announced plans to invest over €230m in developing new, world-class facilities across our three academic campuses. Already building has begun on an exciting, new €14m Student Centre that will be home to the more than one hundred and twenty student clubs and societies. This commitment to student facilities means that our world-class learning experiences are complemented by a vibrant, dynamic social environment.


Ireland's developing high-tech manufacturing sector and the growing demand for more sophisticated industrial processes means plasma is playing an increasingly important role in industry. This degree opens up many opportunities (both at home and abroad) for process technician or engineering careers.

You may also opt to follow up this course with an MSc in Plasma and Vacuum Technology at DCU.


General Entry Requirements

This course is designed for people who may not have a scientific background but work in a high-tech manufacturing environment where plasma or vacuum systems are used.

Anyone who has either a pass in five subjects at Leaving Certificate level, including English or Irish and Mathematics (or Applied Mathematics), or equivalent, such as UK GCSEs or City and Guilds qualifications, and/or industrial experience in a related area, may apply for this course.

How to Apply and Closing Dates

Make an Application

For additional information on this course please use the contact details below.

Dr. Jim conway

School of Physical Sciences 

01 7007680

E jim.conway@dcu.ie