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    (Original post by Spanky Deluxe)
    Most universities are about the same in terms of teaching and research etc. The league tables are heavily skewed due to nearly all of the factors considered being linked heavily to the entry grades and general calibre of students coming in. Its a cyclic system, the rankings of the lower down universities remain largely the same because the same kind of calibre students come in, which means the same kind of calibre students are apply to the university.

    It pretty much comes down to where you want to spend 3/4 years of your life. University reputation means far less than schools / newspapers make out. At the end of the day, getting a 1st from a lower tier university will be worth more than a 2.1 from a top university (maybe with the exception of Oxbridge). When it comes to equal grades, the decider will be made by any experience / extra curricular stuff you may have done, how well you've written your C.V. or application and how you come across in an interview. If anyone's interested, I wrote a lengthier rant about league tables here.
    Ok, in your 'guide' you say they are judged by the calibre of the students, not how 'good' the course is. But if the requirements are CCC, the content of the course really can't be the same as an AAA course; wouldn't the students just not be able to keep up? A 1st from DeMontfort can't be the same as a 1st from Durham..
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    (Original post by Marsha2112)
    Ok, in your 'guide' you say they are judged by the calibre of the students, not how 'good' the course is. But if the requirements are CCC, the content of the course really can't be the same as an AAA course; wouldn't the students just not be able to keep up? A 1st from DeMontfort can't be the same as a 1st from Durham..
    That's really not always strictly true, and I fail to see the logic there.

    Entry requirements are a sign of how "in demand" a course is. This isn't the same as how "good" the course is.

    Durham degrees will always attract a far higher number of applicants than a De Montfort degree.

    It works the other way, there are a couple of Durham "AAA" departments who have courses and teaching in no way superior (arguably inferior) to BBC departments/universities.

    They only get away with asking AAA due to being Durham. With many chosing such courses due to university "prestige" more than anything else. The BBC unis just don't have the right location or "brand name" to make them popular enough despite some excellent courses.

    Your point also fails when professional courses are considered (such as engineering, surveying and, to a lesser extent, law and medicine).
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    (Original post by Marsha2112)
    Ok, in your 'guide' you say they are judged by the calibre of the students, not how 'good' the course is. But if the requirements are CCC, the content of the course really can't be the same as an AAA course; wouldn't the students just not be able to keep up? A 1st from DeMontfort can't be the same as a 1st from Durham..
    No, universities have to have exams that are approximately the same level as all other universities. This is the point, students cannot keep up as much if they come with weaker entry grades - hence they are less likely to get 1sts or 2.1s. In a way, this can be somewhat compensated due to the number of students in the years being far fewer than in the highest rated universities. As Frodz has said, Manchester had 260 first year undergrad students. Some universities, even ones that are still ranked reasonably well, only have 50/60 students. At Manchester, if you don't develop a good buddy group with whom to study etc then you're pretty much stuffed - the lecturer won't be able to spend as much time on you. In a class of say 20/30 students, its not a problem if one student asks a question during the class and the lecturer will likely know all the students by name.
    You can't really rate a 1st from DeMontfort against a 1st from Durham. Technically, they're the same level of achievement but then at this level its more likely to come down to everything else on your application or in your interview. Durham has a notoriety for being full of snobs. Some interview panels might like that, others might not and would prefer someone down to Earth. If a student from DeMontfort had a 1st and a Durham student had a 2.1 in an identical course then the DeMontfort student would be more academically qualified. I'm talking like-like comparisons here, not a 1st from Nottingham Trent in Fashion Design vs a 2.1 from Imperial in Physics.

    Edit:

    (Original post by Garden_Gnome)
    It works the other way, there are a couple of Durham "AAA" departments who have courses and teaching in no way superior (arguably inferior) to BBC departments/universities.
    This is a key point. Professors/Doctors earn pretty much the same at a 'lower tier' university than a 'higher tear' one. Their success is dependent on the research that they do, *not* the universities where they are based. *Lecturers do not work at Universities to teach*. They go do do *research*. They have to teach as a side thing, a lot of them would rather not (which is why lecturers can often seem far less enthusiastic than the teachers you had for your A-Levels). If a lecturer at Leicester University were offered a professorship at DeMontfort university (i.e. decent pay rise) then they'd take it. They're just as good at lecturing as the ones at all the other universities. Sure, some people are better at teaching than others, but this is not what gets them their jobs. Research, research, research.
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    (Original post by Spanky Deluxe)
    At Manchester, if you don't develop a good buddy group with whom to study etc then you're pretty much stuffed - the lecturer won't be able to spend as much time on you. In a class of say 20/30 students, its not a problem if one student asks a question during the class and the lecturer will likely know all the students by name.
    I would interject that at manchester that isn't necessarily the case, i get more time with staff than friends who went to smaller universities. The staff/student ratio at Manchester is actually higher than most. This department still takes the old fashioned approach with personal and academic tutors and tuturials etc and teaching is mostly all in house at schuster labs. Also the fact that there are many people means a bigger range of options courses and different degree streams means that most lectures aren't 260 people!! :p: Even if the lectures are big you can always see the lecturers after, It's a surprisingly close community.
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    (Original post by Itchynscratchy)
    Don't believe it. As a Durham physics graduate I can tell you that is not the case for the majority of the staff in the department. The vast majority of people get through the course here without any problems.
    Of course, I would expect only a small minority are unhappy (and you'll always have a small minority of people in any course, at any uni, experiencing issues).

    It's just a few months back there was a member, her boyfriend was studying physics at Durham and, although he didn't have any real problems, she was pretty much ****ging off the department and criticising the teaching (basically the lecturers don't really have time for the undergrads). But the student himself seemed to enjoy it so I didn't have any idea what she was getting at.

    So I just put that down to intefernece (or a misconception) on her part. But more recently I've seen Hopping Mad Kangaroo ****ging off the department. I just got the impression that there's a fair number of students (even if it's only a small minority) who are having issues with the department. Still, happens everywhere I suppose.

    It seems a great department and the academics there are doing some great stuff.
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    (Original post by Frodz)
    I would interject that at manchester that isn't necessarily the case, i get more time with staff than friends who went to smaller universities. The staff/student ratio at Manchester is actually higher than most. This department still takes the old fashioned approach with personal and academic tutors and tuturials etc and teaching is mostly all in house at schuster labs. Also the fact that there are many people means a bigger range of options courses and different degree streams means that most lectures aren't 260 people!! :p: Even if the lectures are big you can always see the lecturers after, It's a surprisingly close community.
    Large student numbers can be managed if done right. At Nottingham, while we did have one weekly tutorial, it was only 1 hour long and was only in the first year. Yes its true that you can get more student/staff time if you try, its a lot harder for a lot of people to go and speak to a lecturer after the class if there are 100s of students. While this can be done more in optional modules, most of our core modules (which made up the bulk in the first year) were sat by the whole year. Staff/student ratio means bugger all if you have such large modules. There might be loads of staff but there's usually only one lecturer per module, no matter how big the class is.
    I don't doubt that its working well for you at Manchester, I'm sure it is for a lot of people. I guarantee that it won't be for a lot of others because of the reasons I mention and I mention these reasons because they're not stuff most people think of when they look at league tables and consider universities. I know from experience that at other universities with smaller numbers, the lecturers know the names of *all* the students in their classes. Believe me, this can make a real difference.
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    (Original post by Garden_Gnome)
    So I just put that down to intefernece (or a misconception) on her part. But more recently I've seen Hopping Mad Kangaroo ****ging off the department. I just got the impression that there's a fair number of students (even if it's only a small minority) who are having issues with the department. Still, happens everywhere I suppose.
    Its best not to put too much stock in what he says, and if you want to see why just check his message history. He just seems to have a giant-size axe to grind
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    (Original post by Itchynscratchy)
    Its best not to put too much stock in what he says, and if you want to see why just check his message history. He just seems to have a giant-size axe to grind
    I've came across a few of his posts.

    He likes to get on his soapbox :p:
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    (Original post by Itchynscratchy)
    Don't believe it. As a Durham physics graduate I can tell you that is not the case for the majority of the staff in the department. The vast majority of people get through the course here without any problems.
    Exactly, they just get through, not do well. Doing well requires beyond silly amounts of work, which could be avoided if the lecturers knew how to lecture and set exams.
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    (Original post by Hopping Mad Kangaroo)
    Exactly, they just get through, not do well. Doing well requires beyond silly amounts of work, which could be avoided if the lecturers knew how to lecture and set exams.
    So are the lecturers really researchers, rather than teachers?
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    (Original post by Garden_Gnome)
    So are the lecturers really researchers, rather than teachers?
    Yes, sadly.
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    (Original post by Garden_Gnome)
    So are the lecturers really researchers, rather than teachers?
    That's the same at *every* university. Probably about 90-95% of lecturers become lecturers to do their research rather than teach. A "lecturer" position doesn't actually mean what most people think. A lecturer will usually work the same kind of hours as anyone else in a normal job, say 40 hours a week. Out of those 40 hours they will usually lecture for (at most) 4 hours a week and they will spend next to no time outside of the module's first year working on the course content. Those 4 hours a week are only for half of the year, during lecture time too. Lecturers will spend a few hours at some point in the year writing the exam paper. I don't know much about whether they mark exams or not but *most* of the time your courseworks during term time will be marked by PhD students. So, all in all, I would say that lecturers spend *at most* 10% of their work time throughout the year working on the modules that teach you.
    Lectureships are research positions first, teaching positions second.
    This is why you can often end up with some aweful lecturers and the chances of getting a really really good lecturer are pretty slim. People who are gifted at teaching go and teach in schools, they don't become lecturers. Now this stuff can vary to a larger degree in other subjects and in some courses and some universities actually hire people into teaching only lectureships although, to my knowledge, no one does this in Physics right now.
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    (Original post by Spanky Deluxe)
    That's the same at *every* university. Probably about 90-95% of lecturers become lecturers to do their research rather than teach. A "lecturer" position doesn't actually mean what most people think. A lecturer will usually work the same kind of hours as anyone else in a normal job, say 40 hours a week. Out of those 40 hours they will usually lecture for (at most) 4 hours a week and they will spend next to no time outside of the module's first year working on the course content. Those 4 hours a week are only for half of the year, during lecture time too. Lecturers will spend a few hours at some point in the year writing the exam paper. I don't know much about whether they mark exams or not but *most* of the time your courseworks during term time will be marked by PhD students. So, all in all, I would say that lecturers spend *at most* 10% of their work time throughout the year working on the modules that teach you.
    Lectureships are research positions first, teaching positions second.
    This is why you can often end up with some aweful lecturers and the chances of getting a really really good lecturer are pretty slim
    . People who are gifted at teaching go and teach in schools, they don't become lecturers. Now this stuff can vary to a larger degree in other subjects and in some courses and some universities actually hire people into teaching only lectureships although, to my knowledge, no one does this in Physics right now.
    The reason we get awful lecturers is because there is no training, nor any quality control. Really what should happen is that they should all be made to go on intensive public speaking courses, and if they don't like it, they get the sack.

    The arts don't have this problem, despite the fact that their lecturers are here on a similar basis.
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    Most universities do give their lecturers teaching courses. Public speaking courses aren't an issue since they already have experience giving talks at conferences etc. Seriously, you'll need to get your head around the fact that universities are a place of research first and foremost and a place of teaching second.

    I would hazard a guess that teaching in the arts might be better because a greater proportion of the money coming in to the departments is from student fees instead of research council money. I don't know for sure but it makes sense. The research councils in the sciences have a hell of a lot more money than arts research councils.
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    (Original post by Spanky Deluxe)
    Most universities do give their lecturers teaching courses.
    Nope, what happens is that they run them and nearly no one shows up.
    Public speaking courses aren't an issue since they already have experience giving talks at conferences etc. Seriously, you'll need to get your head around the fact that universities are a place of research first and foremost and a place of teaching second.
    They have experience of giving talks yes, but not good ones. Asides, giving a talk does not make someone a good teacher.

    Even if they are places of teaching second, they should at least try and give the student's their monies worth.
    I would hazard a guess that teaching in the arts might be better because a greater proportion of the money coming in to the departments is from student fees instead of research council money. I don't know for sure but it makes sense. The research councils in the sciences have a hell of a lot more money than arts research councils.
    It's better because the arts are more competitive, so universities can hire on the basis of lecturing ability too.
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    Honestly, the quicker you realise that universities are research institutions and not schools with tougher material, the better. There's no point getting upset about 'value for money'. At the end of the day, you go to university to be taught by the best people in the field. The best people in the field are the best because of the research they do. I doubt people like Einstein and Bohr were fantastic teachers, the likes of Feynmann are few and far between. All that lecturers need to do is to supply students with adequate material for them to reach a certain level of comprehension. Its down to the students to learn and understand all the stuff presented to them.

    I probably come across as quite anti-student but I'm really not. The point I'm trying to make is that university teaching is *very* different from school teaching. Most of the time you will not have the intimate nature of a classroom, you won't have the teaching style bent in a manner that is beneficial to each individual, its down to you. Each 'subject' at University level usually only has about two hours of lectures a week. Each subject at A-Level usually has about 8 hours of classes a week yet the amount of material covered in a module in half a year is probably about the same as half a year of an A-Level. Actually, its probably a lot more. The key thing is that university is all about self study. If you have a bad lecturer then there's no point blaming them for doing badly, you should blame yourself for not working hard enough. It is not their primary jobs to teach, let alone tutor you as an individual. A lot of new students to universities kind of expect the teaching style to be largely the same as in school but seriously, it isn't.
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    Hello everyone,

    so I'm a prospective student who wants to study Physics in the UK. Well, first of all, I've been doing lots of research on the courses, as well on the requirements and the universities reputation.

    The very first thing that comes to mind is "where's leeds?"
    How can a department that has got the third and the fifth best performance, according to the rankings, be forgotten? That might be because of some kind of over-rated figures i suppose, well i dont really know but it intrigues me as hell.

    I'm an overseas student from Portugal and i've still got one question about the UCAS apply, which concerns the points. So here in Portugal the grades are given in a integer scale of 1-20. How would those figures be converted to UCAS points? I do know that a 18 would corespond to an A which would therefore produce 140 points but thats a rough approximation rather than an accurate information to be lead.

    btw, my list of preferrable unis would be likely to be as below (not in order)

    Durham
    Leeds
    Warwick
    _________________________
    Bristol
    Glasgow / St Andrews

    Why is Manchester so well considered for physics if it's at #20 (the times)? Could that be because of the overall university reputation?

    NOTICE im not relying on the charts, its just to have a rough idea of the recognition of each uni.

    Thanks in advance, David
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    I know its harder for an international student but my advice is if possible come and have a look. I got caught up in the whole league tables and its pointless, everyone has a different opinion at undergrad level and there is so much bias around. If you can, try your hardest to make up your own mind I really liked Durham when I visited it but a lot of people dislike it.
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    thanks for replying EBD

    well yes i think that's a conclusion one sooner or later will draw. quite frankly there are some rather inconsistent facts when analysing the rankings. One of those is leeds, which i'd still appreciate to have further comments on. How can its department be ranked #3 and #5 (physics) and fail to be one of the most popular and regarded as being on the top?
    I'm kinda confused as i'd actually like to go there study, any info would be hugely appreciated.

    so what unis are/have you applied to, EBD?
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    (Original post by Ebd)
    I know its harder for an international student but my advice is if possible come and have a look. I got caught up in the whole league tables and its pointless, everyone has a different opinion at undergrad level and there is so much bias around. If you can, try your hardest to make up your own mind I really liked Durham when I visited it but a lot of people dislike it.
    Having done quite a bit Physics at Durham I would really not recommend it. The department overworks students to the point of contempt.
 
 
 
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