nur123
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Does anyone study Physics at the OU? How is it?

I can't find much information about the subjects, exams...

Which books do you use? How are the exams? How is it to study online? Do you study the same contents at the OU and at other universities? Which subjects do you have to study?
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-G-a-v-
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I don't do physics with the OU (I have a physics degree from a brick uni), but you can get copies of exam papers from the OUSA web shop. The main physics course is S207 The Physical World. I had a look at a paper out of interest more than anything, it looks like they cover much the same work as I did in first/second year.

You'll also need some maths courses in addition to the physics. MST121 and MS221 are good. MST209 is the big one that will be of most use.

I've not looked at many of the level 3 physics courses, but quantum mechanics and electromagnetism are the two main cornerstones of physics, so you'll need both of those, I don't know exactly how similar the OU physics degree would be compared to one at a brick uni - the thing to remember is that there's no prerequistes to get going with the OU, so they start at a slightly lower level than first year undergrad (a level 1 maths course that I took, MST121, covered content largely on A-level Mathematics, for example) work, so S207 looks to be a mixture of work I covered in first and second year.
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daviesblue
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I have just finished my 2nd year with the OU, and im about to transfer to Lancaster as a full time physics student this October. As excited as i am to begin at Lancaster, im really going to miss the OU and the way its handled. The S207 course is fantastic, it really covers alot of bases, and from what 3rd year Lancaster students tell me, it covers things they do in that year so it really does get through alot. Its less intense than a full time university, but dont be fooled into thinking its easier.

The only downside, is it is one exam for the whole S207 course, whereas most universities will split each module into particular exams. So this puts alot of emphasis on really making sure you study everything fully, because by the time exam time comes round, the amount you need to revise for one exam is immense.

A few friends have studied some of the level 3 physics courses, and told me they are just as good as S207, maybe easier. Due to the fact they are split into smaller packages, and you dont have to retain as much for each exam.

A good maths background is needed, MST121 and MS221 was enough for me, as i am doing extra studies into vector calculus. However, most OU students will also do MST209 as the 3rd maths course, this is really helpful for the Quantum Physics level 3 course apparently.

If you are just starting out however, they plan on doing a new course in 2013 called MST224 which is better for physics students than MST209.
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nur123
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Thank you!

I have some doubts about the modules. I'm not from the UK, so I don't know how universities work there... Do all universities divide the contents in modules? Are the modules the same for all universities? That's strange to me... For example the modules "Using mathematics" or "The physical world" sound very vague... I mean, don't you have at brick universities subjects like "algebra", "calculus", "optics"? Do all universities work like this one?

How do you know which contents has each module? I have seen a general description, but I can't find what exactly I do have to study.

Once you finish studying a degree, can you access to graduate courses at other universities?

What do you think about the prices, teaching materials, evaluation methods, etc.? Do they use published books or do they have their own materials?
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Nitebot
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(Original post by nur123)
Does anyone study Physics at the OU? How is it?

I can't find much information about the subjects, exams...

Which books do you use? How are the exams? How is it to study online? Do you study the same contents at the OU and at other universities? Which subjects do you have to study?
The others have given good info about the later physics specific modules. Year 1 will be interdisciplinary though. So you'll do S104 Exploring Science. There's plenty of Earth sciences - an OU favourite - but physics, chemistry, biology and space stuff are also covered, S141 Investigative and maths skills and as mentioned MST121, the maths course. Also by doing specific physics modules, you're eligible for Institute of Physics membership.

The OU uses friendly sounding module names but the content is pretty much the same as other universities. The module content is approved by external academics and in many cases professional institutes. I don't know why they're hiding the detailed module descriptions from new students but I presume they'll fix this later. Modules are no longer subsidisied so they're much pricier. There's been long discussions about whether they represent value for money but at the end of the day if the degree gives you the same opportunities as degrees from campus based universities, then £15k is acceptable. And yes, OU science graduates do go on to do postgrad qualifications at campus based universities.
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