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Science schools in England

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  • Thread starter Galgenstrick
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  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I was hoping that someone had some experience with schools in the UK. I will be finishing my 2 year degree this fall semester and am planning on transferring to a university to finish my Bachelors degree the following fall. Right now I am studying at a community college in California. My GPA is a 3.7, I am studying physics, I have done unpaid internships, and for this coming academic year, I plan on doing a self funded research project in photonics. I need some advice with schools overseas though.

I plan on applying to the following schools in the US:

UC Davis
UC Santa Barbara
UC LA
UC San Diego
Cornell University
Stanford University
(possibly others)

Here is where I need help. I would really like to apply to some schools in the UK, I am not sure how easily my credits would transfer over, and I am not sure which schools I would have a good shot at. So far I want to apply to the University of Nottingham. The rest of the schools I have heard of are probably out of my league (Oxford, Cambridge, etc). So if anyone has a suggestion for schools that are decent in the sciences, in the UK, and accept transfer students, please let me know!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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The fees to study at English universities are about to to go through the roof - the news yesterday stated that English students will be charged 'full fees' (£9000 per year) at over 90% of English universities. I'm not sure how that relates to foreign students, but expect to pay at least as much as the natives. So check the costs! Can you get a scholarship at particular universities? It might be cheaper at Scottish or Welsh Universities - since devolution, the way fees work is different in these countries - Glasgow, St Andrews, Edinburgh, and several others, have good reputations...
 
  • #3
AlephZero
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The "Russell group" are generally regarded as the leading UK universities. See
http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/our-universities.aspx

Apart from the LSE (which as its name implies specializes in economics and politics) any of them would give you a good science education.

Use the "contact us" link on their website to find out about transferring credits etc.
 
  • #4
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I am unable to help you with most of your questions, Galgenstrick, but I certainly can nominate one university in the UK that not only has a strong reputation in science, it also has a strong reputation and a long history of attendance by students of science from all over the world. The university I am talking about is UMIST – University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology. I should have thought it was at least worth your investigation.
 
  • #5
cristo
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I am unable to help you with most of your questions, Galgenstrick, but I certainly can nominate one university in the UK that not only has a strong reputation in science, it also has a strong reputation and a long history of attendance by students of science from all over the world. The university I am talking about is UMIST – University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology. I should have thought it was at least worth your investigation.
UMIST doesn't exist any more -- in 2004 it joined with the University of Manchester.
 
  • #6
I have read about the University of Manchester, I am not sure how easy it would be to transfer. I have also considered different countries as mal4mac suggested. Edinburgh, and Australian National University are now on my list. I am beginning to think that I should wait to study abroad for grad school, and stay in the US for undergrad. I think I will add University of Pennsylvania to my list. Are there any other private schools in the US worth applying to besides Stanford and Cornell?
 
  • #7
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The "Russell group" are generally regarded as the leading UK universities. See
http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/our-universities.aspx
Only by people who know not what they are talking about. The Russell Group is a collection of large, multifaculty universities that banded together to convince a) the government and b) the general public that their model of university is better.

They seem to have been fairly successful with b).
 
  • #8
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So what's wrong with the Russel Group universities then and which universities outside the group do you think have a significant edge on them in terms of quality of education? I don't think AlephZero was suggesting they are the only good universities in the UK, but I think as a "rule of thumb" you can't really go wrong with concentrating on trying to get into one of those (which isn't to say there don't exist good universities that aren't part of the group).
 
  • #9
AlephZero
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Only by people who know not what they are talking about.
I base my durect experioence on the graduates I've interviewed applying for first jobs in industry, over the last few decades.

The list UK universities where my employers directly fund research and have regular academic contacts with the staff include ten out of the Russell group 20, compared with two or three outside it (and one of those outside is a very specialised research area).

If you are looking at the UK university sector as a foreign student with no "insider knowledge", the Russell group is a pretty good place to start. If you want to figure out on your own which of the 100 or so UK universities really are worthless for science education, then by all means do your own research, but you will end up with quite a long list.
 
  • #11
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I don't think student satisfaction ratings are an indicator of the quality of education at all (or do Kent and Hertfordshire give you a better education than Cambridge these days?), and universities that are perceived as "better" tend to have students with higher expectations of their instructors, the courses and opportunities. Plus, looking at the tables, the Russel Group universities seem to have great student satifaction ratings, so I don't really see why you pointed that out.

Otherwise I do agree it's good to look at independent resources, as well, but like AlephZero said, as a general starting point for someone not in the know, you're probably better off starting off with those. Less chance of a "miss", I would assume, than with just picking a random university not in the group. And, again, I'm not saying these universities are the end-all be-all, and I also see why people would be opposed to grouping of universities with self-proclaimed excellence. But just because you dislike the fact that they are grouped like that doesn't mean that prevents them from being perhaps (!) better institutions than the majority of other universities.
 
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  • #12
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I base my durect experioence on the graduates I've interviewed applying for first jobs in industry, over the last few decades.

The list UK universities where my employers directly fund research and have regular academic contacts with the staff include ten out of the Russell group 20, compared with two or three outside it (and one of those outside is a very specialised research area).

If you are looking at the UK university sector as a foreign student with no "insider knowledge", the Russell group is a pretty good place to start. If you want to figure out on your own which of the 100 or so UK universities really are worthless for science education, then by all means do your own research, but you will end up with quite a long list.
As long as you're not contradicting anything I'm saying then...

More often than not the Russell Group is synonymous with poor teaching standards, students unable to get hold of their lecturers and poor student satisfaction.

The Russell Group is completely irrelevant to anything other than post graduate research funding.
 
  • #13
cristo
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More often than not the Russell Group is synonymous with poor teaching standards, students unable to get hold of their lecturers and poor student satisfaction.
Where's your proof of any of these accusations?
 
  • #14
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Where's your proof of any of these accusations?
From talking to numerous students at a variety of institutions, from having visited some of these institutions myself, and the fact that a lot of them have really poor student satisfaction ratings in a variety of subjects.
 
  • #15
AlephZero
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I don't have the slightest interest in "student satisfaction" when looking at job applications. I'm interested in what they learned and what their attitude to work is.

It doesn't surprise me at all that some people get to university and find they can't handle it unless they are hand-held and spoon-fed every step of the way, and whine in satisfaction surveys when they dont get it, but I'm not interested in recruiting losers.
 
  • #16
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I'm interested in what they learned and what their attitude to work is..
Which has nothing to do with the Russell Group, which is a lobby group for more government funding.
 

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