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Physics at Imperial?

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    Hi,

    I'm in year 12 at the moment, wanting to study Astrophysics at uni, but am considering Imperial's Physics course because of the uni's prestige. I have 2 questions:

    Firstly, what are module options like? I've checked the website for details but there seems to be a general lack of Astro-related modules - for anyone studying Physics at Imperial at the moment, is this the case?

    Secondly, is it worth doing a straight Physics degree at a very prestigious university like Imperial as opposed to an Astro course at a good university?
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    i'm first year physics. imperial's the best at everything man. Do straight physics, the only alternative option is theoretical, but take stright phys and youll have the tools to go for the astro options. its all the same in the first year anyway.
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    (Original post by TenaciousMonkey)
    Hi,

    I'm in year 12 at the moment, wanting to study Astrophysics at uni, but am considering Imperial's Physics course because of the uni's prestige. I have 2 questions:

    Firstly, what are module options like? I've checked the website for details but there seems to be a general lack of Astro-related modules - for anyone studying Physics at Imperial at the moment, is this the case?

    Secondly, is it worth doing a straight Physics degree at a very prestigious university like Imperial as opposed to an Astro course at a good university?
    You will have no 'astro' related module in the first year. It's pretty much the same for everyone.

    In the second year, you will have the option to do a module called 'Suns, Stars and Planets' which I assume is right down your alley.

    In 3rd and 4th year, you can basically do whatever i think so then you can do plenty of astro stuff. But i'd say wait till you get here before you decide that's for you. At uni stuff is different...

    A Physics degree from imperial will overshadow any astro degree from any small time uni. Obvious choice there...
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    I'm also in year 12, looking at unis etc. Imperial would be great to get into for physics, I'm trying to decide between straight physics and physics with music performance, though it sounds like the time management between the physics and music practice might be a bit of a beast...
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    im in year 13 and applied for ucas entry 2012
    got an offer from imperial for physics! cant wait for it, the course sounds/looks really cool!

    even i was considering doing some astro stuff, but i would much rather get some basic understanding of the core physics principles used by astrophysicists eg relativity, and then learn it in depth afterwards.

    also, who knows if you might change ur mind and decide to go into something else eg particle physics, or theoretical.
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    (Original post by King_O)
    im in year 13 and applied for ucas entry 2012
    got an offer from imperial for physics! cant wait for it, the course sounds/looks really cool!

    even i was considering doing some astro stuff, but i would much rather get some basic understanding of the core physics principles used by astrophysicists eg relativity, and then learn it in depth afterwards.

    also, who knows if you might change ur mind and decide to go into something else eg particle physics, or theoretical.
    Congrats! Mind if I ask when you sent yours off, and what your predicted grades were?
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    (Original post by sy_1)
    I'm also in year 12, looking at unis etc. Imperial would be great to get into for physics, I'm trying to decide between straight physics and physics with music performance, though it sounds like the time management between the physics and music practice might be a bit of a beast...
    I'm an Imperial physicist. Not sure how I've ended up on here again but I've been up since 5 this morning for no reason...bare with me!

    If you are tempted by the music option, I would say just go for it. It's probably highly competitive and if you miss it I'm sure they will offer you a place on the physics course anyway if you're suitable. If, in the end, you get onto the physics with music course and it's not for you, I'm sure you could switch across easily. I am in third year and I'm still not sure if I'm finishing this year or next. They are flexible!
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    As everybody else has said you won't be doing anything astro related until at least 2nd year but from then on the relevant modules you can study are: 1. Sun, Stars and Planets, 2. Astrophysics, 3. Cosmology, 4. Plasma Physics, 5. Space Physics.

    Beware though some of the things you are enthusiastic about now you might end up hating when you actually study them.
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    (Original post by alan910_2)
    You will have no 'astro' related module in the first year. It's pretty much the same for everyone.

    In the second year, you will have the option to do a module called 'Suns, Stars and Planets' which I assume is right down your alley.

    In 3rd and 4th year, you can basically do whatever i think so then you can do plenty of astro stuff. But i'd say wait till you get here before you decide that's for you. At uni stuff is different...

    A Physics degree from imperial will overshadow any astro degree from any small time uni. Obvious choice there...
    Manchester is not a "small time univeristy" ..
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    (Original post by TenaciousMonkey)
    Congrats! Mind if I ask when you sent yours off, and what your predicted grades were?
    sent my application off within the first week of october. (oxbridge applicant)

    had my interview at the start of november, and then got my offer at the start of december. (no idea how it happened, i completely failed my interview)

    GCSE: 7A*, 5A
    AS: 4A in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry
    A2 predictions: 4A*
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    (Original post by jamie_90)
    I'm an Imperial physicist. Not sure how I've ended up on here again but I've been up since 5 this morning for no reason...bare with me!

    If you are tempted by the music option, I would say just go for it. It's probably highly competitive and if you miss it I'm sure they will offer you a place on the physics course anyway if you're suitable. If, in the end, you get onto the physics with music course and it's not for you, I'm sure you could switch across easily. I am in third year and I'm still not sure if I'm finishing this year or next. They are flexible!

    As you are currently studying at Imperial, I like to seek your advice with regard to teaching quality at Imperial.

    I have been looking at the CUG table which ranked Imperial highly 3rd 2011 and dropped to fifth this year. What really puzzled me is that a reputable Uni such as Imperial has one of the lowest Student Satisfaction level recorded. (I understand this is a measure of teaching quality from final year student survey).

    My questions are :-

    1) If teaching quality is so unsatisfactory, why Imperial still able to produce quality graduates

    2) Do you find the teaching not up to the required standard ?

    3) In what aspects of teaching you think Imperial is having a problem with students ?

    :confused::confused::confused:
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    (Original post by canlah2)
    As you are currently studying at Imperial, I like to seek your advice with regard to teaching quality at Imperial.

    I have been looking at the CUG table which ranked Imperial highly 3rd 2011 and dropped to fifth this year. What really puzzled me is that a reputable Uni such as Imperial has one of the lowest Student Satisfaction level recorded. (I understand this is a measure of teaching quality from final year student survey).

    My questions are :-

    1) If teaching quality is so unsatisfactory, why Imperial still able to produce quality graduates

    2) Do you find the teaching not up to the required standard ?

    3) In what aspects of teaching you think Imperial is having a problem with students ?

    :confused::confused::confused:
    I think you'll find that the general trend of these satisfaction surveys is the higher ranked unis having a surprisingly low satisfaction level. There are many reasons for this:

    1. Students of these unis don't particularly have the 'fun uni experience', academia is priority and if it isn't, the workload will make it their priority.

    2. The teaching at unis where the best students attend tends to be nothing more than a bit of guidance. Independent learning is expected, don't be surprised if in some courses the lecturer just comes in and tells you what topics you need to learn and then leaves the room. There will be no spoon feeding, and to students this comes across as 'poor teaching' or as if the lecturers aren't bothered.

    3. The professors at these unis tend to be of a higher profile, they're either involved in very important work or have various other roles to which the teaching comes secondary. So generally they will have less time to attend students' individual needs.

    4. I can only speak of Imperial but basically the work is considerably difficult. You get straight A students coming in, finding it impossible and dropping out. It's not a case of if you're bright and hard working which led to successful A-levels you will do equally well here. Students often don't end up performing at the level they've been used to their whole academic life, guess what they like to blame it on? The teaching. Thus, they are unsatisfied.

    I've only studied at Imperial so I can't provide a comparative perspective, what's 'good' teaching and what's 'bad'? What's the reference point by which we judge all this by? What we may consider bad teaching here, may well turn out to be the best teaching in the country compared to other unis.

    The only thing I will say is that the uni is not short of staff or resources, if they wanted to spoon feed you they could. The philosophy here is different, as I'm sure it is at many other places, they only want to give you the bare minimum, the foundation so to speak, for you to then build on that knowledge independently and succeed.
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    (Original post by Marc Fiorano)
    I think you'll find that the general trend of these satisfaction surveys is the higher ranked unis having a surprisingly low satisfaction level. There are many reasons for this:

    1. Students of these unis don't particularly have the 'fun uni experience', academia is priority and if it isn't, the workload will make it their priority.

    2. The teaching at unis where the best students attend tends to be nothing more than a bit of guidance. Independent learning is expected, don't be surprised if in some courses the lecturer just comes in and tells you what topics you need to learn and then leaves the room. There will be no spoon feeding, and to students this comes across as 'poor teaching' or as if the lecturers aren't bothered.

    3. The professors at these unis tend to be of a higher profile, they're either involved in very important work or have various other roles to which the teaching comes secondary. So generally they will have less time to attend students' individual needs.

    4. I can only speak of Imperial but basically the work is considerably difficult. You get straight A students coming in, finding it impossible and dropping out. It's not a case of if you're bright and hard working which led to successful A-levels you will do equally well here. Students often don't end up performing at the level they've been used to their whole academic life, guess what they like to blame it on? The teaching. Thus, they are unsatisfied.

    I've only studied at Imperial so I can't provide a comparative perspective, what's 'good' teaching and what's 'bad'? What's the reference point by which we judge all this by? What we may consider bad teaching here, may well turn out to be the best teaching in the country compared to other unis.

    The only thing I will say is that the uni is not short of staff or resources, if they wanted to spoon feed you they could. The philosophy here is different, as I'm sure it is at many other places, they only want to give you the bare minimum, the foundation so to speak, for you to then build on that knowledge independently and succeed.


    Thank you for the valuable feedback. I am still considering whether to firm ICL. Initially I was slightly concerned with regards to quality of teaching but now I have to give it a serious thought whether or not I am able to cope with the workload & work independently. I supposed I will never know unless you know the type of workload involved. In general do the students work as a team ?

    What is the % of drop out after first year ?? As far as Physics degree is concerned,
    do you know the % of students actually achieving 1st class honours ?

    I don't mind hard work, but as you have rightly advised whether or not one is able to cope is another matter. Decision ??? Time, Money & Pride at stake here. Any advice ?? How do I find out if I am able to cope & work independently ?
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    almost all degree courses in the UK are structured so you get an overview of the basic physics necessary for every stream in the following years.
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    (Original post by Marc Fiorano)
    I think you'll find that the general trend of these satisfaction surveys is the higher ranked unis having a surprisingly low satisfaction level. There are many reasons for this:

    1. Students of these unis don't particularly have the 'fun uni experience', academia is priority and if it isn't, the workload will make it their priority.

    2. The teaching at unis where the best students attend tends to be nothing more than a bit of guidance. Independent learning is expected, don't be surprised if in some courses the lecturer just comes in and tells you what topics you need to learn and then leaves the room. There will be no spoon feeding, and to students this comes across as 'poor teaching' or as if the lecturers aren't bothered.

    3. The professors at these unis tend to be of a higher profile, they're either involved in very important work or have various other roles to which the teaching comes secondary. So generally they will have less time to attend students' individual needs.

    4. I can only speak of Imperial but basically the work is considerably difficult. You get straight A students coming in, finding it impossible and dropping out. It's not a case of if you're bright and hard working which led to successful A-levels you will do equally well here. Students often don't end up performing at the level they've been used to their whole academic life, guess what they like to blame it on? The teaching. Thus, they are unsatisfied.

    I've only studied at Imperial so I can't provide a comparative perspective, what's 'good' teaching and what's 'bad'? What's the reference point by which we judge all this by? What we may consider bad teaching here, may well turn out to be the best teaching in the country compared to other unis.

    The only thing I will say is that the uni is not short of staff or resources, if they wanted to spoon feed you they could. The philosophy here is different, as I'm sure it is at many other places, they only want to give you the bare minimum, the foundation so to speak, for you to then build on that knowledge independently and succeed.
    Thank you for the valuable advice, really appreciate it.
    I received an offer from Imperial which include A*(Maths), A*(Physics), A(Further Maths) and AS A in Economics, and I have achieved A*Maths and AS A in Economics and Physics.

    I am considering dropping Economics A2 & concentrate more time on Physics & Further Maths. Do you think it's the right decision ?? That means I will never have a chance to secure any A level in Economics even thought it is not related to my course. Would the University withdraw the offer if I did not sit for the A2 level in Economics when I have stated in my UCAS application this is one of the A level subjects I am sitting ??
    Hope to get some valuable advice.
    Btw I have received 4 other offers from Watwick (AAB), UCL(AAB), Machester(A*AA) and Bristol(AAA). Any advice which one to choose as insurance. ??
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    (Original post by canlah2)
    Thank you for the valuable advice, really appreciate it.
    I received an offer from Imperial which include A*(Maths), A*(Physics), A(Further Maths) and AS A in Economics, and I have achieved A*Maths and AS A in Economics and Physics.

    I am considering dropping Economics A2 & concentrate more time on Physics & Further Maths. Do you think it's the right decision ?? That means I will never have a chance to secure any A level in Economics even thought it is not related to my course. Would the University withdraw the offer if I did not sit for the A2 level in Economics when I have stated in my UCAS application this is one of the A level subjects I am sitting ??
    Hope to get some valuable advice.
    Btw I have received 4 other offers from Watwick (AAB), UCL(AAB), Machester(A*AA) and Bristol(AAA). Any advice which one to choose as insurance. ??

    Congrats on your offer! That's a pretty tough offer, didn't know they've raised the bar this much. Mine was A*AA two years ago but I figured that's as high as it'd go.

    Just to clarify, you've already completed your A-level Math, and so if you drop Econ you will be doing Physics and F.Maths this year? Given your credentials I think you could handle doing Econ, making it three subjects this year.

    But I think first and foremost you should contact the admissions tutor and ask them. It could may well be that they made the decision to accept you on the basis that you will have done 4 A-levels, perhaps they wouldn't have if they had seen just the 3 (and to some degree can even be regarded as 2, some often class Maths and F.Maths as 1 as the latter is just an advanced continuation of the former).

    Considering how late into the academic year we are, I presume you will have covered most of A2 econ anyway, surely it'd just be worthwhile for you to do it?

    Those are a good bunch of offers there, for my insurance I had UCL (same offer of AAB). Manchester has a fantastic physics department but the offer is too high for insurance (unless you're confident you can achieve A*AA in worst case scenario). Warwick and UCL's physics departments are so-so, but the facilities of the unis are great and they both have outstanding reputations as unis in general (UCL more so).
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    (Original post by Marc Fiorano)
    Congrats on your offer! That's a pretty tough offer, didn't know they've raised the bar this much. Mine was A*AA two years ago but I figured that's as high as it'd go.

    Just to clarify, you've already completed your A-level Math, and so if you drop Econ you will be doing Physics and F.Maths this year? Given your credentials I think you could handle doing Econ, making it three subjects this year.

    But I think first and foremost you should contact the admissions tutor and ask them. It could may well be that they made the decision to accept you on the basis that you will have done 4 A-levels, perhaps they wouldn't have if they had seen just the 3 (and to some degree can even be regarded as 2, some often class Maths and F.Maths as 1 as the latter is just an advanced continuation of the former).

    Considering how late into the academic year we are, I presume you will have covered most of A2 econ anyway, surely it'd just be worthwhile for you to do it?

    Those are a good bunch of offers there, for my insurance I had UCL (same offer of AAB). Manchester has a fantastic physics department but the offer is too high for insurance (unless you're confident you can achieve A*AA in worst case scenario). Warwick and UCL's physics departments are so-so, but the facilities of the unis are great and they both have outstanding reputations as unis in general (UCL more so).

    Good advice. I would contact admissions to clarify this matter. Eco wasn't one of my strongest subjects, the A achieved at AS level was only a borderline A. Even at this late stage, we still has a great deal to cover & hence the decision to drop. Of cause there is always this concern the Uni made the offer on the basis of 4 A level subjects. But then they already know I had secured A at AS for Eco & did not ask for a higher offer.

    I do not want to spend too much time for my Eco now that I know I have to get A* for physics. Btw my AS Grade for physics is 88%, it means I have to make sure I can get at least 92% & above to be sure for my A2. Am I right to assume this is the case. ?? I did not sit for my AS in F Maths & need to work hard to get at least A for my A level.

    UCL sounds like a good insurance. Do you know UCL offers accommodation guarantee at all to Insurance students ? Sorry if I have taken too much of your time
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    (Original post by canlah2)
    Good advice. I would contact admissions to clarify this matter. Eco wasn't one of my strongest subjects, the A achieved at AS level was only a borderline A. Even at this late stage, we still has a great deal to cover & hence the decision to drop. Of cause there is always this concern the Uni made the offer on the basis of 4 A level subjects. But then they already know I had secured A at AS for Eco & did not ask for a higher offer.

    I do not want to spend too much time for my Eco now that I know I have to get A* for physics. Btw my AS Grade for physics is 88%, it means I have to make sure I can get at least 92% & above to be sure for my A2. Am I right to assume this is the case. ?? I did not sit for my AS in F Maths & need to work hard to get at least A for my A level.

    UCL sounds like a good insurance. Do you know UCL offers accommodation guarantee at all to Insurance students ? Sorry if I have taken too much of your time
    Yeah considering they've only asked for a A at AS Econ they might let you drop it, I know people who did manage to do this with Imperial's permission but it's good to confirm first. Contact via email, that way when they tell you that you can drop it you will have written evidence.

    It might differ for different boards but generally, an A* is 80% overall and at least 90% average in A2 modules. So you need to get 90% average in your A2 modules and with the 88% from AS you will get the A* as that makes it a 89% average overall.

    If I recall correctly you are not guaranteed accommodation at UCL if it's your insurance. If you live within the M25 then it will most certainly be no accommodation at all.
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    (Original post by Marc Fiorano)
    Yeah considering they've only asked for a A at AS Econ they might let you drop it, I know people who did manage to do this with Imperial's permission but it's good to confirm first. Contact via email, that way when they tell you that you can drop it you will have written evidence.

    It might differ for different boards but generally, an A* is 80% overall and at least 90% average in A2 modules. So you need to get 90% average in your A2 modules and with the 88% from AS you will get the A* as that makes it a 89% average overall.

    If I recall correctly you are not guaranteed accommodation at UCL if it's your insurance. If you live within the M25 then it will most certainly be no accommodation at all.
    I thought A* is 90% overall. If A* is 80% overall, then for my F Maths what do I need to get in order to get an A in the A level. For F Math I did not sit for the AS last time. Btw when do I have to apply for accommodation at ICL ?
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    (Original post by canlah2)
    I thought A* is 90% overall. If A* is 80% overall, then for my F Maths what do I need to get in order to get an A in the A level. For F Math I did not sit for the AS last time. Btw when do I have to apply for accommodation at ICL ?
    Nope, A* is 80% overall as long as it's 90% in A2. So in theory if somebody has 70% at AS and gets 90% at A2, they will still get the A* as they average 80%. But it differs for certain subjects and boards, but that is the general rule.

    For maths I think they only consider the core A2 modules for the 90% average, so if you average 90% across C3 + C4 rather than 90% across the three A2 modules. At least, that's how it was when I did it, confirm this with your teacher.

    To get an A you will just need to get 80% overall, so at least 480 UMS points.

    I think ICL will send you an accommodation pack soon after giving the offer.

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