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Mathematics

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In summary, the best preparation for a graduate degree in physics, specifically in GR and Cosmology research, is an undergraduate degree in physics. However, the UK university system offers a variety of paths and options, such as an integrated MSci in Physics from Imperial or a "Natural Sciences" program at Cambridge. It is important to consider the admission criteria for the specific MSc programs you are interested in, as well as your own interests and strengths. Some people argue for a mathematics degree, while others suggest a physics degree. Ultimately, the most prestigious path may not always be the best, and having a diverse background is often desirable in the field of physics.

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Mathematics

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Vanadium 50

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The best preparation for a graduate degree in physics is an undergraduate degree in physics.

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f95toli

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Usually true...But e.g. Cambridge does not have an undergraduate physics program; instead the students do a "Natural Sciences" program which gradually becomes more specialised. The UK university system is quite complicated and there is a wide variety of paths with different universities offering quite different programs. Another options would e.g. be an integrated MSci in Physics from Imperial.Vanadium 50 said:The best preparation for a graduate degree in physics is an undergraduate degree in physics.

Regardless, my suggestion would be to simply look at the admission criteria for the MSc programs you might be interested in down the line. That is, unless you are thinking of doing an integrated MSci.

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Vanadium 50

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The OP listed physics as an option.f95toli said:Usually true...But e.g. Cambridge does not have an undergraduate physics program

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Mathematics

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Vanadium 50 said:The OP listed physics as an option.

Yes. I'm primarily considering Oxbridge and Imperial. I'm struggling to decide between the following options :-f95toli said:Usually true...But e.g. Cambridge does not have an undergraduate physics program; instead the students do a "Natural Sciences" program which gradually becomes more specialised. The UK university system is quite complicated and there is a wide variety of paths with different universities offering quite different programs. Another options would e.g. be an integrated MSci in Physics from Imperial.

Regardless, my suggestion would be to simply look at the admission criteria for the MSc programs you might be interested in down the line. That is, unless you are thinking of doing an integrated MSci.

Physics at Oxford

Maths at Oxford

Natural sciences at Cambridge specialising in Physics and theoretical physics

1st year Maths with Physics at Cambridge and then continuing with the mathematical Tripos and taking theoretical physics courses.

The Oxford maths course doesn't have a lot of physics (in comparison to Cambridge's) and the Oxford Physics course has less mathematics than the Cambridge Physics via NST course (not by much though). So ideally I would want to apply to Cambridge. From the looks of it, the Cambridge maths course seems like the best preparation , but I just don't think I am good enough to do maths at Cambridge. So, at present, my first choice is probably natural sciences at Cambridge. Some people say do a maths degree, some say do a physics degree. I'm just so confused lol. One question - It's not like doing Physics instead of maths or vice versa will be a big disadvantage right ? Surely the difference is minute (correct me if I'm wrong).

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Frabjous

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https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...nly-for-maths-graduates.1002625/#post-6489055

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Mathematics

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so, a mathematics degree then?caz said:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...nly-for-maths-graduates.1002625/#post-6489055

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f95toli

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Indeed, but the point I was making was that Cambridge is one of the 2-3 leading universities for undergraduate physics in UK, but they don't have a specialised physics program.Vanadium 50 said:The OP listed physics as an option.

The UK system is often very weird. A good (non-STEM) example would be that studying English at Oxford is probably the best entry point for you career your is goal is to work as lawyer or solicitor, as long as you get good grades it pretty much guaranteed that one of the big law firms will hire you and you can then do a relativity short law-conversion (while getting paid).

Anyway, the main point is that the most "prestigious" path in the UK are often not obvious and a "pure" physics degree is certainly not the only (or even necessarily the best) path if you want a career in physics.

It is also worth noting that some of the Centres For Doctoral training do have a policy of NOT only accepting people with physics degrees, having students with different backgrounds is often seen as being very desirable.

Mathematics said:so, a mathematics degree then?

Not necessarily. I don't think there is a single right answer here. You also need to consider what you would LIKE to study, and also WHERE. Good grades from a good university will always be your best bet as long as you meet the admission criteria. Again, have a look at the relevant CDT admission pages.

The main difference between a Maths and Physics degree for theoretical physics is the focus of the coursework. A Maths degree will typically emphasize pure mathematics, while a Physics degree will focus more on the application of mathematical principles to physical phenomena.

Both degrees can be beneficial for a career in theoretical physics, as they provide a strong foundation in mathematical and physical concepts. However, a Physics degree may be more directly applicable to research and practical work in the field.

Yes, there are some courses that may be unique to a Maths or Physics degree. For example, a Maths degree may offer courses in abstract algebra or number theory, while a Physics degree may offer courses in quantum mechanics or thermodynamics.

It is possible to switch between a Maths and Physics degree, but it may require additional coursework or credits to catch up in the new program. It is important to consult with academic advisors before making any major changes to your degree program.

Both degrees will require a strong understanding of advanced mathematics, but a Maths degree may have a higher emphasis on pure mathematics and proof-based courses. A Physics degree may have a stronger focus on applied mathematics and mathematical modeling.

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