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    Hi, student here applying for undergrad next year at my local university. My goals after four years are to pursue postgrad in Astrophysics/Theoretical Physics at Caltech or Oxbridge. For now, I need to find the undergrad course that's going to best prepare me for that route.

    My university offers a strong four-year Physics program, but I can't decide whether I should take the BS or BA route. Physics BS from what I understand is more in-depth/harder, but in turn more respected in serious students. But it also proclaims itself as being driven towards a technical career, while I'm interested in the theoretical side of Physics.

    These are the differences between the two degrees:

    For B.S., eight additional hours of physics are taken which come from a senior-level Lab-type course experimenting in optics, and a QM II course over solid state matter and particle physics.

    B.A. only asks for three hours of addn. Physics electives, while the B.S. asks for six; both offer Astrophysics in their elective selection.

    The B.S. asks for 4 hours of Electrical Engineering, also. The B.A. asks for 10+ hrs of foreign language and culture/gender studies. (Just when I'd nearly forgotten it's a lib arts course)

    The way I see it, the B.S. is a more intensive, rigorous course. Am I right in guessing that it will better prepare me for an Astrophysics degree, or will the difference be negligible? I don't want to spend extra hours on a degree if it won't be worth it.

    Thanks for reading my novel, guys!
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    I'm guessing how you describe your universities' system means it's out with the UK. If this is the case then I doubt many of us will be informed enough to help properly. Anyway I'll try; physics degrees in the UK are almost always bachelor of science degrees. Studying physics along side other sciences would be of more help than doing an arts-based subject I would imagine but it's up to you what you would enjoy more.
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    The more maths and science you can do the better.

    I'm sure the difference is small and I doubt you will have a great deal more difficultly pursuing a postgrad with a BA in physics over a BS (though I don't know the details of your particular course) but let's state the obvious - extra time in foreign language and culture/gender studies is unlikely actually to help you pursue a physics placement.

    It's up to you. Honestly I doubt it will make that much difference, but if you pick the BA it will help more in terms of personal interest than career.
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    If they are both 4 year American degrees then you can probably apply for a PhD with either (providing you get good results).

    The UK system is weird because some unis like Oxford will ask for an MPhys to do a PhD, wheras others like King's College let you go straight from a 3 year BSc to a PhD.

    In your situation it won't matter because an American bachelors in Physics is probably more in depth than the UK equivalent, so basically choose whichever one you like the most.
 
 
 
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