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I should probably explain my current situation in a little more detail to give you some context for my application:

I completed an MPhys in Theoretical Physics at Durham University recently, however I had to take my finals late because I dislocated my hip in a high speed ski crash in the run-up to my exams. This put my life on hold a bit, as i was unable to get out of bed for 2 months, and on crutches for a further 3. Furthermore, it cast a bit of a shadow on my ambition to do a PhD. I completed my finals in August (the resit period) and graduated in January 2015 with a first class degree. I then moved to London to be with my girlfriend and took at job as a trainee Patent Attorney. Having worked there for a number of months now, I’m not sure I can see myself pursuing a long term career in patent law, as I’m much much more interested in physics than legal administration.

During my undergraduate degree, I always focussed on the mathematical/theoretical aspects of physics. In fact, were I to retake my undergraduate degree I may well have chosen to have done a joint honours maths and physics. My module choices in 3rd and 4th year were as follows:

3rd Year (BSc)

Foundations of Physics 3A (Further Quantum Mechanics, Nuclear and Particle Physics) - 70%

Foundations of Physics 3B (Fourier Optics, Statistical Mechanics, Magnetic Materials) -76%

Maths Workshop (Complex Analysis, Algebra, Asymptotic Series, Special Functions, Integral Transforms) -63% (comprised of 2 papers one of which I got 73% on but I bombed the second paper on Integral Transforms and Asymptotic Series with a 50% :( )

Planets and Cosmology - 63%

Theoretical Physics 3 (Relativistic Electrodynamics, Quantum Scattering and Introduction to Relativistic Quantum Mechanics) -75%

Key Skills A (Problem Solving and Computing)

4th Year (MPhys)

Project - “Large Order Behaviour of Perturbative Quantum Field Theory” under Dr Chris Maxwell. We looked at infra red freezing limits of observables in QCD (Adler Function, unpolarised Bjorken Sum Rule and GLS sum rule) using renormalon techniques. We were able to demonstrate that these functions were analytic in Q^2/Lambda^2 in the leading-b approximation to a skeleton expansion. I programmed in Python and Mathematica to produce plots of the functions in question and their derivatives, which was quite tricky - since there was an infinite cancelling mechanism occurring at the Landau pole, which seemed to blow up (especially in the derivative plots) when we used a finite number of terms in the series, until I found an alternative representation of the function using Logarithmic Integral functions that could be used in some places but not others…anyway I digress. - 71%

Particle Physics - Introduction to Quantum Field theory, Gauge Field Symmetry, Phenomenology (81%)

General Relativity and Astrophysical Fluids - 73%

Advanced Theoretical Physics - Superconductivity and Quantum Optics. 62%

My concerns arise because I haven’t been actively doing any physics or mathematics (apart from brain teasers in my spare time) since the end of my undergraduate degree. I appreciate that the most common path would be for people to transition directly into this course following an MPhys, but because of my circumstances this hasn’t been possible for me. Do you think I’m suitable for this course? I did get a first class degree but my marks weren’t uniformly perfect (my accident hit me pretty hard). What factors are most heavily weighted for applications (which I am aware are very competitive)? How would you advise me to go about applying to ensure the greatest chance of success?