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Which UK university is 'best' for physics?

  1. Apr 5, 2004 #1
    I am currently researching into universities that offer physics, either as a single subject, as theoretical physics, or with astronomy (astrophysics) or maths.

    Many of the university prospectuses i have looked at say that they have 'the best physics department', and i am finding it hard to choose between them.

    So i am asking anyone want they think of various universities throught the UK for their physics department. I have seen that the top universities for physics look like Warwick, York, UCL, Imperial and Oxford. Are there any major ones that i have missed?

    There is no need to take number of pubs, general student life, etc into account. But pubs being close are always a good thing :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2004 #2
    If you take N.Ireland into account there's Queens' who are ranked petty highly in Physics, esp. for their research. I think they got in the top 5 in the UK for Physics but I'm not 100% sure. Here's the link-
  4. Apr 5, 2004 #3
    Oh and has great social life, loadsa of pubs etc and the Physics and Applied Maths society has regular piss-ups where you get free booze!
  5. Apr 5, 2004 #4
    rattis asked: "I have seen that the top universities for physics look like Warwick, York, UCL, Imperial and Oxford. Are there any major ones that i have missed?"

    You probably don't need help from a yank, but unless UCL is an abbreviation for Cambridge, you left off one the best in the universe! I don't know how many pubs there are, but the thought of having a drink in the same place that Newton might have had one would be good enough for me.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2004
  6. Apr 5, 2004 #5


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    Newcastle's research links and department are excellent I can vouch for them but maybe I'm a little biased. I think jdavel got it pretty much in one.
  7. Apr 6, 2004 #6
    Unfortunatly they do not do the course that i wish to study. They offer physics as part of natural sciences programme, not as a single subject.
  8. Apr 6, 2004 #7
    Unfortunately, the Queens' website is possibly the ugliest thing on the net...

    :eek: :eek: :eek: AHHHH!
  9. Apr 27, 2004 #8
    This may sound a little foolish but i just registered so i could ask what 'UCL' stands for? If it's University of Central Lancashire that would be great, as I have them down as my back up offer on my ucas form and i have no clue about the place.

    My first choice is Newcastle (because it's close, and im lazy :P), but i have offers for physics from both, so if anyone has any experience with either of the above institutions id love to hear it.
  10. Apr 27, 2004 #9
    Ok on second thoughts, ULC would have to be University College London... damn. So anyway, Newcastle's good then is it?
  11. Apr 27, 2004 #10


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    I would say so. I am studying physics there. I don't know if that makes me biased though.
  12. Apr 28, 2004 #11
    Perhaps biased, but certainly knowledgable about the place :wink:. I just relieved they still offer the course, when i first applied they sent a letter saying something about moving all physics courses in north-east England to durham :eek: . Seems theres been a change of plan for now, but it did make me wonder whether that meant the course wasnt up to scratch or something.
  13. Apr 28, 2004 #12


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    The university of Newcastle, as with all in the UK is suffering from serious underinvestment from the government. As physics isn't one of the most popular courses it was provisionally put up to be closed which is a shame cos i think we can do without 'soft' subjects such as and pathetic things like that. Anyway such is the world. It looks stable at the minute but saying that if you'd feel more comfortable going elsewhere i wouldn't blame you. And as for the teaching and the courses, they're all excellent.
  14. Apr 29, 2004 #13
    Guess thats fair enough. Maybe investment will improve by my last year there when the top-up fees come in... but i doubt ill see much of that. Well Necastle is still first choice by a long way, providing i get the grades of course. Can't believe im struggling to get 2 B's and a C, which reminds me i best be getting on with my IT Cwk in for tomorrow :eek: . Thanx for the info Kurdt
  15. May 20, 2004 #14
  16. May 25, 2004 #15
    The times is a good source for university information. Someehre they list the top universitys by subject, apparently Durham is best for physics
  17. May 25, 2004 #16
    Well, my personal opinion is that Imperial College is best - but I am hugely biased :wink: (although I see the Times put us below Oxford this year... grrr!)

    Other places I have heard good things about are Bristol, Nottingham, Durham and St Andrews. Although you need to watch out which ones do the amount of theory you want as courses change dramatically from place to place.

    By the way, you should take all these lists and tables you find in newspapers etc with a pinch of salt. Sometimes the criteria they use are a bit odd, for instance, I have seen ratings based on whether the university achieved what they set out to accomplish. In which case an institution which is only trying to produce 'ok' graduates can achieve full marks.

    Also, there can be huge political biases. For instance, you will not see Imperial anywhere near the top of any list produced by the Guardian whilst Sir Richard Sykes is the rector.

    Hope that helps.

  18. May 27, 2004 #17
    Newton came from Grantham in Lincolnshire. If you have ever been there then your hypothesis that drinking in the same place as he may have once would be cool needs a rethink. Its like Pittsburg, but without the charm.

    edited spelling mistakes.
  19. May 27, 2004 #18


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    Trinity in Dublin has a fantastic Magnetism Lab and in general a great Condensed Matter Group.

    I think UMIST is worth looking into too.
  20. May 27, 2004 #19
    Does anyone know what happened to the proposed merger of UMIST with the university of Manchester? (the latter have a very good liquid crystals/condensed matter group I think)
  21. May 27, 2004 #20
    Do cambridge even DO physics? I can't see physics at cambridge in any league tables. I want to do physics at Oxford because it has the best reputation but I don't think i'll get in because i have the worst physics teachers in the country teaching me for AS. oh well.
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