(Original post by zar91)
OK, so I know you were a bit disappointed that someone didn't reply... I know I don't quite qualify (see signature), but three of my five housemates next year take Physics so I'll do my best to answer the ones I know about...
1. How many contact hours per week are there, and does the number diminish as you progress from 1st to 4th year of the degree programme?
It's around 15 hours per week in first year, with a variety of lectures and lab time. I'm not sure whether it decreases across the years, but obviously if you're doing your own research you will spending less time in groups/lectures and more time either by yourself or with one supervisor/tutor.
2. Have you experienced poor quality lectures, and what do you think is the main reason?
I think most Physicists would say the only drawback is some lectures, as a previous respondent has said, being 'boring', but that you inevitably get that in any subject (agreed, from a History perspective).
The only thing I would say is the general frustration with labs... being paired with lab partners that are not of the same work ethic as you, and having to stay for an hour longer than needed because you have to wait for them to finish... but really there is little complaint more than that. And seriously, you change lab partners within the year, so don't be too worried about stuck with people you don't like.
3. What is your experience of feedback from lecturers on handed in course work and how would you describe the quality of this feedback?
There are problem questions and stuff every week so obviously you'll be pretty sure whether or not you understand things. I also thing the other respondent explained it better than I can: Physics apparently have tutorials which most other departments are very jealous of.
4. How knowledgeable do you think your lecturers are in their subject field?
All lecturers in a university of York's standard, in a department that outclasses its rivals at the same university, will be of national, if not world-class standard. The department will make sure you get experts in the field they are teaching.
5. How would you describe the quality of the laboratory facilities?
I don't know much, having never *had* a Physics lesson, but the department has one of the newest buildings on campus for its labs.
6. Which College is the most convenient to the Physics department and how would you rate it?
Any of the central colleges would be fine. So James is a bit more 'posh' in the new parts (i.e. ensuite), Vanbrugh as well (has newer parts). Both of them also has older parts which aren't as nice. Langwith is close, has ensuite but all the blocks are older. All the accommodation on the centre of campus is good, and really it's better to be closer than to prioritise being in a new building.
7. How many students take up the option of studying abroad, and have they found it difficult to adjust to a different university system?
Not many students study abroad as far as I'm aware, in terms of proportion of overall... and being a first year, I hope someone else might answer the second half more effectively.
8. To what level of mathematics beyond A level standard is achieved at the end of the degree programme?
Well I did A-Level Further Maths and my friend has borrowed all my notes for the end of first year... so I should imagine in 2nd, 3rd and 4th years (if you do the full MPhys) would be well beyond it. Also you can choose whether to do more 'Maths' type modules later on.
9. Finally do you think York University's reputation is well deserved?
From what I have seen, yes. If you come to York you will have to work hard (one housemate has to retake all exams for this year, which have a pass rate of 35%, and he isn't stupid). My friend works a lot harder than I do at the moment, and has a lot of contact hours. But the department is a good one, will support you if you need it and it is definitely a great department at the university.
It'd be good if someone else would give you a bit of a closer examination, but I hope I can do something.