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Whoever helps me choose between these universities gets Ice-Cream! 8D

  1. Apr 11, 2014 #1
    Hello! Now that I've caught your attention with the ice-cream...:tongue: Please help me with 2 questions!

    Some background information:
    I am due to begin my undergraduate studies nearing the end of this year. As I aspire to eventually enter academia and devote my career to physics research, I did some reading up and talked to several professors at local universities about my aspirations. I was warned of the sheer competition for places in academia and thus large likelihood that all the years spent on working towards a PhD or even a Post-Doc will still not lead me to my ideal career. It worried me and made me acutely aware that my decision about universities and even course right now may play a substantial role in deciding how my life turns out.

    The questions:

    1) Given that I am offered places in local institutions for more competitive courses (like Law) that assure a career with high financial security, should I perhaps forgo an expensive and risky education path in Physics? My family isn't wealthy and the financial aspect of a university education is still a problem - especially if I have to eventually pursue studies abroad in more internationally recognised institutions. If at the end of all these costly pursuits, I am unable to land a stable job, there will be serious financial consequences.
    As subjects that are based on concepts, theory and abstract reasoning appeal to me, I have generally done well in both the Humanities and Sciences. Although for that reason Law does interest me, there is still a little voice at the back of my head enticing me to pursue my passion in Physics for fear that the "What If" question will haunt me for the rest of my life if I backed out at this point.

    Although I know this decision is a personal one and ultimately depends on me, I would still like to ask for any experiences or opinions you think is relevant to my dilemma?

    2) If I do eventually decide to pursue my a career in Physics (and hence the Physics undergraduate studies), which course and university do you think will best prepare me for competitive entry into academia? I guess key factors will be things like reputation, pedagogy and quality/recognition of research.

    National University of Singapore - B.Sc Honours Physics
    University College London - Msci Physics
    Durham University - MPhys Honours Physics
    University of Bristol - Msci Physics and Philosophy

    For those less familiar with the UK system - Msci/MPhys is an undergraduate Masters degree. One can either go on to get a graduate Masters (MSc) degree after getting an Msci/MPhys or directly go on to PhD.

    Thank you for bothering to read my lengthy post! Do feel free to share any thoughts, experiences or opinions you have regarding my decision(s)!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2014 #2

    I was asking these exact questions for some time.

    1) I won't tell you that the story had a happy ending when I chose physics, or more generally the thing I am passionate about, since I'm still studying. I just know for sure that I'd rather be passionate about what I do than be a rich or a "financially stable" person. So I encourage you to take the risk, most great things come with some risk.

    2) Out of your options, UCL is what I would choose. You might want to consider other countries where education is free though, you would not need to worry about expensive tuition fees as you would in the UK. Leipzig University has a physics program in English and universities in Germany are free to attend, so consider that if financing is a big issue.

    A general note on choosing your university is to choose one that focuses on the type of research you want to be doing, that way you can always find relevant courses for your master.
  4. Apr 11, 2014 #3
    Did you get accepted to these already? :O
    I would go to NUS or UCL hands down.
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