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    (Original post by Lydiamonds)
    QAA is a goo dthing to go on, its similar to OFSTEAD.
    No it's not - the QAA assessments never actually measured teaching quality - they measured how well a department met it's stated aims. So a department that aimed at mediocre and achieved mediocre would score better than a department that aimed for excellent and achieved good.

    They are also 6 years out of date.

    As for research its hard to use that as a criteria. As a student u will not be a major part of that unless ur on placement, but thats not the main bulk of students.
    There is this little thing you will do called your dissertation - if you're looking to continue within academia your subject and quality of your dissertation will be the most important thing future universities/employers will look at.

    If you're in a department which conducts a LOT of international standard research (5* in the RAE) then the likelihood that you will be able to do your dissertation/research project on a cutting edge topic is highly increased...and you're more likely to have the contacts established for securing a position elsewhere.

    If you do a 4 yr UG Masters (Msci or Mphys) then you're likely to do either 2 research projects or an extended one...again the quality of the research in the department will have a direct correlation with how relevent and interesting you research project will be and how good a start it will give you in the academic world.

    Also, its hard to judge the validility of research rankings, as this can depend on how many projects and who thinks what is important.
    The RAE is comprehensive and carried out on a periodic basis (unlike the QAA subject assessments which have been stopped)...in fact if you knew ANYTHING about what the RAE entailed you wouldn't have made such a frankly incorrect statement. Research quality in the RAE is assessed by a panel of top researchers in each subject in the country - each subject panel reviews the quality of 4+ papers published by each staff member and rates them as international quality, national quality or sub national quality. The proportion of research papers/staff assessed to be in each catagory results in the overall departmental grading.

    It's about as robust a measure of quality that it's possible to do - unfortunately the downside of this is that it's very timeconsuming for universities and assessment panels and costs a hell of a lot of cash - each RAE takes another year longer to organise so they get further and further apart (92, 96, 01 and 08).

    Employment prospects again is a bit strange, and if u look at the leagues for physics camb has N/A! You cannot see how many are taking gap years etc.
    Cambridge has N/A because they don't have single honours physics students - in the past their A level scores in the sciences were also N/A but HESA have finally worked out a way of distributing scores across combined courses...it will take a while before this new method feed through to the Destinations of Leavers of HE survey though.

    You can't see how many take gap year but it does exclude people stacking shelves in a supermarket or flipping burgers in McDonalds. The rationale behind the employment %ages used is based on a comprehensive peice of research conducted by Warwick which showed and extremely strong corelation between a graduates employment 6 months after graduation and their employment situation 5 yrs later...even factoring in gap years.

    And out of interest why are you going to university? You don't seem to know/understand/show interest in academia so it wouldn't appear to be a passion for the subject - and now you're showing disdain for any employment benefits your degree might give you...

    As for A-level rankings, I think it is a greater achievement to bring out a treble B student to the same level as treble A student. But as it is the standard offer is AAB for both oxford and Durham.
    Then you should like the Guardian tables and look closely at their Value Added Measure as that is effectively what it shows.

    Standard offers and intake are not based on the quality of the course - they're based on the *percieved* quality of the course by 17 yr olds and the uni/course popularity with 17 yr olds. The reliance of applicants on league tables just results in a self perpetuating myth which keeps certain uni's high in the league tables regardless of many many problems with their course quality/student experience.

    I believe teaching is by far the most important thing, as thats what the point of uni is to a student!!!!
    Well yes of course - so you're agreeing with the Guardian again

    However the QAA assessments were flawed (the main reason they've been scrapped) so with 6 yr old assessments getting more and more out of date how would you suggest the league tables produce a rank showing teaching quality?

    At the end of the day I think we need greater evidence to suggest that the 4 year lead taken by Durham is wrong.
    I never stated that it was wrong - merely questioned that topping a single league table with some major flaws automatically meant that a department was the best in the country when in fact it shows only that it tops those criteria.

    Out of interest how would you feel if you were made you university offers on the basis of your performance 4+ years ago in SATs? By using 6 yr old QAA reports to judge universities today you're doing something equivalent.

    And as for my views on the Guardian I am merely going on the hundreds of articles criticising the tables.
    Care to provide a link to one - I've critisised them myself plenty of times in the past, but it seems odd that much of what you've said here implies that the Guardian tables would better reflect your priorities/opinions than the Times.

    Perhaps Oxbridge is given an easiar ride to get to the top as its just considerd to be the best, without necesaarily maintaining it.
    If only that were true - the Guardian has been trying for years to devise a way of measuring uni stats that knocks oxbridge off the top but the painful truth is that both unis are far and away the best in the country

    On the other hand there is plenty of evidence that would support your theory with regard to both Durham and Bristol....
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    (Original post by Lydiamonds)
    Also you cannot just take scientists from the 'golden age' of physics as proof. thats like 80 years ago. This is a time where science is a group effort!
    So which great scientists are at Durham these days?
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    (Original post by AntiMagicMan)
    Ssshhh . Ok, so I'm biased.
    Well, we all are.

    (Original post by Jonatan)
    Hawking went to oxford before he went to Cambridge as far as I can remember. Really, undergraduate teaching quality is not the same as the number if scientists getting famous from that uni. Take Imperial as an example.
    He did do undergrad at Oxford, but the reason he moved to Cam was because there was no one at Oxford who had the right experience to supervise him for his PhD, or something like that.

    Most of the most brilliant thinkers in history were self-taught in any case, so it's quite possible that Oxford provides better teaching for physics than Cambridge. But Cambridge seems to have brought out a lot of brilliance from the nutty scientist types.

    (Original post by Lydiamonds)
    Also you cannot just take scientists from the 'golden age' of physics as proof. thats like 80 years ago. This is a time where science is a group effort!
    I'm not saying it's proof of Cambridge's teaching standards or its position now. I don't know enough about the department to comment. But I do know that Cambridge still has a generally highly thought-of Physics department, and its historical contributions to Maths+Physics have had far more impact than a couple of league tables.
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    If your interests is in one of Durham's main research areas then Durham is the definitely a good option.

    If you are open minded and want to experience a diverse range of areas, I wouldn't say Durham is the tip-top choice.
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    (Original post by shiny)
    If your interests is in one of Durham's main research areas then Durham is the definitely a good option.

    If you are open minded and want to experience a diverse range of areas, I wouldn't say Durham is the tip-top choice.
    are you taking about life or just physics?
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    (Original post by shiny)
    If you are open minded and want to experience a diverse range of areas, I wouldn't say Durham is the tip-top choice.
    :eek: Don't diss Durham!
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    (Original post by SiAnY)
    :eek: Don't diss Durham!
    I'm not dissing Durham! :mad:

    I am saying that unless you are definitely sure you want to do Astrophysics or Particle Physics or something within Durham's range of expertise, you might want to try out a different course.

    Other unis offer options such as biophysics, medical physics, materials, thermofluids stuff, nanotechnology, information theory, comms, geophysics, environmental stuff, electronics etc, which as far as I am aware are not options available within Durham's Physics course.

    It's all interesting stuff.
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    (Original post by shiny)
    I'm not dissing Durham! :mad:

    I am saying that unless you are definitely sure you want to do Astrophysics or Particle Physics or something within Durham's range of expertise, you might want to try out a different course.

    Other unis offer options such as biophysics, medical physics, materials, thermofluids stuff, nanotechnology, information theory, comms, geophysics, environmental stuff, electronics etc, which as far as I am aware are not options available within Durham's Physics course.

    It's all interesting stuff.
    I know Bath is trying to specialise on nanostructure physics, and Warwick do a lot of research on high energy plasma physics.
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    Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Bath, Warwick, Durham, Bristol, York, Manchester are good universities for Physics, along with others.
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    [QUOTE]
    No it's not - the QAA assessments never actually measured teaching quality - they measured how well a department met it's stated aims. So a department that aimed at mediocre and achieved mediocre would score better than a department that aimed for excellent and achieved good.

    They are also 6 years out of date.
    1- A universities aims will include teaching, and if u actually knew sumthing about OFSTEAD u would also know that it works on how well its met its aims

    2- Ofstead is every 7 years, so yes I do look at things that are 6 years out of date!


    The RAE is comprehensive and carried out on a periodic basis (unlike the QAA subject assessments which have been stopped)...in fact if you knew ANYTHING about what the RAE entailed you wouldn't have made such a frankly incorrect statement. Research quality in the RAE is assessed by a panel of top researchers in each subject in the country - each subject panel reviews the quality of 4+ papers published by each staff member and rates them as international quality, national quality or sub national quality. The proportion of research papers/staff assessed to be in each catagory results in the overall departmental grading.
    Ok, so its sun by top researchers, as in based at unis no doubt... how can we assume there is no bias? Does this board contain a reseracher from EVERY field? Can a nanotechnologist judge a chemical engineer? Ok so theres likely to be one or two realted to the subject, but it could be rival work or just snobbery! And wat I was saying is that it is sumtimes difficukt to judge the relevance of a paper as this work may not be useful 4 several years.

    There is this little thing you will do called your dissertation - if you're looking to continue within academia your subject and quality of your dissertation will be the most important thing future universities/employers will look at.

    If you're in a department which conducts a LOT of international standard research (5* in the RAE) then the likelihood that you will be able to do your dissertation/research project on a cutting edge topic is highly increased...and you're more likely to have the contacts established for securing a position elsewhere.

    If you do a 4 yr UG Masters (Msci or Mphys) then you're likely to do either 2 research projects or an extended one...again the quality of the research in the department will have a direct correlation with how relevent and interesting you research project will be and how good a start it will give you in the academic world.

    I knew about dissertations, but ur not gunna do a very gd one if havent been taught well are u? And its a WELL known fact that a top researcher in his field wont necessarily be able to teach! THis is a complaint of several students.

    And whos to say that ur dissertation will have anything to do with the top cutting edge stuff, it'll probably be related to ur mentors field but to get a place doing the actual stuff is a place for a few students.


    As for employment, the difference between 94 and 95% isnt going to be much. and its not an indication of the standard of jobs either.


    And out of interest why are you going to university? You don't seem to know/understand/show interest in academia so it wouldn't appear to be a passion for the subject - and now you're showing disdain for any employment benefits your degree might give you...
    What are u even going on a about? u dont know anything about me or my intersts, is u did , as u like to put it, you wouldn't have made such a frankly incorrect statement. I work in a university research department, and have dun so for 2 years, my argumemts are based on discussions with staff.



    Standard offers and intake are not based on the quality of the course - they're based on the *percieved* quality of the course by 17 yr olds and the uni/course popularity with 17 yr olds. The reliance of applicants on league tables just results in a self perpetuating myth which keeps certain uni's high in the league tables regardless of many many problems with their course quality/student experience
    This was actually what I was getting at, as I said its what u come out like not wat u go in as!

    Well yes of course - so you're agreeing with the Guardian again
    I said it was important, not 3 TIMES as important as everything else. And what does the Guardian use to judge this?

    If only that were true - the Guardian has been trying for years to devise a way of measuring uni stats that knocks oxbridge off the top but the painful truth is that both unis are far and away the best in the country
    Well perhaps overall, but not for each individual subject. And ive often heard it discussed that 'lower' unis find it a lot harder to justify given out 1sts as they are then told its too easy (similar to the exam debate in schools), but if less students are coming out with 1sts it affects their reputation. And before u jump down my throat again, even Oxbridge agrees this is a problem.
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    Oh i accidently submit part of the post first sorry!

    As for famous people, there are many at Durham, but again its in their field. Im a fan of particle physics, so there are a few of them at Durham.

    actually a lot of the real famous ones are american nowadays!

    And as for Hawking, he went to camb because he knew the mentor!
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    The RAE is important, not necessarily for what it says about anything, but because it is seen as important. A world class researcher is unlikely to apply for a post outside of 5/5* in a UK university. It also carries with it a large chunk of funding.

    Recently Durham carried out a program of Academic Restructuring, called the Strategic Improvement Project. It had the basic effect of closing departments who scored low in the RAE and directing funds towards pushing 5 rated departments into 5* etc.

    Different Universities have different priorities. Imperial, where I think Lydia said she had worked, may have large commercial links with certain projects. Regardless of what the RAE says about them, they are safe. Durham on the other hand takes the RAE to heart, and acts accordingly.

    Other unis, such as wherever PQ works may concentrate on the RAE, may concentrate on QAA teaching assesments, may concentrate on these new Value-Added figures etc.
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    Imperial is clearly the best for physics, especially when you take its 'year in Europe' programme into account.
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    (Original post by Pencil Queen)
    No it's not - the QAA assessments never actually measured teaching quality - they measured how well a department met it's stated aims. So a department that aimed at mediocre and achieved mediocre would score better than a department that aimed for excellent and achieved good.
    For further complaints about QAA, read Faster than the Speed of Light by Joao Magueijo(from one of Britain's top unis for physics - Imperial, via another one - Cambridge.)
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    if i was going to study physics, with the benefit of considerable hindsight, i would go to cambridge or oxford or imperial with grades like AAA.

    however, other good physics departments can be found at:

    edinburgh, glasgow, st. andrews, strathclyde, durham, manchester, liverpool, nottingham, leicester, birmingham, bristol, exeter, UEA, UCL, king's, warwick, cardiff, leeds, southampton and york.

    they all specialise in different things, but you'll get a good degree in physics at any of the above, that's if you study.
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    Can't say I agree with some of your list. I certainly wouldn't include:
    strathclyde, exeter, UEA!!!!
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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    Can't say I agree with some of your list. I certainly wouldn't include:
    strathclyde, exeter, UEA!!!!
    UEA no longer teaches physics, but the other two have very large and active physics departments. Exeter's department contains two FRS's, teaching rating of excellent and an overall 5 rating at the last RAE. Strathclyde's teaching rating is excellent and it's Computational Non-linear and Quantum Optics Group obtained a 5* rating in the last RAE and an overall 4 for the department. Okay not the best physics departments in the UK but not bad.

    Who else do you think shouldn't be there?
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    i stand corrected chemistboy. uae sadly no longer has a physics department. i stand by exeter and strathclyde, they both have a good and long reputation at teaching the subject.
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    why hasn't anyone metioning royal holloway university of london, the guardian paper rated its physics department is only second to oxford's physics department and get nobody has metioned its i find that very suprising!. "It has a long history and can be found on a 120-acre campus near Egham in leafy Surrey, a place of such exquisite blandness that the locals barely know where to start in discussing it.

    Science research ratings also indicated international excellence in a significant proportion of work submitted.

    So my advise is if you live in the southeast and want study physics you should seroius think about doing it at royal holloway. Come lets be serious wouldn't rather like to get a university of london degree at the end or a birmingham, bath or durham?
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    why hasn't anyone metioning royal holloway university of london, the guardian paper rated its physics department is only second to oxford's physics department and yet nobody has metioned its i find that very suprising!. "It has a long history and can be found on a 120-acre campus near Egham in leafy Surrey, a place of such exquisite blandness that the locals barely know where to start in discussing it.

    Science research ratings also indicated international excellence in a significant proportion of work submitted.

    So my advise is if you live in the southeast and want study physics you should seroius think about doing it at royal holloway. Come lets be serious wouldn't rather like to get a university of london degree at the end or a birmingham, bath or durham?
 
 
 
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