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    Hi, so I recently considered a pretty drastic change in career paths. I'm eyeing up the Physics and Mathematics (Q77) course or the Astronomy and Planetary Sciences (Q64) degrees and was wondering if anyone on these boards has studied or is still making their way through the course at the moment.

    One of my concerns are my maths skills, while they are decent they're nothing special and I didn't study maths at A-Level thanks to my horrific high school days putting me off the subject for many years (I had to go back to night school to secure my GCSE at a good level). I've read that the MST124 module goes "back to basics" and have Googled for subject material to look at but everything I could find was behind a paywall or some description. Any insight on this would be helpful.

    Also, with regards to the Astronomy course, I'm unsure whether it would be a better option and am thinking there might be reduced career prospects post grad since actually getting a physics job in physics is pretty hard when compared to the options in finance, education etc etc.Out of the two I would probably prefer the Astronomy course since I love the subject, but would go for the purely Physics and Maths degree if it meant better job prospects in the long run.

    Cheers
    Tim
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    I can't answer your specific course questions, but I'm curious to know what kind of job you would like to do after university? I can't think of many careers that would prefer one degree over the other. After all, there isn't a huge difference in terms of the module content. One has a bit more maths - does that matter?

    If you can't find any students on here who have the MST124 PDF textbooks and are willing to send it to you, you could always try joining one of the facebook groups and asking there.
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    (Original post by Tim3822)
    Hi, so I recently considered a pretty drastic change in career paths. I'm eyeing up the Physics and Mathematics (Q77) course or the Astronomy and Planetary Sciences (Q64) degrees and was wondering if anyone on these boards has studied or is still making their way through the course at the moment.

    One of my concerns are my maths skills, while they are decent they're nothing special and I didn't study maths at A-Level thanks to my horrific high school days putting me off the subject for many years (I had to go back to night school to secure my GCSE at a good level). I've read that the MST124 module goes "back to basics" and have Googled for subject material to look at but everything I could find was behind a paywall or some description. Any insight on this would be helpful.

    Also, with regards to the Astronomy course, I'm unsure whether it would be a better option and am thinking there might be reduced career prospects post grad since actually getting a physics job in physics is pretty hard when compared to the options in finance, education etc etc.Out of the two I would probably prefer the Astronomy course since I love the subject, but would go for the purely Physics and Maths degree if it meant better job prospects in the long run.

    Cheers
    Tim
    The physics degree with open University which is entitled 'BSc (Honours) Natural Science (Physics)' - Note : Some universities name their degrees like this. You have to follow a specific pathway of modules to get accredited by Institute of Physics. Which you may or may not want to go for (I did, as its great to say on covering letters or interviews if people doubt OU degree standard). The Physics+Maths or Physics+Astronomy will not get you this.

    Do not worry with your Maths skills, if you had bothered to read about OU prior to posting this you would know that the first year of any Natural Science degree will start off at the most basic level which suits all previous experiences and can be considered a very well designed crash course in A-level science + Maths + little bit further.

    Astronomy sounds grand and fancy but there are very little jobs in this sector and if you google it you will quickly find most positions require a related PhD. Your nowhere near considering that, so my advice would be go with the Physics degree and if astronomy interests you then you can go study it at a later date via MSc or PhD. To note the physics degree still covers cosmology in year 2 and 3.

    Having a Physics degree will allow you to apply for jobs in many sectors of Engineering and the option to go for a MSc or PhD. There are so many pathways you can go from a physics degree, you can go in so many random directions such as finance.
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    The physics degree with open University which is entitled 'BSc (Honours) Natural Science (Physics)' - Note : Some universities name their degrees like this. You have to follow a specific pathway of modules to get accredited by Institute of Physics. Which you may or may not want to go for (I did, as its great to say on covering letters or interviews if people doubt OU degree standard). The Physics+Maths or Physics+Astronomy will not get you this.

    Do not worry with your Maths skills, if you had bothered to read about OU prior to posting this you would know that the first year of any Natural Science degree will start off at the most basic level which suits all previous experiences and can be considered a very well designed crash course in A-level science + Maths + little bit further.

    Astronomy sounds grand and fancy but there are very little jobs in this sector and if you google it you will quickly find most positions require a related PhD. Your nowhere near considering that, so my advice would be go with the Physics degree and if astronomy interests you then you can go study it at a later date via MSc or PhD. To note the physics degree still covers cosmology in year 2 and 3.

    Having a Physics degree will allow you to apply for jobs in many sectors of Engineering and the option to go for a MSc or PhD. There are so many pathways you can go from a physics degree, you can go in so many random directions such as finance.
    Unless you study engineering or psychology, it doesn't matter if your degree is accredited with a learned society or not - nobody will care, or even ask. I really don't think accreditation should be an issue the OP should consider when making their decision.

    You're being needlessly condescending towards the OP. They have valid concerns re maths content, please don't be so dismissive. You are completely wrong to say there are more job opportunities for a physics graduate than an astronomy one, there aren't. I bet you can't name a single job which only hires physics grads.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Unless you study engineering or psychology, it doesn't matter if your degree is accredited with a learned society or not - nobody will care, or even ask. I really don't think accreditation should be an issue the OP should consider when making their decision.

    You're being needlessly condescending towards the OP. They have valid concerns re maths content, please don't be so dismissive. You are completely wrong to say there are more job opportunities for a physic graduate than an astronomy one, there aren't. I bet you can't name a single job which only hires physics grads.
    Your giving incorrect advice. There is absolutely more job opportunities for physics than astronomy, astronomy will not get positions in engineering because the course just doesnt cover the adequate content. For example, Its possible to apply for Electrical / Electronic Engineering (which is a huge sector in engineering) positions with a Physics degree as Electromagnetism is part of the core modules for IOP accreditation. Astronomy will not get you such jobs as you would not have covered core modules, I don't even think the Astronomy degree covers high level mathematics like the physics degree. Engineering is vast and a large portion of physics graduates go into the sector.

    Also, recruiters are not going to know the in's and out of module combinations with OU and you will make it more difficult for your CV to be put forward if you have a blend of Physics/Maths/Astronomy modules, hence the IOP accreditation on a CV speaks volumes and says your knowledge base is good. Its what is says more than what it does. I've brought it up several times in interviews and telephone interviews as a talking point to make sure the interviewer knows OU degree is of good standard.

    Edit - Also my apologies if I sounded like a **** but come on.... some of your questions are answered in threads that are below this one
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    Your giving incorrect advice. There is absolutely more job opportunities for physics than astronomy, astronomy will not get positions in engineering because the course just doesnt cover the adequate content. For example, Its possible to apply for Electrical / Electronic Engineering (which is a huge sector in engineering) positions with a Physics degree as Electromagnetism is part of the core modules for IOP accreditation. Astronomy will not get you such jobs as you would not have covered core modules, I don't even think the Astronomy degree covers high level mathematics like the physics degree. Engineering is vast and a large portion of physics graduates go into the sector.

    Also, recruiters are not going to know the in's and out of module combinations with OU and you will make it more difficult for your CV to be put forward if you have a blend of Physics/Maths/Astronomy modules, hence the IOP accreditation on a CV speaks volumes and says your knowledge base is good. Its what is says more than what it does. I've brought it up several times in interviews and telephone interviews as a talking point to make sure the interviewer knows OU degree is of good standard.

    Edit - Also my apologies if I sounded like a **** but come on.... some of your questions are answered in threads that are below this one
    No I'm not giving incorrect advice, you are, but I'm not going to argue with you. The OP can make up their own mind. Any engineering firm that hires a physics graduate would also hire an astronomy graduate. A simple LinkedIn search proves that.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    No I'm not giving incorrect advice, you are, but I'm not going to argue with you. The OP can make up their own mind. Any engineering firm that hires a physics graduate would also hire an astronomy graduate. A simple LinkedIn search proves that.
    You have little (if any) argument towards that case and if you don't have experience with physics degrees or related jobs you should not comment out of respect that going for a career change is very serious and should only give realistic advice.

    The Astronomy OU degree will not cover by default Electromagnetism, which is one of the most important subjects in physics. OU have a dedicated 30 credit module for level 3 and in other brick universities it spans several modules. It also doesn't cover by default Quantum Mechanics, so it would be difficult to go into a MSc/PhD for that and then jobs that are in the Quantum information sector (which is growing). Even more... OU Astronomy doesn't allow for S207 or S217 at level 2 which covers all the basic principles of physics (which relate to spin of sectors like engineering).

    I've been looking at jobs for over 12months and applying the last two, I've been carefully planning a career change and you will not find fault with my advice. Employers when listing degrees tend to write Physics and Maths in the same bracket, Math can get abstract and doesn't always provide you with real world uses like with Physics so I tend to think Physics is the better option for employability, but I can see an argument for Maths. Also on the counter of this, jobs that list Maths degree as requirement would likely look at physics students.

    Go with Physics, it will give you more opportunities and having IOP accredited next to your degree name on a CV or covering letter will help with the stigma attached to OU study. I've always had positive feedback from mentioning this to employers.

    However, do not take my word for it.... You should absolutely look at job descriptions on job websites. If you want a load of them in all areas and big companies, PM me I have tens of them on my favourites.
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    The man wants to know about maths not an argument between 2 users. OP have you looked at the entry requirements for the degrees to see what they say regarding maths?
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    (Original post by Frizzy one)
    The man wants to know about maths not an argument between 2 users. OP have you looked at the entry requirements for the degrees to see what they say regarding maths?
    Conveying correct advice with informative comments throughout my posts. They aren't specifically targeted at Snufkin but for the original poster (and others) to have more information
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    Conveying correct advice with informative comments throughout my posts. They aren't specifically targeted at Snufkin but for the original poster (and others) to have more information
    Still an argument
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    You have little (if any) argument towards that case and if you don't have experience with physics degrees or related jobs you should not comment out of respect that going for a career change is very serious and should only give realistic advice.

    The Astronomy OU degree will not cover by default Electromagnetism, which is one of the most important subjects in physics. OU have a dedicated 30 credit module for level 3 and in other brick universities it spans several modules. It also doesn't cover by default Quantum Mechanics, so it would be difficult to go into a MSc/PhD for that and then jobs that are in the Quantum information sector (which is growing). Even more... OU Astronomy doesn't allow for S207 or S217 at level 2 which covers all the basic principles of physics (which relate to spin of sectors like engineering).

    I've been looking at jobs for over 12months and applying the last two, I've been carefully planning a career change and you will not find fault with my advice. Employers when listing degrees tend to write Physics and Maths in the same bracket, Math can get abstract and doesn't always provide you with real world uses like with Physics so I tend to think Physics is the better option for employability, but I can see an argument for Maths. Also on the counter of this, jobs that list Maths degree as requirement would likely look at physics students.

    Go with Physics, it will give you more opportunities and having IOP accredited next to your degree name on a CV or covering letter will help with the stigma attached to OU study. I've always had positive feedback from mentioning this to employers.

    However, do not take my word for it.... You should absolutely look at job descriptions on job websites. If you want a load of them in all areas and big companies, PM me I have tens of them on my favourites.



    I don't see much difference between the two degrees, I don't see any reason why an OU astronomy graduate can't do anything an OU physics graduate can. I'm not a scientist so maybe Smack and alleycat393 could help - do either of you think studying astronomy rather than physics is going to have any impact on one's graduate prospects?
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    Your giving incorrect advice. There is absolutely more job opportunities for physics than astronomy, astronomy will not get positions in engineering because the course just doesnt cover the adequate content. For example, Its possible to apply for Electrical / Electronic Engineering (which is a huge sector in engineering) positions with a Physics degree as Electromagnetism is part of the core modules for IOP accreditation. Astronomy will not get you such jobs as you would not have covered core modules, I don't even think the Astronomy degree covers high level mathematics like the physics degree. Engineering is vast and a large portion of physics graduates go into the sector.
    Just because you have studied some modules on electromagnetism does not mean that you are suitably qualified for electrical or electronics engineering positions, as engineering is a lot more than just applying fundamental physics principles. Most graduate electrical/electronics engineering jobs are probably going to specify an engineering degree as a requirement.

    But of course the OP didn't mention anything about engineering so this isn't really relevant to them.

    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I don't see much difference between the two degrees, I don't see any reason why an OU astronomy graduate can't do anything an OU physics graduate can. I'm not a scientist so maybe Smack and alleycat393 could help - do either of you think studying astronomy rather than physics is going to have any impact on one's graduate prospects?
    Not my field, and I'm not well versed in the physics specific jobs market. I don't think I want to speculate in case I am wrong, but it's worth noting that a large amount of jobs are happy for someone with any degree.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Just because you have studied some modules on electromagnetism does not mean that you are suitably qualified for electrical or electronics engineering positions, as engineering is a lot more than just applying fundamental physics principles. Most graduate electrical/electronics engineering jobs are probably going to specify an engineering degree as a requirement.
    This bugs me so I had to reply. It does mean you are suitably qualified for entry level. For instance in E+E, Your not going to get design or testing positions off a physics degree but you will be able to apply for majority of entry level graduate jobs in this sector off a physics degree, which is what most expect after graduating. Just to make one more note thats more common sense and probably silly writing but just to put emphasis on this point for the OP or anyone else reading this that requires advice, You wont get any job just off a degree but its certainly the threshold for most positions, you must demonstrate you have taken your studies further by perhaps reading/learning more skills whether technical or academic thats related to the position you are going for.

    Also theres big differences between the degrees in the screenshot, which have already been addressed.
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    This bugs me so I had to reply. It does mean you are suitably qualified for entry level. For instance in E+E, Your not going to get design or testing positions off a physics degree but you will be able to apply for majority of entry level graduate jobs in this sector off a physics degree, which is what most expect after graduating.
    This is incorrect. If you check popular engineering graduate job websites like Gradcracker and look at electrical engineering positions you will see most are looking for an engineering degree. The places I have worked at have not accepted physics as a substitute for electrical engineering. Electrical engineering encompasses an awful lot more than just applying electromagnetism, just like mechanical engineering encompasses much more than just classical mechanics.

    But this discussion isn't relevant to the OP. Physics probably does keep more doors open than astronomy, but a physics degree is hardly a gateway to engineering. (Which, again, isn't that relevant to the OP as they did not mention engineering in their original post.)
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    (Original post by Smack)
    This is incorrect. If you check popular engineering graduate job websites like Gradcracker and look at electrical engineering positions you will see most are looking for an engineering degree. The places I have worked at have not accepted physics as a substitute for electrical engineering. Electrical engineering encompasses an awful lot more than just applying electromagnetism, just like mechanical engineering encompasses much more than just classical mechanics.

    But this discussion isn't relevant to the OP. Physics probably does keep more doors open than astronomy, but a physics degree is hardly a gateway to engineering. (Which, again, isn't that relevant to the OP as they did not mention engineering in their original post.)
    Have you had direct experience of applying though? I just got a entry level graduate position in E+E off the back of my Physics degree with a medium sized company and there were many others I applied for, I had several interviews and had a couple offers. I have good theoretical knowledge from the degree and I was able to demonstrate technical skills that I learnt myself and from previous employment.

    I'd be happy to share any other information people require over PM, but this is just going back and forth with people who haven't got physics degree's and direct experience of applying for jobs in engineering with a phys degree. Yes the OP didn't mention engineering but I was advising it was a sector to consider as its huge and many grads going into it.
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    (Original post by Davidswift9)
    Have you had direct experience of applying though? I just got a entry level graduate position in E+E off the back of my Physics degree with a medium sized company and there were many others I applied for, I had several interviews and had a couple offers. I have good theoretical knowledge from the degree and I was able to demonstrate technical skills that I learnt myself and from previous employment.

    I'd be happy to share any other information people require over PM, but this is just going back and forth with people who haven't got physics degree's and direct experience of applying for jobs in engineering with a phys degree. Yes the OP didn't mention engineering but I was advising it was a sector to consider as its huge and many grads going into it.
    I'm from a mechanical background so don't have direct experience of applying for electrical engineering positions with a physics degree, although I am aware of what the entry requirements were for electrical positions.

    I agree that this individual discuss isn't going anywhere and isn't helpful to the OP, so I won't continue it.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)



    I don't see much difference between the two degrees, I don't see any reason why an OU astronomy graduate can't do anything an OU physics graduate can. I'm not a scientist so maybe Smack and alleycat393 could help - do either of you think studying astronomy rather than physics is going to have any impact on one's graduate prospects?

    I see a major difference between the two degrees. Astronomy doesn't have S217, which I think would be a major problem once you arrived at Level 3, since it's a prerequisite for SMT359 and SM358, so your options would be limited.
 
 
 
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