Uni of Manchester Physics- what's it like? Watch

BP_Tranquility
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I've become quite interested in this university but want to know what the physics/astrophysics course is like?
For students there at the moment:
-is it interesting/fun/enjoyable and what's the workload like?
-is there a lot of independent study?
-what's the timetable like?
-what's the range and variety of sports/clubs etc like?
-is the catered accommodation good? I'm considering ones at Victoria Park
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Naz95
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I'm bumping this as I have the same questions, hope someone replies
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moh'd seif
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me too also i'm interest to go to manchester university for studying civil and structural engineering
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BP_Tranquility
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Bump
I went to their interview visit day, and it honestly seemed like an amazing place to do physics

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jonzza_81
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
I've become quite interested in this university but want to know what the physics/astrophysics course is like?
For students there at the moment:
-is it interesting/fun/enjoyable and what's the workload like?
-is there a lot of independent study?
-what's the timetable like?
-what's the range and variety of sports/clubs etc like?
-is the catered accommodation good? I'm considering ones at Victoria Park
I'm at Manchester doing chemistry with an optional unit in astrophysics, I'm not the best person to answer your questions, but no-one else is so i'll try.
The lectures I have in astrophysics are great fun, the lecturer is good to listen to and often has some neat demonstration or video to help you remember something. You're taught a lot of new stuff, particularly equations, which you are expected to look over and remember, so there's a fair bit if independent study.
If your timetable's anything like mine you'll have 15-20 timetabled hours a week, probably closer to 15.
I'm pretty sure there's a quidditch club at Manchester, so yes -there's a big range of sports clubs
I'm in self catered accommodation so I can't help you with your last question.
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BP_Tranquility
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(Original post by jonzza_81)
I'm at Manchester doing chemistry with an optional unit in astrophysics, I'm not the best person to answer your questions, but no-one else is so i'll try.
The lectures I have in astrophysics are great fun, the lecturer is good to listen to and often has some neat demonstration or video to help you remember something. You're taught a lot of new stuff, particularly equations, which you are expected to look over and remember, so there's a fair bit if independent study.
If your timetable's anything like mine you'll have 15-20 timetabled hours a week, probably closer to 15.
I'm pretty sure there's a quidditch club at Manchester, so yes -there's a big range of sports clubs
I'm in self catered accommodation so I can't help you with your last question.
I'd appreciate any comments , so thanks for that, it was quite informative
From your experience, are there any people who are quite unhappy or do you know what the reputation of Manchester (physics/astrophysics) is like ?

Edit: I didn't know you could do modules from other subjects (I thought you had to stick to just specific modules within your course)

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jonzza_81
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
I'd appreciate any comments , so thanks for that, it was quite informative
From your experience, are there any people who are quite unhappy or do you know what the reputation of Manchester (physics/astrophysics) is like ?

Edit: I didn't know you could do modules from other subjects (I thought you had to stick to just specific modules within your course)
Manchester has an excellent reputation for physics, both in terms of high quality teaching, an internationally recognised research - that's why they can make the entry grades so high. No-one on my course that I know of seems unhappy, but there are one or two in my flat doing other subjects, who have fallen a bit behind and are struggling to catch up.

How optional units work in chemistry (i'll assume it's the same for physics) is that in each semester you can choose an optional unit that takes up two hours a week. You may be mixed up with lots of people from different subjects who have all chosen the optional course, or it may be compulsory for some people with a few choosing it as optional, or it may only be available for people on your course. You can choose a module quite related to your course (e.g. the introduction to astrophysics unit, most of the people there are physics students), or something completely different, like geography or a foreign language.
In later years you have fewer topics to chose from, in subjects that generally become more related to your course, but the optional units make up more of your course.
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myfriendSQRT(-1)
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
I've become quite interested in this university but want to know what the physics/astrophysics course is like?
For students there at the moment:
-is it interesting/fun/enjoyable and what's the workload like?
-is there a lot of independent study?
-what's the timetable like?
-what's the range and variety of sports/clubs etc like?
-is the catered accommodation good? I'm considering ones at Victoria Park

(Original post by Naz95)
I'm bumping this as I have the same questions, hope someone replies

(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
Bump
I went to their interview visit day, and it honestly seemed like an amazing place to do physics

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Hi guys,
I'm in my third year at the University of Manchester doing an MPhys in physics, so I'll try and answer a few of your questions and let me know if you have any others.

If you're interested in physics, then yes it's going to be interesting. Obviously, as in all degrees there are things you'll find more interesting than others, and there will be things you don't enjoy (and I can guarantee this wherever you go).

Physics is a fairly contact heavy subject and it's intense right from the word go. In first year there is around 20 contact hours a week. This will be broken down into 10 hours of lectures, 2 hours of tutorials, 2 hours of examples classes, and 6 hours of labs. You're expected to spend around 100 hours per 10 credits at university. 20 hours of that will be lectures, then the rest is supposed to be private study on tutorial problems, examples classes and general revision. This will be pretty much the same wherever you study, so don't let this put you off. I cruised a bit in first year and probably didn't do as much private study as I should have, but it really is a case of the more you put in, the more you get out.

With regards to astrophysics, I originally was on the Physics with Astrophysics course, but transferred from it after first year. I'm honestly still not sure of the exact purpose of the course. For the first 3 years, all the astrophysics modules are open to non-astrophysics students, whereas astrophysics students are not able to take all options. Astrophysics only narrows down your choice in options. The only thing it makes a difference to is astrophysics experiments priority in 2nd and 3rd year (which in my opinion aren't necessarily particularly interesting anyway).

Yeah, Manchester has an amazing range of sports clubs and societies and it's compatible with your degree. I'm in the athletics and cross country club and absolutely love it. We have most sports in our AU (athletic union) and there's great subject/hall teams for rugby/football/hockey too.

Depends what you mean by "good" catered accommodation. The food is hit and miss. Spaghetti bolognese had the consistency of tarmac, but the curry was surprisingly good. If you can't cook, it's a good way to get yourself to eat properly (apart from chips on the menu every other day), but especially if you plan on playing a sport I'd think twice, because mealtimes and training often clash. Be careful as to whether you get food at the weekend, because it may mean cooking all your weekend meals in a tiny kitchen shared with 20 other people (yes really). What I will say is I missed the daily full English. World's greatest hangover cure (if you were up in time). Victoria Park is nice, but is notorious for being quite quiet.

Sorry if I've missed anythings guys. Feel free to hit me up with any questions about Physics/Manchester or whatever!
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BP_Tranquility
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(Original post by myfriendSQRT(-1))
Hi guys,
I'm in my third year at the University of Manchester doing an MPhys in physics, so I'll try and answer a few of your questions and let me know if you have any others.

If you're interested in physics, then yes it's going to be interesting. Obviously, as in all degrees there are things you'll find more interesting than others, and there will be things you don't enjoy (and I can guarantee this wherever you go).

Physics is a fairly contact heavy subject and it's intense right from the word go. In first year there is around 20 contact hours a week. This will be broken down into 10 hours of lectures, 2 hours of tutorials, 2 hours of examples classes, and 6 hours of labs. You're expected to spend around 100 hours per 10 credits at university. 20 hours of that will be lectures, then the rest is supposed to be private study on tutorial problems, examples classes and general revision. This will be pretty much the same wherever you study, so don't let this put you off. I cruised a bit in first year and probably didn't do as much private study as I should have, but it really is a case of the more you put in, the more you get out.

With regards to astrophysics, I originally was on the Physics with Astrophysics course, but transferred from it after first year. I'm honestly still not sure of the exact purpose of the course. For the first 3 years, all the astrophysics modules are open to non-astrophysics students, whereas astrophysics students are not able to take all options. Astrophysics only narrows down your choice in options. The only thing it makes a difference to is astrophysics experiments priority in 2nd and 3rd year (which in my opinion aren't necessarily particularly interesting anyway).

Yeah, Manchester has an amazing range of sports clubs and societies and it's compatible with your degree. I'm in the athletics and cross country club and absolutely love it. We have most sports in our AU (athletic union) and there's great subject/hall teams for rugby/football/hockey too.

Depends what you mean by "good" catered accommodation. The food is hit and miss. Spaghetti bolognese had the consistency of tarmac, but the curry was surprisingly good. If you can't cook, it's a good way to get yourself to eat properly (apart from chips on the menu every other day), but especially if you plan on playing a sport I'd think twice, because mealtimes and training often clash. Be careful as to whether you get food at the weekend, because it may mean cooking all your weekend meals in a tiny kitchen shared with 20 other people (yes really). What I will say is I missed the daily full English. World's greatest hangover cure (if you were up in time). Victoria Park is nice, but is notorious for being quite quiet.

Sorry if I've missed anythings guys. Feel free to hit me up with any questions about Physics/Manchester or whatever!
Thanks, that was quite useful!
Regarding the course, does the physics with astrophysics degree give more astrophysics options (in any of the 4 years) compared to a normal physics degree? Also, I thought the practicals are different in the physics with astrophysics course in the later years?

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myfriendSQRT(-1)
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
Thanks, that was quite useful!
Regarding the course, does the physics with astrophysics degree give more astrophysics options (in any of the 4 years) compared to a normal physics degree? Also, I thought the practicals are different in the physics with astrophysics course in the later years?

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AS FAR AS I KNOW no, it doesn't. Just checked the blue book (which is the course options for physics) and it doesn't look like it either.
Yeah ok, so if you choose physics with astrophysics, then your personal tutor will be an astrophysicist/cosmologist and everyone else in your tutorial group will be on astro as well, but I've moved off astro and still have the same tutor/tutorial group.
In terms of labs, in first year all your experiments are assigned to you (or at least were when I was in first year) and we did a couple of astro options, but so did other people who weren't on astro. 2nd year is a free for all in terms of lab choices. In 3rd year there are only 2 experiments that you conduct per year, and you get to submit preferences for these experiments. I can imagine that if you chose an astro lab experiment, that perhaps you would get preference as a physics with astro student as opposed to a straight physics student, but that's actually total speculation on my part. I would imagine that the same applied to 4th year projects.
As an astro student you are obliged to take a certain number of credits in astrophysics and (I think) do your project in astrophysics.
Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with!
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BP_Tranquility
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(Original post by myfriendSQRT(-1))
AS FAR AS I KNOW no, it doesn't. Just checked the blue book (which is the course options for physics) and it doesn't look like it either.
Yeah ok, so if you choose physics with astrophysics, then your personal tutor will be an astrophysicist/cosmologist and everyone else in your tutorial group will be on astro as well, but I've moved off astro and still have the same tutor/tutorial group.
In terms of labs, in first year all your experiments are assigned to you (or at least were when I was in first year) and we did a couple of astro options, but so did other people who weren't on astro. 2nd year is a free for all in terms of lab choices. In 3rd year there are only 2 experiments that you conduct per year, and you get to submit preferences for these experiments. I can imagine that if you chose an astro lab experiment, that perhaps you would get preference as a physics with astro student as opposed to a straight physics student, but that's actually total speculation on my part. I would imagine that the same applied to 4th year projects.
As an astro student you are obliged to take a certain number of credits in astrophysics and (I think) do your project in astrophysics.
Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with!
Cheers
Few more questions :
What's the tutorial system like? Is it useful, how big are the tutorial classes and are they lead by academics/professors/lecturers ? Also, do you get handouts or problem sheets?

And finally, why did you choose Manchester over other unis?

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myfriendSQRT(-1)
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
Cheers
Few more questions :
What's the tutorial system like? Is it useful, how big are the tutorial classes and are they lead by academics/professors/lecturers ? Also, do you get handouts or problem sheets?

And finally, why did you choose Manchester over other unis?

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Haha no worries.

Ok, so in first year you have two tutorials a week. One in physics and one in maths. Your physics tutorial is taken by the academic who will be your academic tutor for your time as an undergraduate. Your maths tutorial is just to get your maths up to speed for first year (there are no maths tutorials after first year) and it's taken by a PhD student. They're both up to an hour each, and you get a week to do the problem sheets and hand them 1/2 days in before your tutorial for marking. Your mark on the tutorial sheet doesn't count towards anything, and they're usually pretty challenging, but the tutorial is spent going through questions that were problematic.
So I know people who didn't get on with their personal tutors for whatever reason. I get on with mine well, but there is an option to apply to change personal tutors. In my opinion there are academics that are not cut out for tutoring, in the same way there are academics who aren't cut out for lecturing.
I thought the tutorial system was most useful in first year, and I'm generally a fan of it.

Wow, difficult question. I think in the end it was really academic reputation. My choice was between UCL and Manchester, and Manchester was cheaper and had better access to running facilities.
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MatOnMotors
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I'd love to do Physics at Manchester! I don't know if I'll be able to push my grades high enough, but I'll give it my best. Only started AS Levels so I don't know exactly where I stand in terms of my grades but if I'm doing well enough, Manchester will be right at the top of my list.

Random question: what are the chances of having Prof. Brian Cox for a lecture? I'd imagine that it is not too likely, but would be amazing to have a lecture from him.
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HandmadeTurnip
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(Original post by MatOnMotors)
I'd love to do Physics at Manchester! I don't know if I'll be able to push my grades high enough, but I'll give it my best. Only started AS Levels so I don't know exactly where I stand in terms of my grades but if I'm doing well enough, Manchester will be right at the top of my list.

Random question: what are the chances of having Prof. Brian Cox for a lecture? I'd imagine that it is not too likely, but would be amazing to have a lecture from him.
He's a lecturer for one of the first year units, I think.
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BP_Tranquility
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(Original post by myfriendSQRT(-1))
Haha no worries.

Ok, so in first year you have two tutorials a week. One in physics and one in maths. Your physics tutorial is taken by the academic who will be your academic tutor for your time as an undergraduate. Your maths tutorial is just to get your maths up to speed for first year (there are no maths tutorials after first year) and it's taken by a PhD student. They're both up to an hour each, and you get a week to do the problem sheets and hand them 1/2 days in before your tutorial for marking. Your mark on the tutorial sheet doesn't count towards anything, and they're usually pretty challenging, but the tutorial is spent going through questions that were problematic.
So I know people who didn't get on with their personal tutors for whatever reason. I get on with mine well, but there is an option to apply to change personal tutors. In my opinion there are academics that are not cut out for tutoring, in the same way there are academics who aren't cut out for lecturing.
I thought the tutorial system was most useful in first year, and I'm generally a fan of it.

Wow, difficult question. I think in the end it was really academic reputation. My choice was between UCL and Manchester, and Manchester was cheaper and had better access to running facilities.
Nice, thanks . do you know how big they tend to be- it says on their website that they typically have 5 but not sure if that's accurate..? Also, do you have classes which are around 20-30 students or do you just have small tutorials, lectures and practicals?

I've heard that most people get a bus pass - is that true? How much does it cost and how often do the buses come? I was considering Victoria park as it was within walking distance while Fallowfield is much further out..

Wish I had asked these questions when I went to the visit day but they never came to mind until now
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HandmadeTurnip
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
Nice, thanks . do you know how big they tend to be- it says on their website that they typically have 5 but not sure if that's accurate..? Also, do you have classes which are around 20-30 students or do you just have small tutorials, lectures and practicals?

I've heard that most people get a bus pass - is that true? How much does it cost and how often do the buses come? I was considering Victoria park as it was within walking distance while Fallowfield is much further out..

Wish I had asked these questions when I went to the visit day but they never came to mind until now
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The bus pass is currently £205, you can find more info on it here. Buses are extremely frequent, the route that Fallowfield and the Universities are next to is often cited as the busiest in Europe.
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myfriendSQRT(-1)
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
Nice, thanks . do you know how big they tend to be- it says on their website that they typically have 5 but not sure if that's accurate..? Also, do you have classes which are around 20-30 students or do you just have small tutorials, lectures and practicals?

I've heard that most people get a bus pass - is that true? How much does it cost and how often do the buses come? I was considering Victoria park as it was within walking distance while Fallowfield is much further out..

Wish I had asked these questions when I went to the visit day but they never came to mind until now
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Yeah, the majority of tutorial groups have 5 people in them so that's accurate. Yeah so examples classes are around 30 people and there'll be 2 or 3 people walking around helping out, but I always tended to work in groups through the problems.

It depends, most people in Fallowfield do, but in Victoria park a lot of people don't. It really depends whether you think you'll be travelling enough to warrant it. A journey into town is around £1 from campus, and a bus pass is just over £200, so do the maths.

Honestly, you always come across other questions you didn't think of before.
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BP_Tranquility
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(Original post by myfriendSQRT(-1))
Yeah, the majority of tutorial groups have 5 people in them so that's accurate. Yeah so examples classes are around 30 people and there'll be 2 or 3 people walking around helping out, but I always tended to work in groups through the problems.

It depends, most people in Fallowfield do, but in Victoria park a lot of people don't. It really depends whether you think you'll be travelling enough to warrant it. A journey into town is around £1 from campus, and a bus pass is just over £200, so do the maths.

Honestly, you always come across other questions you didn't think of before.
Ah, okay thanks .
One more question: how big do the practical classes tend to be and what do you do in these 'example classes' ?

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myfriendSQRT(-1)
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(Original post by BP_Tranquility)
Ah, okay thanks .
One more question: how big do the practical classes tend to be and what do you do in these 'example classes' ?

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If by practical classes you mean labs, then the year is split into two, so around 130 spread across several floors. You are assigned a lab partner, and there will be a demonstrator in charge of around 3 or 4 pairs in the lab.
Examples classes are just working through an exercise sheet you get given on the day that tends to be reasonably challenging and often goes beyond the remit of the course.
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BP_Tranquility
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(Original post by myfriendSQRT(-1))
If by practical classes you mean labs, then the year is split into two, so around 130 spread across several floors. You are assigned a lab partner, and there will be a demonstrator in charge of around 3 or 4 pairs in the lab.
Examples classes are just working through an exercise sheet you get given on the day that tends to be reasonably challenging and often goes beyond the remit of the course.
Thanks for all the info , would give you a thumbs up but can't because of PRSOM
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