Does PhysPhil require more work than Physics? Watch

bluefuture
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I am still harbouring a little interest in Physics and Philosophy. However, the prospectus frequently says things such as 'highly demanding', 'heavier workload', 'most able students'.

Now when Oxford says these things they mean it, of that we can be sure.
However is that because they presume most Physicists are weaker at verbal reasoning? Are they saying it because of the essays one must write increasing the workload?

I would only consider doing it if the workload worked out the same.

Does anybody know anyone who is studying it in their second or third year?
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Abdiel
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well i would hope not. I dont know anyone who is studying it, but my offer is for phys/phil at St. Peters, and when i was applying i just assumed that all those comments on the theme of 'hard work' were simply because if u do the course you have to be good at both verbal and non-verbal reasoning - writing essays and doing maths.

As it still only counts as one masters degree, i should think that the workload is pretty much the same as any other - the hard bit comes with it involving such varied work and methods of thinking.

i hope so anyway - else i'm not gonna b too happy
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DrunkHamster
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I'm doing Maths and Phil next year, and from what I've heard, there's a slightly higher workload than a single honours course. People have estimated about 125% of the work of the straight maths degree.
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bluefuture
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looking at the number of exams it would appear the workload becomes significantly higher during the third and fourth years this echoes what i have heard from others. This is also the time where the work becomes more challenging with specialized advanced philosophy of (mathematics/physics) units.
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(-1)^(1/2)
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I can confirm that there is a noteworthy workload - also wrt MPhys.
Nonetheless, it is very interesting indeed.

Best,

Simon
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sezchwarn
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yes, i believe it is alot more work. which is why they generally only admit those who they think would cope with the single physics course easily.

if you condsider what modules are actually studied, the physphil course covers pretty much all the single physics course minus rubbish practicals. then youve got several essays to hand in each week so it works out to be at least 150% of physics straight... the huge workload is one reason i turned down an opportunity to study it.
however, i kind of regret it now. my advice would be if you absolutley love philosophy, then do physphil as i cant imagine anything better than studying philosophy at Oxford University. i expect if it is too much, you wont have any problems switching to the straight physics course. ****, i wish i did physphil now...bummer. yeh, learn from my mistake and do physphil- its more work for sure but its got to be 10X more interesting...
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Morbo
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1st year: 1 less physics module than the physicists, but 2 more philosophy modules = 25% more work on paper, but it turns out to be probably more like a 1/3 more work because of the lack of transferablility of skills between the two subjects. However, if you're reasonably good at physics, the first year isn't too difficult at all and you probably end up doing about the same amount of work as any other 1st year undergrad.

2nd year: For purposes of counting, about 0.5 physics module less than the physicists, but with 2 philosophy modules which are not examined in the 2nd year - this is generally considered about 1/3 more work than physicists and is comfortably manageable because of the lack of exam pressure on the philosophy side.

3rd year: Yeah, this is where it gets hard. You have to do a couple of pretty hard, but very philosophically applicable, physics options (covariant EM and classical dynamics). You do 1/3 less physics than the physicists, but get examined in the philosophy you've been doing for two years, which I believe is in the form of 3 papers. So you end up doing 6 exams, I believe. It's generally a pretty hard year with about 50% more workload than other undergrads. Again, being able to do the physics easily is an advantage!

4th year: Pressure's off! Any three units, plus option of exchange program stuff. Still demanding, but definitely manageable again.


So, overall? You probably end up doing slightly more work over the whole course than other undergrads (I'd guess about a third more), but you do end up with probably the most respected degree in the country. And that's no lie.
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DrunkHamster
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Does the repect come with the maths and phil degree as well :P
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Isaiah Berlin
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(Original post by Worzo)
you do end up with probably the most respected degree in the country. And that's no lie.
Yes it is - most people have never heard of PhysPhil. PPE's the most respected degree in Oxford, irrespective of its riguor.

Likewise MathsPhil.

That's not to say they're two of the most respected courses within Oxford, in academia, maybe even the graduate recruitment market (though that's really stretching it). But in the country, no way.
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