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I'm thinking about taking the natural sciences degree (hons) and was wondering what is the credibility of these degrees?
is it looked down on by employers?
is it looked down on in academia?
After my degree i plan to do postgraduate study, will an open university degree be looked at as "weaker" than a "normal" degree.
First off I'd take a look at the 'theme' you want your degree to be and look to see if the appropriate professional institution will accredit the degree, for example if you take the physics route for the NatSci degree then is it recognised or can it be recognised by the IoP (Institute of Physics) if you choose the right modules?
Secondly, if you are going to go onto postgraduate study then I'm 100% positive that your OU degree will not be looked at as weaker (unless for example, you choose multiple unrelated modules which do not go with one another, eg.. geology, biology, physics, and a bit of chem.. with an astro module..).
If you do a masters at a conventional uni then that should deffinately be accredited by the appropriate professional institution, however I'm not sure if the BSc would need to be also, or if the MSc 'over rides' it. You'd have to check with the institution.
On a document i found at the IOP website, for the open university it says "Students are free to choose any
combination of modules, but named degrees require completion of specific
combinations. Credit transfer from other institutions is possible." I imagine the specific modules are to ensure its accreditted.
If you choose the new Physics pathway, you'll cover all the modules required for IoP accreditation.
From what I've seen, lots of OU science graduates go on to follow Masters programmes at brick universities. The biggest weakness of the Nat Sci degree is lack of lab time and may be collaborative working. It's not so bad if you're already working in science. But if you don't or you're fresh out of school/ college then it's a minus.