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    Thanks.
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    (Original post by Pronitron)
    Hey guys,

    So I just finished my third year of the 4 year MSci Physics with Theoretical Physics course at Imperial College and am currently on an average score of 68%. Now I really feel like it'll go down to the wire with regards to whether I get a first or not, especially as they've now (this year, for my year, thanks a bunch) removed all vivas. I was wondering if I was to get a high 2:1 (talking 68% and upwards and quite a few of my exams with firsts) but not quite get over that 70% mark whether I would then be unable to pursue a PhD in one of the other good UK universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Durham etc) or whether it will significantly affect my chances of success when applying there? They scale like hell at Imperial so that only the very top can get over 70%, it's quite frustrating as I feel I could have got a first in another university.

    Thanks.
    It depends on the field. If you go for experimental physics like Condensed Matter, Materials, some Biophysics then you'll stand a good chance of getting a funded PhD place. If you want to do something more popular or very theoretical like particle physics, string theory, some astrophysics. it'll be next to impossible without a first (and a high one at that).
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    Hmm then it seems like it was a bad idea for me to go to Imperial in the first place then? Doesn't that mean I should have gone somewhere easier where I could have got an easier first? (100% would get with the amount of work we have to do at IC!)
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    (Original post by Pronitron)
    Hmm then it seems like it was a bad idea for me to go to Imperial in the first place then? Doesn't that mean I should have gone somewhere easier where I could have got an easier first? (100% would get with the amount of work we have to do at IC!)
    The quality of your institution will probably be taken into account by anyone reading your application; if you got a first from somewhere low tier then it would not look better than a high 2:1 from Imperial. When people say you need a first to do a PhD in string theory, they arent talking about scraping a first with 71% from a midtier university, they are talking about either a first from a top university, or a very high (80%+) first from somewhere mid-tier.

    Also note that it works both ways; should someone who got 68% from Cambridge be preferred to someone who got 72% from Imperial? The gap there is probably about the same as from Imperial down to Warwick/Edinburgh/etc, look at the entry standards here for example: http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...+%26+Astronomy

    Also, it wont just be about your overall mark, people will also look at

    a) what modules did you do well in? Courses like string theory are heavily mathematical so if you got a high first in the more advanced mathematical modules, this will probably look better than getting high marks in first year mechanics
    b) what is the trajectory of your grades? Did you get a low 2:1 during your first 2 years, and then step it up for the (most important) later years? If you get a good first for the final year of your course then that looks great.
    c) what is the quality of your projects? The biggest one is your MSci project so if you have got a high grade in that and can get a good reference from the supervisor, this looks good.
    d) have you had any summer research experience?
    etc
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    (Original post by Pronitron)
    Hmm then it seems like it was a bad idea for me to go to Imperial in the first place then? Doesn't that mean I should have gone somewhere easier where I could have got an easier first? (100% would get with the amount of work we have to do at IC!)
    Maybe. I heard that people's grades increase a lot in fourth year of the Imperial course, so I wouldn't worry, I would say you were on for a first. And yes, I had the same dilemma so I feel your pain. I was struggling around the 2.2/2.1 borderline at Cambridge Physics. I then switched to UCL and my grades increased to a very high first and I got a PhD place at Imperial despite my Cambridge marks.

    For what it's worth I think the Imperial Physics course has one of the best balance of difficulty and fairness of marks. Over 40% get a first, I'm sure you can be one of those.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    The quality of your institution will probably be taken into account by anyone reading your application; if you got a first from somewhere low tier then it would not look better than a high 2:1 from Imperial. When people say you need a first to do a PhD in string theory, they arent talking about scraping a first with 71% from a midtier university, they are talking about either a first from a top university, or a very high (80%+) first from somewhere mid-tier.

    Also note that it works both ways; should someone who got 68% from Cambridge be preferred to someone who got 72% from Imperial? The gap there is probably about the same as from Imperial down to Warwick/Edinburgh/etc, look at the entry standards here for example: http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...+%26+Astronomy

    Also, it wont just be about your overall mark, people will also look at

    a) what modules did you do well in? Courses like string theory are heavily mathematical so if you got a high first in the more advanced mathematical modules, this will probably look better than getting high marks in first year mechanics
    b) what is the trajectory of your grades? Did you get a low 2:1 during your first 2 years, and then step it up for the (most important) later years? If you get a good first for the final year of your course then that looks great.
    c) what is the quality of your projects? The biggest one is your MSci project so if you have got a high grade in that and can get a good reference from the supervisor, this looks good.
    d) have you had any summer research experience?
    etc
    Hey, thanks for the reply, I was really hoping that being at IC wouldn't completely count for nothing and that the other things you mentioned were also taken into account! I guess if I pull out all the stops next year it should hopefully help me towards my goal.


    (Original post by Nichrome)
    For what it's worth I think the Imperial Physics course has one of the best balance of difficulty and fairness of marks. Over 40% get a first, I'm sure you can be one of those.
    I hope you're right!
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    (Original post by Pronitron)
    Hey guys,

    So I just finished my third year of the 4 year MSci Physics with Theoretical Physics course at Imperial College and am currently on an average score of 68%. Now I really feel like it'll go down to the wire with regards to whether I get a first or not, especially as they've now (this year, for my year, thanks a bunch) removed all vivas. I was wondering if I was to get a high 2:1 (talking 68% and upwards and quite a few of my exams with firsts) but not quite get over that 70% mark whether I would then be unable to pursue a PhD in one of the other good UK universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Durham etc) or whether it will significantly affect my chances of success when applying there? They scale like hell at Imperial so that only the very top can get over 70%, it's quite frustrating as I feel I could have got a first in another university.

    Thanks.

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    (Original post by the greatest)
    Haha he's my GR lecturer from last year
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    Hey guys, so I just thought I'd post here just in case anyone else is in a similar position and needs some inspiration! Through a year of absolute slog and hard work I managed to get that 1st! I didn't expect to achieve it so it just goes to show that you should always try no matter what!
 
 
 
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