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How do UK levels compare to the EU levels I know ?

  1. Apr 9, 2013 #1

    I currently have a bachelor in IT (evenig classes). I live in Belgium and the only grades I know are Bachelor/Master/PhD. Maybe I would like to find evening classes in physics, even if it's in another country (very hypothetical for now).

    I'm currently looking for infos about the possibilities in the UK.
    - How do the A level, AS, A2, Ax etc.compare to a bachelor ?
    - Are they useful outside of the UK ?
    - Any place you would recommand for this kind of studies ?
    - Are there bachelor/master in phyics in evening classes somewhere (UK, EU or else as long as it's in English or French)
    - I already know about the Open University. Could be an option, be as I understand it you study at home on your home. Is it righ ? And I not to enthousiast about that.

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2013 #2
    Hi there!

    First of all A Levels are what we in UK take before going to university to do a bachelors. However, if you feel like you need some preparation before taking university physics I would recommend doing a certificate of higher education at somewhere like Birkbeck in London. Birkbeck specialises in evening classes. I know people who have done this and they seem to be better prepared than those with A levels.

    In the event that you feel you're ready to start a bachelors in physics straight off, I know UCL at least used to do a part time evening degree in physics. So might be worth a look. At present with a bachelors in IT I think you'll struggle to get accepted in a physics masters program. Hope this helps
  4. Apr 10, 2013 #3
    Thank you for your reply.

    UCL London has this certificate (seems to be 1 evening/week for 2 years): http://www.ucl.ac.uk/phys/admissions/certificate/index/
    But it sounds a little bit as a hobby, am I right ? I guess it doesn't allow to go further in the studies ?
  5. Apr 10, 2013 #4
    The UCL astronomy certificate does look like a interest qualification. Whereas the one at birkbeck is preparation for BSc Physics. Also lots of universities have a foundation year for those with no maths or physics background.
    After a quick search it looks like UCL has got rid of its evening bachelors degree, and it doesn't look like any uk universities do evening physics degrees (at least I can't find them). The open university is a quality institution and offers great flexibility. I would say though with OU degrees you need lots of self motivation.
  6. Apr 10, 2013 #5
    Well, I thought the OU would have the advantage of being internationl, but it looks like most courses are only available to UK and Iralend.

    Though according to this page http://www.openuniversity.edu/courses/approved-study-area?field_course_study_area_tid=47&field_course_level_value=All [Broken] , some bachelors are available in my current country, but on this one http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/qualification/q64.htm , they aren't.

    What exactly is a BSc (Honours) ? I guess BSc is a Bachelor in science, what does Honours mean in this context ?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Apr 10, 2013 #6
    Honours just means that you have passed all modules and you get a classified degree i.e. 1st (>70%), 2.1(60%-69%), 2.2 (50%-59%), 3rd (40%-49%).

    If you fail some of the required elements of the honours degree, the university can award you an 'ordinary' degree, which doesn't have a classifications. In other words an honours degree is the only one worth getting.
  8. Apr 10, 2013 #7
    If I get it it's as when in my IT bachelor I got "High honors" (>80%), but I could have succeeded with 50-79%. At least in this country's culture it doesn't add much value to the diploma.

    So why would an honours degree be the only one worth getting ? Is it more important in this context ?
  9. Apr 10, 2013 #8
    Graduating without honours is a pass/fail degree awarded at the discretion of the university. This is, I would have thought, is seen as worse than graduating with a third class honours degree. Most degrees in science in uk are honours degrees
  10. Apr 12, 2013 #9
    I gather that when the European universities adopted the ECTS system as set by the Bologna process, they also adopted the "BSc-->MSc-->PhD" system. BUT...there are still some differences.

    For instance, you would be hard pressed to find a 90 ECTS, one-year master's degree outside of the UK. In Germany, France, and Switzerland, most are 2-year, 120 ECTS master's! France, for example, calls its undergraduate degree the "Licence." Franco-Belgian universities call it the "Bachelier."

    It would appear that the "bachelor's with honours" concept is mainly a UK one. Outside of the UK, it's just a bachelor's. In the past, I think a degree was awarded "with honours" if one took an alternative, more rigorous course sequence, obtained high grades in them, and wrote a bachelor's thesis. Actually, that's more or less how it is in the US now, with honors degrees.

    In Australia (and possibly New Zealand), a degree with honors is simply the 4th year of a bachelor's degree. One can graduate after 3 years with a regular bachelor's, but if one wants to do a PhD, then one does the honour's year. I believe one can actually enroll in a master's program without an honour's bachelor's degree, but I have not checked in a long time.

    The University of Delhi has also adopted a similar structure, where one can exit after 3 years with a regular B.A/B.Sc or 4 years, with the honours variant. Its entering class for this year will be the first to go through this new system. It would appear that the new system takes a lot from the American model as well, seeing as one can do majors, minors, and has general education requirements to fulfill. Further, one can also exit after 2 years with an associate's degree.

    (this is only based on my observations; clearly, I have nothing better to do with my life...)
  11. Apr 15, 2013 #10
    Thank you for all that info. Now it will makes anything I can read on a universty site even more unclear (since they define bachelors in different ways).

    Just to complete your info, in Belgium we have some 60 ECTS masters. Mainly evening classes I think.
  12. Apr 16, 2013 #11
    The latter URL directs you to the international prospectus, which is the former URL.

    Note that the OU doesn't do a BSc Physics degree, but they have a BSc Natural Sciences... like Cambridge... you should consider that just as good. As with Cambridge, if you do all the physics options that is great preparation for MSc or PhD work in physics, which you can then do at any University in the UK, and probably most in Europe (?)

    Other useful URLs:

    http://www.open.ac.uk/science/physical-science/courses-and-qualifications/physics-strand [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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