Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Advice on UK unis for physics

  1. Oct 9, 2011 #1
    Hi, I am in 6th form and trying to work out which unis to put on my ucas form for physics.
    Currently I think I will put Leeds, Manchester, York, Cambridge and Warwick, but I am also thinking about Nottingham, Lancaster, and Sheffield. If any of you go there or have been there can you tell me:
    What the lectures are like?
    What the tutorials and seminars are like (and how big are the groups)?
    How much support do the lecturers give?
    Does the uni have links with industry or internment in the holidays available?
    What revision and learning materials does it offer (e.g. libery, online, past papers)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2011 #2
    Hi, I've just started at uni studying physics with theoretical physics at Manchester. I applied to Cambridge, Manchester, Warwick, Birmingham and Lancaster, with offers from all of them except Cambridge (it was natural sciences, I was pressured into applying and hence I did not perform in the interview). I'll answer you questions about Manc as well as I can based on the 3 weeks I've been here. (Forgive me, I must keep this as brief as I can.)

    Lectures are generally interesting, the first year lecturers are all excellent. The halls are quite packed this year as the course is oversubscribed, but this doesn't pull down the quality of the lectures. They are always very interactive, ALL questions are answered (sometimes to the point of time-wasting). I've enjoyed all the material so far, though you will have covered most of it before, the first few weeks are an excellent recap/introduction to thinking about material that has already been covered in a new light.

    Tutorial groups range in sizes from 4-6 people (often 4). Generally, in tutorials we go through the problem sets for each lecture course with a professor (one of my tutors is an esteemed particle physicist, the other is theory postdoc who is always willing to help via email).

    Lecturers doors are always open to questions. There are also discussion boards run online by the lecturers where you can post your questions.

    Manchester has good links with local industry, I'm pretty sure you can set up internships in the holidays of your second/third years. The uni also has strong links with some other big unis, for example 3rd year masters students can apply to transfer to UC Berkeley for a year (top 10% of the year are eligible, there are 15 places), as well as UCLA and UCSB (slightly less competitive).

    All the work we cover is posted online, lecture notes, past papers, problem sheets, additional reading, reading lists etc. the uni also has most of the course recommended texts in ebook form on the main library system.

    Sorry for the rushed answers/probably incoherence, I'm drip-drying after coming in from a run before I start my work for the evening (yes, it does rain a lot here).

    If you have any other questions (about Manchester, the Cambridge application process, or whatever), I'd be welcome to help, just inbox me. I hope I've helped!
  4. Oct 9, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Are you in Year 12 or 13? I think Oxbridge's application deadlines are 15th of October.
  5. Oct 9, 2011 #4
    I know it is! I'm trying to get my application finished quickly before the deadline.
  6. Oct 9, 2011 #5
    Hi jetwaterluffy,

    I guess that much can be said once you tell us which area of physics interests you.
    Usually the answers of your questions depend upon the group and not upon the university.

  7. Oct 10, 2011 #6
    I'm not really sure what area interests me yet, but I wouyld like to eventually get a science job at the end of it, so it would be nice to do modules in something that will have an application fairly soon. I would like to know the main areas of physics the unis cover, though.
  8. Oct 13, 2011 #7
    I'm applying tommorow, so if anyone else wants to post, can you do it quickly!
    P.S. I'm thinking of swapping Lancaster for Warwick.
  9. Oct 13, 2011 #8
    Warwick was my insurance, it's a great place. Got friends there doing economics/maths and they love it. Good luck with your application!
  10. Oct 14, 2011 #9
    Thanks very much!
  11. Oct 14, 2011 #10
    Let us know if you get in alright :)
  12. Oct 14, 2011 #11
    I have sent in my ucas form now. I put Leeds, Manchester, York, Cambridge and Lancaster. Thanks for the help and advice!
  13. Oct 14, 2011 #12
    Glad you went with Lancaster :)
  14. Oct 20, 2011 #13
    I've sent off my SAQ for cambridge, and just got an offer of an interveiw for manchester.
  15. Oct 20, 2011 #14
    Well done! An interview at Manchester is basically an offer. My interview was very informal and it gave the opportunity to get to know one of the staff members. I hope you enjoy it!
  16. Oct 21, 2011 #15
  17. Oct 21, 2011 #16
    I'm at Cambridge. It's pretty good. In terms of the physics, half of first year is spent doing subjects other than straight physics and maths but I quite enjoyed that actually. After first year it's hardcore physics for years 2,3 and 4 if you stay on for the masters.

    The workload is massive and your ability to do physics will increase very rapidly. You'll be spending time listening to or even being supervised by people who are really good at physics and passionate about their subject so that can be very rewarding. Resources and so on are, as you'd expect, fantastic - lots of libraries, usually 2 people per supervision. That said, you should only really do this course if your love your subject.

    Socialising wise it's not that great but there are still a fair few cool people to hang out with and quite a lot to do. Unfortunately the terms are really short though so it all goes by really quickly. Still, that does mean loads of holidays if that's what you prefer.
  18. Oct 24, 2011 #17
    Thanks for the description, Random. Can you tell me about how the department can help you set up industrial placements during the holidays?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  19. Oct 24, 2011 #18
    ^No problem. Yeah, tbh, they don't help you pro-actively and so I've never actually tested that aspect out of the Cambridge system. However, I'm sure if you speak to the right people they'll be able to give you some advice on good positions to apply for etc. Sorry I can't be of more help than that.
  20. Nov 1, 2011 #19
    I've got interveiws from leeds and york now, although the york interveiw clashes with the manchester one, so I have sent them a note. Only Lancaster and Cambridge to go!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook