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Schools Open University UG degree?

  1. Feb 19, 2013 #1
    I am currently doing physics at Imperial College London, but am considering dropping out and applying for an OU degree. I've not made any decisions yet, as I'd like to know more about it before I decide. Though the main question is, could I still get into competitive PG programmes? I've asked my tutors at uni, and they say yes. I've also asked Oxbridge, Warwick, Bristol, etc., by E-mail, and they tell me I can, but I can't shake the feeling that maybe they're saying it so they don't look bad.

    So, if I get an UG degree from the OU, can I still get into Master's/PhD programs at top tier universities, and if so, what can you tell me about how different/more difficult it will be? It'd be particularly useful if you could tell me of people you know/know of that have done it before?

    P.S: I don't really want to discuss whether or not it's a good idea; like I say, I'm just doing research to find out options before I actually decide.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2013 #2
    The OU has to pass all the same sort of quality tests and external moderation as any other UK uni but, I suppose, your question is not about the quality of the OU, but its perception by UK top-tier unis.

    Your best bet would be to contact the OU and ask for data on undergrads who have gone on to postgrad work.

    My limited personal experience is that it is fine.

    My 2 pence - which is all it is worth - is that postgrad depts would be the ones to care least about the uni you went to per se; by this I mean, postgrad work is (more) specialised work, done under/with people who work at the cutting edge of a niche area of a narrow field. They will know who the big players are and which depts those players are in. The fact that some mug off the street or HR jobsworth all know Oxbridge are the best-thing since an egg-white omelette, is one thing. Whether or not that uni's department that you studied in is well respected is another matter.

    An example of what I mean: in philosophy, the Philosophical Gourmet Report is pretty much the only table that anyone in English-speaking philosophy pays any attention to. It is ranked by several hundred professional philosophers comparing only philosophy departments. Not the unis in which those depts live. So whether or not the uni as a whole is this, that or the other is irrelevant. The PGR is a tool used by those considering grad school and, since it is done by the people who will be assessing your application, you can assume is useful.

    My pure speculation is that academics care if your uni's physics dept is good and your uni is not the world's best, and not if your uni is well known because it is awesome in arts but atrocious in physics.
  4. Feb 20, 2013 #3
    So I think what you're saying is that, when I apply to do a PhD, whoever I apply to will know what the OU physics department is like, and will rate my based on that, rather than the OU as a whole?

    If so, this is potentially pleasing to hear, but would you then happen to know how good the physics department is? I've only heard about the OU as a whole (Which I know is well respected, but academia is full of elitists here and there...), and never really heard anyone say it's good/bad for a particular subject?

    Thank you.
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