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Schools Brunel University in London

  1. Jul 27, 2009 #1
    What is the opinion of this school in the UK and world wide, is it a descent school?

    I am a US student looking to take a Msc course there in Mathematical Computation or Mathematical Physics. Any insight help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2009 #2


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    It has a decent UK reputation for engineering, applied science with lots of links to industry, i don't know if it has much of an international reputation - outside motor racing.

    ps. Brunel Uni London = it's out in the suburbs near Heathrow, probably about 20miles from London if that makes a difference.
  4. Jul 27, 2009 #3
    thanks for the input, i know their tuition is pretty cheap and the seem to have good funding for us poor non-EU people, I plan on sticking around the UK, so my degree will have a pretty fair reputation then?
  5. Jul 27, 2009 #4
    The other school I am intrested in are Manchester and Newcastle, how do they stack up?
  6. Jul 27, 2009 #5


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    Brunel is not a top10 worldwide known college, so Wall St are going to be fighting for you but the quality of teaching generally doesn't depend on the name too much - especially in post grad course.
    I don't know about their math/physics courses but I wouldn't have a problem with an engineering applicant with Brunel on their CV.

    Newcastle/Manchester are both much bigger full-scale universities (ie they do courses in everything, Brunel is more specialized) usually in the top 10 depending on who is doing the survey that year!
    Manchester merged a few years ago - there used to be a separate Manchester-technical university (UMIST) if this comes up in your searches. In US terms they are the equivalent of a good state university.
    Living expenses are also a lot less outside London, probably 1/2 to 1/3 as much in Newcastle.

    For maths/physics you should also take a look at Durham and Warwick as well as more famous places like UCL and Imperial.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  7. Jul 27, 2009 #6


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    Posting the reply to the PM here so it gets picked up by search.

    As a rough guide the top20 unis in the uk are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Group

    About 10years ago the rules changed and every community college was renamed a university - this was supposed to open up access. What actualy happened was to destroy the reputation of any college not in the top 10 since employers wouldn't know if the University of X was a 'real' university or an ex-college that was renamed. there were a few smaller places (like Brunel) that survived because they had good industrial/applied links.

    You have to be a little careful about rankings and guides but the 20listed above would be counted as good places by any employer. The quality of teaching and the level of the courses are fairly standard across these places.

    ps. Don't get too hung up on what they call the qualification - there has been a bit of an boom in names recently.
    Generaly an MSc is a 1-2 year taught specialist course with some research project.
    Oxford calls it's PhD a D. Phil so places decided to copy this and call their MSc an M Phil.
    Cambridge just to add to the confusion calls it's undergrad degrees MA
    Then all undergrad honours science degrees got renamed Msci - to include an extra 4th year to make up for students now getting much higher grades at high school but not being able to read, write or do sums.

    pps. I wouldn't be surprised if there are now courses specializing in the study of the naming of courses.
  8. Jul 28, 2009 #7
    On 'name recognition' it has to be Manchester. Many big names did important work there. Bohr. Rutherford. Turing. To name a few. It has a great international reputation for physics & computing. It is a Northern city, so it's a lot cheaper to live there than in or near London! Also Newcastle has a good reputation. I know several people who did computing there and it seems to be really hot in that subject.

    MGB - please note there has never been a UK equivalent to US "community colleges". Some "polytechnics" were renamed to universities, but they were also (BSc/PhD) degree awarding bodies. Some of them had some departments as good as those found in most unviersities.

    Also your comment: "What actualy happened was to destroy the reputation of any college not in the top 10 since employers wouldn't know if the University of X was a 'real' university" is only true for ignorant employers. And who would want to work for them?
  9. Jul 28, 2009 #8


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    I was trying to put it into US terms. Apart from former polys there were a bunch of further and higher education colleges (the nearest to US community colleges) that became unis. Yes Hatfield Poly and Sheffield Poly probably suffered from the renaming to universities.

    It was roughly a quote from the VC of Sussex who claimed it cost them a lot in students, especially overseas ones.

    It's generally not worth ranking between individual universities by trying to say one is 5.67% better than another based on some metric. It makes more sense to think in roughly equal leagues.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
  10. Jul 29, 2009 #9
    This doesn't work at all! It's a "two nations separated by one language" situation :-)

    From Wikipedia:

    "In the United States, community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, technical colleges, or city colleges, are primarily two-year public institutions providing higher education and lower-level tertiary education, granting certificates, diplomas, and associate's degrees.

    After graduating from a community college, some students transfer to a four-year liberal arts college or university for two to three years to complete a bachelor's degree."


    "Some polytechnics were often seen as ranking below universities in the provision of higher education, due to their lack of degree-awarding powers, the fact that they concentrated on applied education for work, had less research than the universities, and because the qualifications necessary to gain a place in one were lower than for a university (the failure rate in the first year of undergraduate courses was high due to a rigorous filtering process). However, in terms of an undergraduate education this was a misconception since many polytechnics offered academic degrees validated by the CNAA from bachelor and Masters degree to PhD research degrees."

    There is no isomorphism between P and CC, just a long thread pulling out the many differences...

    Hmmm... I just found out that Liverpool & Hackney have institutions called Community Colleges. Moral: become a physicist not an educational planner.
  11. Jul 29, 2009 #10
    I actually think there isn't a true analog between them and any US institutions that I am aware, they certainly don't correspond to our Community Colleges which only offer certificates and 2 year degrees.
  12. Jul 29, 2009 #11


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    As I said there were a number of higher education and further education colleges that became universities as well as former polys. There isn't really an equivalent of polytechnics in the US but a further educational college doing diploma courses is probably the nearest to a CC.
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