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Admissions Imperial College MSc in QFFF - Do I still have a chance?

  1. May 11, 2016 #1
    So I'm your overly ambitious first year Physics student at Imperial College. I am currently planning out possible life routes. The following is written by me in the future, hopefully (it's just easier):

    So I finished my Physics degree with a first (hopefully), but I have since been abroad for around 6 years as a student preparing for and completing a degree in an entirely different subject and language (I have another love besides physics). I am returning to the UK this year and want to apply for the QFFF course at Imperial with a view to follow it up with a PhD and a career in research. Do I have a chance? I am 30 years old (finished A Levels at 18, took a gap year which I spent abroad learning another language, did the first year of uni, took another gap year as I got a well paid job teaching the language on a gap year program in the UK, and then went back to uni and graduated at 24 with an MPhys from Imperial College. Add 6 more years of being abroad, I'm now 30!)

    My reasons:
    - I want to quench my thirst and have a good grounding in another field that I am very interested in, so I can read about, study further, and teach in my own time.
    - Physics is my primary interest, it is what I want to settle with and have a career in. If I do my PhD immediately after graduating and *then* go abroad for 6 years doing something completely unrelated, I'd assume it's much more difficult to be taken seriously as a physicist once I return.
    - My thinking: so perhaps ace the undergrad, go abroad, come back and apply for a masters and then do a PhD and straight onto a career as a physicist?

    Of course it's a given that I'd have to keep up my maths/physics in some way and make sure that it's more than up to scratch when applying.

    Alternative route: apply and (if I get in) do the QFFF immediately after graduating, then go abroad, then come back and apply for PhD.

    Alternative route 2: scrap QFFF, too unlikely, but other masters in physics likely?

    I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts! Will my application for QFFF after 6 years away be taken seriously or will I still have a good chance? Are the alternatives more feasible? Any alternative suggestions that I have not thought of?


  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2016 #2
    something else you havent considered by the looks of it, is at 30 years old, you may have other commitments ie wife/girlfriend, child etc stopping you coming back and quitting your job to do a msc then phd which isnt great pay for another 3/4 years.

    So yes in theory you could do it if the course was still running (in a open day video I saw imperial qfff said they do consider people who have worked for a time if they got a first) but I think it is something you can only consider when you are 30 not now as there will be lots of things you can plan for
  4. May 12, 2016 #3
    I was a Physics student at Imperial College back in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

    As far as I remember, the majority of the brightest classmates (those I knew of course) in my year group did not eventually go into QFFF at Imperial, even though they had a deep interest in theoretical physics. One went into banking, another one is nearly done with a PhD in Biological Physics, a third one with a PhD in complex systems, a fourth one has two undergrad degrees, one from Cambridge in maths and one from Imperial in Physics, and he did the QFFF courses.

    Some of the best of the lot I've seen in my year group eventually did the QFFF courses, but then they are the top 10 or so among the 200 students in our year group. The bottom line is that undergrad courses at Imperial College in Physics are really hard because the courses are not properly taught by lecturers (who are busy with their research work) and so even some of the brightest students can falter in that kind of environment. Add to that, the fact that there are international students from all parts of the world who won medals in Physics and Maths Olympiads and there are international students who are funded with scholarships by foreign governments. These students are undoubtedly more capable than most others. Therefore, it's easy to feel like an average joe even though you are a very bright kid. Ultimately, only a few people can maintain a cumulative average of over 85% over their four years of study, but those who do usually have a bright future in theoretical physics.
  5. May 14, 2016 #4
    As far as I know, the entry into the QFFF is not terribly competitive (around 75% acceptance rate?). As long as you get your first, have decent recommendations and not insult anyone in your personal statement, you should get in.
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