StudiousMedic
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I'm in two minds as to which course would be most ideal for someone intent on a career in theoretical physics. Obviously, with much of theoretical physics being mathematical modelling, a strong understanding of the underlying mathematics would be essential, but whether that requires an undergraduate degree in mathematics, or whether the mathematics can be learned simply through a physics degree; I'm not sure.

From people I've spoken to, and open days I've attended, the Cambridge mathematics tripos seems to be the way in which I've been guided. That being said, there is a new course starting at Oxford in 2015 which I think may be more relevant to my future career plans.

The MMathPhys at Oxford: http://www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/M...web/index.html

I have a few questions I was wondering if someone could clear up:

1. Is the Cambridge Maths Tripos a good route into Theoretical Physics? Do you often find people going into TP from the Cambridge Maths course?

2. Is it possible to specialise solely in Theoretical Physics in the latter part of the Cambridge course?

3. Would one, in any way, experience difficulties when obtaining a PhD position in a field of theoretical physics, had they come from the Maths route at Cambridge?

4. Do you think the Cambridge tripos would be the best way to go? Or can you recommend better courses for theoretical physics?
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BanoffeeGuy
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(Original post by StudiousMedic)
I'm in two minds as to which course would be most ideal for someone intent on a career in theoretical physics. Obviously, with much of theoretical physics being mathematical modelling, a strong understanding of the underlying mathematics would be essential, but whether that requires an undergraduate degree in mathematics, or whether the mathematics can be learned simply through a physics degree; I'm not sure.

From people I've spoken to, and open days I've attended, the Cambridge mathematics tripos seems to be the way in which I've been guided. That being said, there is a new course starting at Oxford in 2015 which I think may be more relevant to my future career plans.

The MMathPhys at Oxford: http://www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/M...web/index.html

I have a few questions I was wondering if someone could clear up:

1. Is the Cambridge Maths Tripos a good route into Theoretical Physics? Do you often find people going into TP from the Cambridge Maths course?

2. Is it possible to specialise solely in Theoretical Physics in the latter part of the Cambridge course?

3. Would one, in any way, experience difficulties when obtaining a PhD position in a field of theoretical physics, had they come from the Maths route at Cambridge?

4. Do you think the Cambridge tripos would be the best way to go? Or can you recommend better courses for theoretical physics?
Hi! I'm not sure what others think, and I can't help with regards to the questions specifically regarding the Tripos, however I do know that many physicists have gone from Cambridge Maths Tripos to T.P. Also, if you look at the course structure online there are opportunities to take a lot of physics courses within the Tripos, so it sounds good! I was just recently accepted to do the MPhys course at Oxford, with a long term aim to go into Theoretical Physics, so I'm hoping to do the MMathPhys course in place of my normal 4th year (which is an accepted route that the university allows.) As to whether you could pick up ALL the maths you needed from a standard physics degree...I doubt it. I've been informed by professor peeps I was lucky to be able to speak with that people who want to go into Theoretical Physics from almost ANY form of physics degree have to do a decent amount of catching up to do once they start their Ph.D. However the Oxford MMathPhys course aims to 'bridge the gap' and give candidates a head start to studying higher TP at Ph.D level. So I can recommend it! (Slightly biased though! haha!)

Sorry if this is a bit late, I also went through the same quagmire and was informed that it's entirely possible to go to Ph.D level from a standard physics degree, but your life will be a LOT easier if you try and find a degree where the maths is highly emphasized. Eg. Warwick's MMathPhys. Durham Theoretical Physics/MMathPhys or the Oxford MPhys and transfer in 4th year to do the MMathPhys course. I haven't overly researched the tripos, but I suppose that would also be a sensible route provided you could take enough physics modules like Q.F.T./Kinetic theory etc.

Best of luck!
Andrew
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jojicr7
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Have you considered the option of switching to physical Natural Sciences Tripos in year 2 or 3?

Cambridge has a flexible system which allows you to, say:
1. Take the Mathematics with Physics option in Part 1A (which means you’ll skip on completely Pure topics such as sets and instead do the full Physics component of the Natural Sciences Tripos (with Lab))
2. Transfer to NatSci and take Mathematics, Physics A and Physics B
3. Do Parts II and III as per your choice of subject selection (I think they have a module especially for theoretical physics, I’m not sure though.)

You can even switch to NST after the 2nd year as well, but I don’t know how flexible that would be.

I’d say you go with Oxford MMathPhys but I’m kind of biased.
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RichE
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(Original post by jojicr7)
Have you considered the option of switching to physical Natural Sciences Tripos in year 2 or 3?

Cambridge has a flexible system which allows you to, say:
1. Take the Mathematics with Physics option in Part 1A (which means you’ll skip on completely Pure topics such as sets and instead do the full Physics component of the Natural Sciences Tripos (with Lab))
2. Transfer to NatSci and take Mathematics, Physics A and Physics B
3. Do Parts II and III as per your choice of subject selection (I think they have a module especially for theoretical physics, I’m not sure though.)

You can even switch to NST after the 2nd year as well, but I don’t know how flexible that would be.

I’d say you go with Oxford MMathPhys but I’m kind of biased.
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jojicr7
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Man I just realised
Wait why are you here?
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