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Schools University Courses

  1. Jun 11, 2007 #1
    I am at the end of my AS year at college, so I need to be thinking about uni choices. I will have to get my application for cambridge in in october.

    I am stuck between taking Maths or Physics. I really enjoy both, and would ideally like to take both to degree level, as I find them both really interesting. Some universities do a "maths + physics" course, but I don't want to end up as a "jack of all trades" and be able to get a PhD in neither subject...

    Any advice?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2007 #2
    Well, ultimately it is only you who can decide. However, I will give my two pence's worth, as a 1st year Physics student.

    I was, I suppose, in a similar position to you, in that I couldn't choose between Maths and Physics (and also History - a bit random I know!). What I will say is that you learn a lot of Maths in any Physics course (my joint biggest module this year is the Maths course), where you'll learn the mathematical tools you need to do Physics. Also, the Physics courses themselves are very mathematical as well. So, by choosing Physics, it doesn't mean you won't do any maths - far from it. Also, just as a word of warning, a few people in my corridor do Maths, and it's very formal, and prove this, prove that, and probably not the kind of Maths you've met at A-level.

    Just to add a little caveat - I do Physics, I love Physics, and I'm really enjoying my course (except for exams!!) so the above probably seems very biased! Probably my best advice for you would be to have a look on the University's websites and the prospectuses, and see what kinds of things you'll be doing for each course. Attend course open days, find out what it's like, and what you'd prefer. As I said, it's only really you who can decide!
  4. Jun 11, 2007 #3
    That is interesting, I've not heard that before.

    Yea, I am attending an open day at cambridge soon, and also a maths "intro" in manchester. I suppose I will see how those go. I think physics would make for a more interesting career maybe... My physics lecturer lent me a book called "Black Holes and Time Warps" by Kip Thorne, and I am finding it very interesting, even though I have no idea what he is on about alot of the time. I THINK I would quite like to get a masters in physics and maybe an astrophysics based PhD. :confused::confused:

    EDIT: Sorry, I didn't realise there was a subforum specifically for this kind of thread. :blushing:
  5. Jun 11, 2007 #4
    Well, that's the impression I've got. There has been a bit of overlap between our courses (Linear algebra, differential equations, vectors, series - stuff like that), but whereas us Physics students mainly just learnt the methods and how to calculate, the Maths students learnt that on top of the proofs and stuff like that. But, obviously, I'm not a maths student, so check it out for yourself.

    By the way, I definitely found that there were very few physics books that I could find that were accessible to A-level students. They were either to easy, or way too hard! I'd recommend Feynman, though: Q.E.D.
    The Strange Theory Of Light And Matter, ISBN: 9780140125054 (0140125051). I think it should be easy enough to pick up at the local Public library, it was available at mine, which is almost exclusively Agatha Christie novels! Nothing to do with Astrophysics, but I found it a good read.

    You've done well to have even an inkling of what you want to do - I've nearly finished my first year, and haven't got a clue on what I want to do! I keep telling myself I've got another 3 years to sort that out, though. Anyway, good luck with the open days - hope they help you decide! (P.S. I don't envy you having to do a personal statement!!)
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