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Physics vs. Theoretical Physics at uni?

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    Hello,

    I am hopeful to be doing physics at university for 2017 entry but am still uncertain as to wether to choose Physics, Physics with Theoretical Physics or just Theoretical Physics

    I am looking to apply at manchester and bristol

    what are the main differences between the two courses?
    Is Theoretical Physics more maths heavy?
    which course is more flexible?
    What would be recommended if I wanted to follow physics higher than degree level?
    Which course is better?

    Cheers in advance
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    (Original post by TomA90)
    Hello,

    I am hopeful to be doing physics at university for 2017 entry but am still uncertain as to wether to choose Physics, Physics with Theoretical Physics or just Theoretical Physics

    I am looking to apply at manchester and bristol

    what are the main differences between the two courses?
    Is Theoretical Physics more maths heavy?
    which course is more flexible?
    What would be recommended if I wanted to follow physics higher than degree level?
    Which course is better?

    Cheers in advance
    Theoretical Physics is more theoretical work and more maths I'd say. Physics does have a lot of maths but is more practical than Theoretical Physics.
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    Do Theoretical Physics at Manchester, it's a wonderful course. It was my second favourite course out of choices.
    Basically you get to do less experiments, but more mathematical methods stuff, which are really fun if you like maths.
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    (Original post by TomA90)
    Hello,

    I am hopeful to be doing physics at university for 2017 entry but am still uncertain as to wether to choose Physics, Physics with Theoretical Physics or just Theoretical Physics

    I am looking to apply at manchester and bristol

    what are the main differences between the two courses?
    Is Theoretical Physics more maths heavy?
    which course is more flexible?
    What would be recommended if I wanted to follow physics higher than degree level?
    Which course is better?

    Cheers in advance
    Can't comment on the courses at the universities you mention, but in general check the modules listed.
    Theoretical may have less lab work involved or only first year, normally has additional maths modules instead (or less optional modules available)
    Also I'd say that there is a heavier weighting towards data analysis & computing especially in the final projects.
    Looks at the theoretical research areas of the groups at each to see what the staff are engaging in, as that might assist in focussing on which way to go
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    (Original post by TomA90)

    what are the main differences between the two courses?
    Mainly that theoretical physics has less labs, and includes more maths modules (including from the maths department at my uni - can't speak for Manchester or Bristol).

    Is Theoretical Physics more maths heavy?
    Yes.

    which course is more flexible?
    Theoretical gives you more options to do maths, physics gives you more options to do project work, and at my uni lets you choose more modules as you're not forced to do maths ones.

    What would be recommended if I wanted to follow physics higher than degree level?
    Depends if you want to pursue theoretical or experimental.

    Which course is better?
    Neither is "better" from an objective point of view, it just depends on what you want to do.

    I'm not sure if this needs saying, but please don't only apply for two universities.
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    (Original post by TomA90)
    What would be recommended if I wanted to follow physics higher than degree level?
    (Original post by Cerdic)


    Depends if you want to pursue theoretical or experimental.


    Neither is "better" from an objective point of view, it just depends on what you want to do.
    Most people who work in a physics department would recommend doing a more theory heavy course as an undergrad, regardless of whether or not you pursue an experimental topic at PhD level. The usual reason given is that you'll need a thorough theoretical background to do an experimental PhD (more than provided by the majority of experimental undergrad courses) while experimental skills are easier to pick up on the fly.
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    (Original post by Cerdic)
    Mainly that theoretical physics has less labs, and includes more maths modules (including from the maths department at my uni - can't speak for Manchester or Bristol).


    Yes.


    Theoretical gives you more options to do maths, physics gives you more options to do project work, and at my uni lets you choose more modules as you're not forced to do maths ones.


    Depends if you want to pursue theoretical or experimental.


    Neither is "better" from an objective point of view, it just depends on what you want to do.

    I'm not sure if this needs saying, but please don't only apply for two universities.
    Thank you, very helpful. No haha I am of course applying for 5 but Manchester and Bristol are looking like where I want to be most.
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    (Original post by oShahpo)
    Do Theoretical Physics at Manchester, it's a wonderful course. It was my second favourite course out of choices.
    Basically you get to do less experiments, but more mathematical methods stuff, which are really fun if you like maths.
    Would you say I would be at a disadvantage during admissions and 1st year if I do not have Further Maths? I know it is recommended by all top unis for physics but I made the mistake of not choosing it and later regretting it.
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    (Original post by TomA90)
    Would you say I would be at a disadvantage during admissions and 1st year if I do not have Further Maths? I know it is recommended by all top unis for physics but I made the mistake of not choosing it and later regretting it.
    When I applied I hadn't done further maths AS but was starting both AS and A2 FM. If you think you will be disadvantaged, apply for straight physics then switch once you're accepted, it's pretty simple.
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    (Original post by TomA90)
    Would you say I would be at a disadvantage during admissions and 1st year if I do not have Further Maths? I know it is recommended by all top unis for physics but I made the mistake of not choosing it and later regretting it.
    Depending what you mean by top, my daughter did Maths, Physics and Biology and got 5 offers from Sussex, Lancaster, York, Nottingham and Leeds.

    So if you are looking at places like ICL etc then certainly doing AS FM will help
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    (Original post by TomA90)
    Would you say I would be at a disadvantage during admissions and 1st year if I do not have Further Maths? I know it is recommended by all top unis for physics but I made the mistake of not choosing it and later regretting it.
    Further maths is definitely helpful in first year I found. That's not to say that you need it - it's all taught in the course, it can just make things a little easier.

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