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Why are UK Masters programs so short?

  1. Dec 29, 2015 #1
    I have been looking at some of the theoretical physics programs in the UK and a lot of them seem to be very short 9 months to a year. It just seems insane to learn so much material in such a short amount of time. Is the material covered in the same depth as many U.S. universities? Can someone shed some light on this?

    For example, group theory, general relativity, quantum field theory, cosmology, and supersymmetry would be enough for 1 year of study in a U.S. masters program to be considered full time and that doesn't even cover a 3rd of this program at Durham University.

    Core Modules
    • Introductory Field Theory
    • Group Theory
    • Standard Model
    • General Relativity
    • Quantum Electrodynamics
    • Quantum Field Theory
    • Conformal Field Theory
    • Supersymmetry
    • Anomalies
    • Strong Interaction Physics
    • Cosmology
    • Superstrings and D-branes
    • Non-Perturbative Physics
    • Euclidean Field Theory
    • Flavour Physics and Effective Field Theory
    • Neutrinos and Astroparticle Physics
    • 2d Quantum Field Theory.
    Optional Modules available in previous years included:
    • Differential Geometry for Physicists
    • Boundaries and Defects in Integrable Field Theory
    • Computing for Physicists.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2015 #2


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    Here are the timetable and course descriptions, since one cannot judge simply from a list of module titles.

    Also one has to bear in mind that the starting point of a UK Masters is a UK bachelor's degree, which if in physics will typically have consisted of three years study of physics alone, without the distraction of any "general education" requirement. By way of example, here is a list of those modules open to undergraduate physics students at Durham.
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