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depressed
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This post is intended to make you think hard about applying to Oxford for engineering, or any other typically "scientific" course at Oxford. (Im at Oxford studying engineering).

I was full of expectation when I got into the archaic city. The first thing that struck me (being from london) was the fact that there were hardly any ethnic minorities to be seen, and the city reeked of classism, (I have encountered racism too).

The quality of teaching here is very low with most of the lecturers unable to "teach" due to their commitments (phd projects etc). Rather than teach students how to do practical problems, we are bombarded by theory and high flying proofs. Tutorial sheets will have errors, in both the questions and the answers. You will learn all the rules in lectures, however all the problems you do will be the exceptions to them.
Practicals are little to do with understanding and more to do with getting signed off for them (computing in particular). Most of the actual teaching happens in tutorials, (the place where you are supposed to discuss problems). The whole term is a rushed confusion of work, labs and tutorial sheets. If you have a real genuine interest in innovation, design and engineering this course is not for you. It will sap the creativity from your soul and turn you into a robot, mindlessly churning out answers.
I find myself regretting the fact I came here and wish I went to a University filled with human beings, rather than egotistical lecturers and aloof professors. I do hope and believe that not everyone who goes to oxford feels this way and actually enjoys the experience.
Its one of the best places to study an arts subject and the atmosphere of the city suits it.
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by depressed)
This post is intended to make you think hard about applying to Oxford for engineering, or any other typically "scientific" course at Oxford. (Im at Oxford studying engineering).

I was full of expectation when I got into the archaic city. The first thing that struck me (being from london) was the fact that there were hardly any ethnic minorities to be seen, and the city reeked of classism, (I have encountered racism too).

The quality of teaching here is very low with most of the lecturers unable to "teach" due to their commitments (phd projects etc). Rather than teach students how to do practical problems, we are bombarded by theory and high flying proofs. Tutorial sheets will have errors, in both the questions and the answers. You will learn all the rules in lectures, however all the problems you do will be the exceptions to them.
Practicals are little to do with understanding and more to do with getting signed off for them (computing in particular). Most of the actual teaching happens in tutorials, (the place where you are supposed to discuss problems). The whole term is a rushed confusion of work, labs and tutorial sheets. If you have a real genuine interest in innovation, design and engineering this course is not for you. It will sap the creativity from your soul and turn you into a robot, mindlessly churning out answers.
I find myself regretting the fact I came here and wish I went to a University filled with human beings, rather than egotistical lecturers and aloof professors. I do hope and believe that not everyone who goes to oxford feels this way and actually enjoys the experience.
Its one of the best places to study an arts subject and the atmosphere of the city suits it.

Should have gone for cambridge to do a science subject.
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depressed
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I've heard its the same there too
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by depressed)
I've heard its the same there too


Crap.
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Sazzle
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Engineering at Oxford doesn't have a great reputation.

The Geology department seems great though, the tutors were fab, really fun and relaxed, the students seemed really happy there.
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MadNatSci
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(Original post by Ralfskini)
Crap.
Don't worry. You'll have the odd rubbish lecturer but on the whole they're great. The supervisors are hugely supportive and on the whole very good at their jobs - as for an interest being stifled, well you should just come to my physiology practicals: we talk about all sorts of fascinating stuff and I'm seriously considering physiology as an alternative to biochem! And the terms are highly intensive but you learn loads too. You will feel like you're drowning in things to learn - everyone does - but it works out OK, honest! The terms are short enough that it doesn't kill you. And I've found the practicals very useful.

depressed, I understand that you're finding it tough at Ox but please don't scare people heading for Cambridge when you haven't been there and experienced it yourself!
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by MadNatSci)
Don't worry. You'll have the odd rubbish lecturer but on the whole they're great. The supervisors are hugely supportive and on the whole very good at their jobs - as for an interest being stifled, well you should just come to my physiology practicals: we talk about all sorts of fascinating stuff and I'm seriously considering physiology as an alternative to biochem! And the terms are highly intensive but you learn loads too. You will feel like you're drowning in things to learn - everyone does - but it works out OK, honest! The terms are short enough that it doesn't kill you. And I've found the practicals very useful.

depressed, I understand that you're finding it tough at Ox but please don't scare people heading for Cambridge when you haven't been there and experienced it yourself!

I don't mind working hard, but I would have minded if the quality of teaching was poor or if the lecturers lacked enthusiasm, were not supportive, etc. Clearly this is not the case.

What kind of things do you learn about in physiology?
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MadNatSci
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(Original post by Ralfskini)
What kind of things do you learn about in physiology?
Hehe, they're often really cruel so if you're likely to be offended please stop reading now! (It's become a standing joke in our supervisions actually...) But they're really interesting. Things like if you remove the 'thinking parts' of a duck's brain it can still function OK - it can still walk and things. It can't clean itself and it tries to dive into the floor as if it were in water (that's horrible actually, hated it when he told us that) but on the whole it functions OK - which is pretty amazing if you think about it. It implies that walking, for example, isn't learnt by ducks, the just do it... What else? Starfish can survive even if you cut them up: as long as their central 'disc' (don't know what that is exactly) is intact they can regrow their limbs. (This discovery I can understand: someone was obviously just trying to get rid of a starfish and it didn't work...)

Anyway... it's all fascinating as long as you can tolerate animal experimentation. And bear in mind that these experiments were all done a relatively long while ago!
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Ralfskini
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(Original post by MadNatSci)
Hehe, they're often really cruel so if you're likely to be offended please stop reading now! (It's become a standing joke in our supervisions actually...) But they're really interesting. Things like if you remove the 'thinking parts' of a duck's brain it can still function OK - it can still walk and things. It can't clean itself and it tries to dive into the floor as if it were in water (that's horrible actually, hated it when he told us that) but on the whole it functions OK - which is pretty amazing if you think about it. It implies that walking, for example, isn't learnt by ducks, the just do it... What else? Starfish can survive even if you cut them up: as long as their central 'disc' (don't know what that is exactly) is intact they can regrow their limbs. (This discovery I can understand: someone was obviously just trying to get rid of a starfish and it didn't work...)

Anyway... it's all fascinating as long as you can tolerate animal experimentation. And bear in mind that these experiments were all done a relatively long while ago!


Right, Im definitely doing that! I wonder why they chose ducks as opposed to rats, for example, but then I suppose it is different for all species, e.g. rats wont learn to dive into water, etc. Would the central disc of a starfish simply be everything apart from it's legs?
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tagzt
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(Original post by depressed)
This post is intended to make you think hard about applying to Oxford for engineering, or any other typically "scientific" course at Oxford. (Im at Oxford studying engineering).

I was full of expectation when I got into the archaic city. The first thing that struck me (being from london) was the fact that there were hardly any ethnic minorities to be seen, and the city reeked of classism, (I have encountered racism too).
I was surprised by the number of ethnic minorities within the university, have u joined any societies? There are a lot of societies for ethnic minorities, individual colleges might not have a huge number but if you're feeling so isolated then try and join a university society.

I really would have to disagree with this idea of racism and classism at Oxford. I go to one of the supposedly "posh/arrogant" colleges and have never in the slightest felt discriminated against because of my colour or background. Maybe you have had some unfortunate experiences but I am sure the vast majority of people would agree with me.

The quality of teaching here is very low with most of the lecturers unable to "teach" due to their commitments (phd projects etc). Rather than teach students how to do practical problems, we are bombarded by theory and high flying proofs. Tutorial sheets will have errors, in both the questions and the answers. You will learn all the rules in lectures, however all the problems you do will be the exceptions to them.
Practicals are little to do with understanding and more to do with getting signed off for them (computing in particular). Most of the actual teaching happens in tutorials, (the place where you are supposed to discuss problems). The whole term is a rushed confusion of work, labs and tutorial sheets. If you have a real genuine interest in innovation, design and engineering this course is not for you. It will sap the creativity from your soul and turn you into a robot, mindlessly churning out answers.
I find myself regretting the fact I came here and wish I went to a University filled with human beings, rather than egotistical lecturers and aloof professors. I do hope and believe that not everyone who goes to oxford feels this way and actually enjoys the experience.
Its one of the best places to study an arts subject and the atmosphere of the city suits it.
i suppose an oxford education is a very personal experience, all i would say is that all of my friends doing science subjects say they are having a great time. im sorry you dont seem to be enjoying yourself.
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username9816
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(Original post by tagzt)
I was surprised by the number of ethnic minorities within the university, have u joined any societies? There are a lot of societies for ethnic minorities, individual colleges might not have a huge number but if you're feeling so isolated then try and join a university society.

I really would have to disagree with this idea of racism and classism at Oxford. I go to one of the supposedly "posh/arrogant" colleges and have never in the slightest felt discriminated against because of my colour or background. Maybe you have had some unfortunate experiences but I am sure the vast majority of people would agree with me.



i suppose an oxford education is a very personal experience, all i would say is that all of my friends doing science subjects say they are having a great time. im sorry you dont seem to be enjoying yourself.
what about physics at oxford? i heard that oxford is class 4 physics, respectability of degree, teaching, very good course, uni reputation of course, and that its even ebtter than cam 4 physics.

so am i making a good choice to apply 4 physics next year?
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username9816
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(Original post by tagzt)
I was surprised by the number of ethnic minorities within the university, have u joined any societies? There are a lot of societies for ethnic minorities, individual colleges might not have a huge number but if you're feeling so isolated then try and join a university society.

I really would have to disagree with this idea of racism and classism at Oxford. I go to one of the supposedly "posh/arrogant" colleges and have never in the slightest felt discriminated against because of my colour or background. Maybe you have had some unfortunate experiences but I am sure the vast majority of people would agree with me.



i suppose an oxford education is a very personal experience, all i would say is that all of my friends doing science subjects say they are having a great time. im sorry you dont seem to be enjoying yourself.
i do agree that engineering/computer science isnt very well admired at ox from what i ahve heard, but sciences such as physics, bio, chem, medicine, and maths etc are superb apparently.

its engineering/comp.sci that people say the oxford course isnt taught too well and its practically quite dull.
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MadNatSci
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(Original post by Ralfskini)
Right, Im definitely doing that! I wonder why they chose ducks as opposed to rats, for example, but then I suppose it is different for all species, e.g. rats wont learn to dive into water, etc. Would the central disc of a starfish simply be everything apart from it's legs?

I don't know about the central starfish thing - I'll ask Marv on Tuesday when I have my first supervision of term As for the ducks - I think they tried it on other animals and found they didn't survive, interesting huh? Ducks are cool.
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neildm
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There are lots of ethnic minorities at Cambridge and Oxford. If you don't like the teaching so much why don't you change subjects? Ox engineering isn't better than Cam but it is still very good, according to three friends I have studying there, one being an ethnic minority. Which college is the poster at?

I think the poster has either been rejected by Oxford or is admissions staff at some rival department like Imperial or Durham. (no offence, but you did try to make a claim about Cambridge too, not having studied there yourself)
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bandeauballet
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I think the poster might find that there are not many ethnic minorities at Oxbridge compared to, perhaps, where HE lives. For example, as I live in a part of London where about half the residents are ethnic minorities, on a visit to Cambridge I was indeed struck by the small numbers there, and felt a little bit out of place. But when I looked more closely and thought about it I realised that as Cambridge takes in students from around the country, the number of ethnic minorities should match the national percentage (I'm not sure what this is but I think less than 10%). So I don't think that there's anything WRONG with the numbers at Cambridge. I personally might prefer to go too uni in London where the numbers are higher, but that's a personal thing. I know some people from ethnic minorities who are happy surrounded by white people, and hardly notice, and there are those who feel more comfortable when they are part of a large number of ethnic minority students.
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onlywee
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(Original post by depressed)
This post is intended to make you think hard about applying to Oxford for engineering, or any other typically "scientific" course at Oxford. (Im at Oxford studying engineering).

I was full of expectation when I got into the archaic city. The first thing that struck me (being from london) was the fact that there were hardly any ethnic minorities to be seen, and the city reeked of classism, (I have encountered racism too).

The quality of teaching here is very low with most of the lecturers unable to "teach" due to their commitments (phd projects etc). Rather than teach students how to do practical problems, we are bombarded by theory and high flying proofs. Tutorial sheets will have errors, in both the questions and the answers. You will learn all the rules in lectures, however all the problems you do will be the exceptions to them.
Practicals are little to do with understanding and more to do with getting signed off for them (computing in particular). Most of the actual teaching happens in tutorials, (the place where you are supposed to discuss problems). The whole term is a rushed confusion of work, labs and tutorial sheets. If you have a real genuine interest in innovation, design and engineering this course is not for you. It will sap the creativity from your soul and turn you into a robot, mindlessly churning out answers.
I find myself regretting the fact I came here and wish I went to a University filled with human beings, rather than egotistical lecturers and aloof professors. I do hope and believe that not everyone who goes to oxford feels this way and actually enjoys the experience.
Its one of the best places to study an arts subject and the atmosphere of the city suits it.
wooo! hold your horses!! about half the people i know at oxford are engineers, as my boyfriend is an engineer and my bro studies EEM. furthermore, i'm there studying biochemistry. i agree with you that the engineering course at oxford is different to those at other universities, however, if you don't like it you shouldn't complain. the whole point of a university environment is that you are able to expand on areas you find most interesting, and concentrate less on the areas that don't interest you. this has NOTHING to do with the tutors or lecturers. Oxford's lecturers are of the highest standard, and you should appreciate the fortunate position you've been put into. tutorials are run how you like them to be, if you are unhappy that your problems aren't being discussed then talk to your tutor and sort it out. they're there to help you. in the 4th year you have the chance to work on a project, i'm pretty sure all engineers enjoy the opportunity to do some self-motivated, individual work that they govern, so look forward to that! at any university you msut have a positive attitude to gain your potential there. you will not be spoon-fed at any univeristy (i.e. they just can't provide you with the teaching you are wanting, it's unreasonable, however you are in your right to ask for extra classes etc which your college will happily fund for you), and you will leats of all be spoon-fed at oxbridge. that is why they chose you, you should have some degree of natural ability to be able to undergo effective independent study.

next...i am an ethnic minority, i have not been discriminated against in any way at all, and oxford is THE most diverse multi-cultural community i have been in (and i have been to quite a few places!). they run exchange programs all over the world. if you still find it a problem take tagzt's example and join a few societies, surely you saw the whole variety at the fresher's fair at the beginning of your time there?

oh yeh, i'd prefer it if you wouldn't generalise ALL science subjects in the same category as your bad experience. as a biochemist i am proud to say that the biochemistry department at oxford is the leading institute in Europe and offers some mazing facilities, lecturers and support. (just a quick note there!)

lastly, i would say if you're not enjoying oxford then drop out. to be successful at a uni you have to be dedicated to your course and if you think one is suited to you better elsewhere then go for it! otherwise, stop complaining! if you are unhappy do something about it, at the end of the day, all you have to do is ask the right people and get your head down.
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