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Courses Stay on Theoretical Physics course or switch to Maths & Physics?

  1. Aug 19, 2010 #1
    Hey guys, I know this is predominately an american centred forum but I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. I've completed the first year of a Theoretical Physics 4 year course at Durham (in the UK). However with the modules that I chose I do still have the option to swap over to "Maths & Physics" joint honours which is half modules from maths and half from physics departments. If I do carry on to a PhD, which is something at the moment I am seriously considering (though I know things will change a lot in the next 3 years) as far as I can tell I would definitely like to do it in a more 'theoretical' branch of physics rather than a directly experimental one.

    I have heard from several sources that doing the Maths & Physics would be a far better preparation for this than the theoretical physics as it gives you a more rigorous understanding of the mathematical basis etc. this is largely from a research student who is doing an MSc next year but says he has spoken to "lots of professors and researchers" so not exactly authoritative but not to be ignored either.

    tldr: Could someone advise me on which of these two courses would give the best 'grounding' if I were to continue on and do a PhD in a more theoretical physics area.

    Maths & Phys:
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/natural.sciences/prospective/msci-maths-phys/" [Broken]

    Theoretical Phys:
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/undergraduate/courses/details/ [Broken]
    (sorry for the ambiguity of that one, their pdf which shows the course specifically is down at the moment, it is F344 in the table)

    Any advice would be amazing.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2010 #2
    Both programs look extremely strong but by looking at the course content it appears the Mathematics and Physics route is more comprehensive and rigorous which is how graduate Physics is taught and the Mathematics will make the Physics more intuitive, I would go into that program.
  4. Aug 20, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the advice, looks like I shall have to look into transferring course!
  5. Aug 20, 2010 #4
    I think you should wait for other opinions, many people may have different perceptions on these topics that should be considered.
  6. Aug 20, 2010 #5


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    I'd go for the Maths and Physics. It seems like a lot of the modules are taken in both courses anyway, but there is a wide selection of mathematical physics courses you can choose from in the maths&phys degree that don't seem to be available in the theoretical physics course.
  7. Aug 20, 2010 #6
    I can't transfer until October so I won't be rushing into it, don't worry :wink:.
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