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MSc Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces 2012/2013

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    Hi guys!

    I've got a few questions about the Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces MSc at Imperial.

    Here's my background:

    - Pure Mathematician at Oxford (MMATH)
    - Studied Theoretical Physics as a hobby for years
    - Wanting to Move into the field as a graduate
    - Self-Funding (through working in my gap-year)
    - Final Classification: high 2.i in fourth year, first class otherwise (one *seriously* awful half-paper in fourth year - my fault ).


    Here's my questions:

    - How hard is the course to get into? (I've heard of a 2.i Oxford Physicist getting rejected).
    - Are the admissions committee likely to discriminate against me given that I
    (i) Narrowly Missed out on a first?
    (ii) Am a Pure Mathematician by training


    Thanks!
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    An Oxford math degree is an elite qualification and a high 2.1 from Oxford is comparable to a first from everywhere else except maybe Cambridge. The only concern would be the number of physics classes on your transcript, if you have done no physics in your math degree they can't tell how good you are at it.
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    You sound like a strong candidate, so it wouldnt hurt to apply.

    However that course doesnt sound like it would be particularly employable, so I'm going to assume that youre doing it either for fun, or as a prelude to a PhD. If it's the former then cool, go ahead. But if its the latter, would it not be possible to just apply for PhD programs directly? I would guess that a 2:1 in a 4 year Oxford math course would give you a decent shot even without the masters, especially since you say you know a fair bit about theoretical physics anyway (did you do a related final year project or anything? would you have good references?).

    I suppose it depends on the sort of PhD you'd want to do, but it may be worth contacting the departments/advisors you'd be interested in working with and asking if youd have a good chance of being accepted as you are, or whether the mastesr would give you a significant extra advantage.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    You sound like a strong candidate, so it wouldnt hurt to apply.

    However that course doesnt sound like it would be particularly employable, so I'm going to assume that youre doing it either for fun, or as a prelude to a PhD. If it's the former then cool, go ahead. But if its the latter, would it not be possible to just apply for PhD programs directly? I would guess that a 2:1 in a 4 year Oxford math course would give you a decent shot even without the masters, especially since you say you know a fair bit about theoretical physics anyway (did you do a related final year project or anything? would you have good references?).

    I suppose it depends on the sort of PhD you'd want to do, but it may be worth contacting the departments/advisors you'd be interested in working with and asking if youd have a good chance of being accepted as you are, or whether the mastesr would give you a significant extra advantage.
    The course seems to be very highly regarded by most of the people working in Theoretical Physics.
    I am doing it partly for fun (I just really like solving hard problems) but if I turn out to be any good, I'll probably apply for a PhD.

    It appears that getting a funded PhD place in Theoretical Physics is pretty tough. Part of it due to a lack of funding and part of it is because the work is so difficult: there's always a possibility that a weaker candidate will make no progress and drop out. I've spoken to a lot of people in admissions and a 2.i (and even a near miss first) won't even get you in the door at most places with a decent department. You generally need a first, and usually a high one.

    Guess the reference will be the hard part: I've been to the lectures and solved the problem sheets, but I haven't formally attended any classes and I didn't sit the exams...

    Imperial have an open day coming up soon, so I'll probably go along and ask some people in admissions there.
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    I dont know much about theoretical physics specifically so its quite possible that youre right, but I find it surprising that a 2:1 from Oxford wouldnt be enough to give you a good shot at most PhD programs, assuming you ticked all the other boxes
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    (Original post by BrianTheBeaver)
    The course seems to be very highly regarded by most of the people working in Theoretical Physics.
    I am doing it partly for fun (I just really like solving hard problems) but if I turn out to be any good, I'll probably apply for a PhD.

    It appears that getting a funded PhD place in Theoretical Physics is pretty tough. Part of it due to a lack of funding and part of it is because the work is so difficult: there's always a possibility that a weaker candidate will make no progress and drop out. I've spoken to a lot of people in admissions and a 2.i (and even a near miss first) won't even get you in the door at most places with a decent department. You generally need a first, and usually a high one.

    Guess the reference will be the hard part: I've been to the lectures and solved the problem sheets, but I haven't formally attended any classes and I didn't sit the exams...

    Imperial have an open day coming up soon, so I'll probably go along and ask some people in admissions there.
    I know a guy who got onto that course after pure maths at a mid level uni (PM me and i'll tell you which one). As for it being difficult to get funding for a theoretical physics PhD, that's just not true outside of cambridge. I got plenty of offers last year (Ox, Bath, Soton) with a very low 2.i and lots of enthusiasm.
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    Hi!
    I am an Italian students, currently trying to complete my first 3-year degree in Italy and tryna figure out what to do in the future.
    I wanted to join the conversation to search for opinion on how to think about my opportunities.

    I have currently an conditional offer for the QFFF and one for the MASt in Physics at Cambridge, and I am waiting for decision for the MASt in Applied Mathematics at Cambridge, and there is possibility to get a conditional offer even for that, I hope(I am at the BoGS).

    I have read strange things....the High Energy Physics field is dead? Why? only academic outlets(I want to do a PhD)?
    But according to you, QFFF implies a career in HEP only, or it can bring also a career in Relativity, Gravitation or other part of Theoretical Physics?

    What would you think about Cambridge? It's more famous, but that's not everything that counts. Do you advise me to go there if I want to focus on other areas of Theoretical Physics that are not HEP(IF I am admitted to the suitable course).

    Any advice? I am interested in knowing what perspective Imperial student think, because thus far I have only been interested in exchanging opinions with Cambridge perspective students or current students.

    Thanks, and good luck for the ones who are applying.
    If someone is interested in details on my application at Imperial, I can provide information.

    Bye!
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    (Original post by iorfus)
    Hi!
    I am an Italian students, currently trying to complete my first 3-year degree in Italy and tryna figure out what to do in the future.
    I wanted to join the conversation to search for opinion on how to think about my opportunities.

    I have currently an conditional offer for the QFFF and one for the MASt in Physics at Cambridge, and I am waiting for decision for the MASt in Applied Mathematics at Cambridge, and there is possibility to get a conditional offer even for that, I hope(I am at the BoGS).

    I have read strange things....the High Energy Physics field is dead? Why? only academic outlets(I want to do a PhD)?
    But according to you, QFFF implies a career in HEP only, or it can bring also a career in Relativity, Gravitation or other part of Theoretical Physics?

    What would you think about Cambridge? It's more famous, but that's not everything that counts. Do you advise me to go there if I want to focus on other areas of Theoretical Physics that are not HEP(IF I am admitted to the suitable course).

    Any advice? I am interested in knowing what perspective Imperial student think, because thus far I have only been interested in exchanging opinions with Cambridge perspective students or current students.

    Thanks, and good luck for the ones who are applying.
    If someone is interested in details on my application at Imperial, I can provide information.

    Bye!
    Hi iorfus,

    Not sure if this is too late now but... I also received offers for both the Imperial QFFF course and also Part III mathematics at Cambridge. I ended up going with Imperial, not least for financial reasons (though I imagine things are very different for international students) but because the course also looked more suited to theoretical physics. You have probably made a decision by now... what did you go for in the end?
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    (Original post by mrbeekle)
    Hi iorfus,

    Not sure if this is too late now but... I also received offers for both the Imperial QFFF course and also Part III mathematics at Cambridge. I ended up going with Imperial, not least for financial reasons (though I imagine things are very different for international students) but because the course also looked more suited to theoretical physics. You have probably made a decision by now... what did you go for in the end?
    Hi!
    Thanks for the answer.
    I am going to accept the offer for Part III Physics at Cambridge, where I was also offered a place, as I have finally decided to study Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics. I have refused the offer from Imperial and I am going to refuse the offer for Part III Mathematics.

    For EU students financial circumstances are the same as for UK.

    Thanks for your hint on the course :-)

    Best wishes
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    (Original post by iorfus)
    Hi!
    Thanks for the answer.
    I am going to accept the offer for Part III Physics at Cambridge, where I was also offered a place, as I have finally decided to study Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics. I have refused the offer from Imperial and I am going to refuse the offer for Part III Mathematics.

    For EU students financial circumstances are the same as for UK.

    Thanks for your hint on the course :-)

    Best wishes
    Hi there,

    Ah in that case it definitely sounds like you made the right decision for the field you want to go into. Best of luck with it all!
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    (Original post by iorfus)
    Hi!
    Thanks for the answer.
    I am going to accept the offer for Part III Physics at Cambridge, where I was also offered a place, as I have finally decided to study Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics. I have refused the offer from Imperial and I am going to refuse the offer for Part III Mathematics.
    This might raise eyebrows. The Cambridge Part III Physics is just an MSci 4th year, or a general Physics MSc done over 8 months, and nothing special. The Part III maths and QFFF (which is very similar to Part III maths if you choose the theoretical physics options) are both among the most highly regarded Physics courses in the world.

    That said, Cambridge Physics department's focus seems to be Condensed Matter Theory, so if that's what you want it makes some sense.

    But according to you, QFFF implies a career in HEP only, or it can bring also a career in Relativity, Gravitation or other part of Theoretical Physics?
    QFFF/Part III Maths are not aimed at experimental HEP, they're aimed at pen and paper theorists.
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    (Original post by DynamicSyngery)
    This might raise eyebrows. The Cambridge Part III Physics is just an MSci 4th year, or a general Physics MSc done over 8 months, and nothing special. The Part III maths and QFFF (which is very similar to Part III maths if you choose the theoretical physics options) are both among the most highly regarded Physics courses in the world.

    That said, Cambridge Physics department's focus seems to be Condensed Matter Theory, so if that's what you want it makes some sense.


    QFFF/Part III Maths are not aimed at experimental HEP, they're aimed at pen and paper theorists.
    Hi! Yes, I have decided as I want to study condensed matter Physics. My aim is to pursue the PartIII Physics, and then maybe a MPhil also at the Cavendish Laboratory. Afterwards, I could try a PhD where I am accepted.

    I think that PartIII Maths is very famous also because it's the oldest course, PartIII Physics (as a single course) is a new course so it can't be famous at all, but it seems that the Cavendish is a very renowned department for condensed matter Physics. So I hope it's fine to go there for this subject.
    Do you know strong departments for Condensed Matter Physics? Not only in England, all over the world.


    Thanks for your opinion.
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    (Original post by mrbeekle)
    Hi there,

    Ah in that case it definitely sounds like you made the right decision for the field you want to go into. Best of luck with it all!
    Thanks.
    Best wishes to you too!
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    (Original post by iorfus)
    Hi! Yes, I have decided as I want to study condensed matter Physics. My aim is to pursue the PartIII Physics, and then maybe a MPhil also at the Cavendish Laboratory. Afterwards, I could try a PhD where I am accepted.
    Ok, well wanting to study condensed matter physics is a good reason. Though I hope you first wanted to study that, and then saw that Cambridge does a lot of it, rather than wanting to do condensed matter because that is what Cavendish does.

    I think that PartIII Maths is very famous also because it's the oldest course, PartIII Physics (as a single course) is a new course so it can't be famous at all
    If the implication is that Part III Physics will eventually become as famous as Part III Maths, I think that's very unlikely. The course content is just a lot easier, and much like all the other MSci 4th years at physics departments across the country.
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    Anyone doing QFFF in 2013?
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    I am. Just accepted their offer. However, I am looking for funding. What about you?

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