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    I'm still not quite decided on whether to apply to oxford or cambridge for maths. I know Cambridge is supposed to have a better maths course but I like the look of oxford better and the larger city, so is there really that much difference in the quality of the courses or is it a minimal thing?
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    The actual course content is more or less the same. It is just that Cambridge has that reputation. I would apply to Oxford if I were you because you like the city more and you would like to study there.
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    yeh, the course content looks pretty much the same but there could be a reaosnable difference in the actual teaching, so is it just reputation or has it got a good reason for the reputation?
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    The Cambridge Maths course is acknowledged as being the most competitive. HOWEVER, the reputation means little, really - what matters is that you succeed within either one of the systems (if you are lucky enough to become a part of the system). No-one looks at a 1st in Maths from Oxford and says it's rubbish just 'cause it's not Cambridge, don't worry! There's little real difference for undergrads, I'd imagine...and I think you get to avoid STEP if you apply to Oxford, which should make achieving any offer grades substantially less stressful.

    If you like Oxford better and can't discern significant differences in the courses and facilities, go for it!
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    It's worth bearing in mind that the courses are only roughly matched for the first three years or so - of the fourth year courses, the part III at cambridge is a lot better than part C at Oxford. This is reflected in the criteria for entry - you'll need a first or very high 2:1 to do part III but any pass will allow entry to the fourth year at Oxford. There's also the fact that, unlike Oxford, one can join part III having done undergrad elsewhere.
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    (Original post by HPSH)
    It's worth bearing in mind that the courses are only roughly matched for the first three years or so - of the fourth year courses, the part III at cambridge is a lot better than part C at Oxford. This is reflected in the criteria for entry - you'll need a first or very high 2:1 to do part III but any pass will allow entry to the fourth year at Oxford. There's also the fact that, unlike Oxford, one can join part III having done undergrad elsewhere.
    your points kind of contradict each other there......the fact that cambridge requires a high 2:1 or a 1st is quite probably due to the fact that you can take it after undergrad elsewhere, whereas oxford know all the students who want to take the part C so dont have to rely on such arbritrary things as the level of a degree, so i cant really see higher entry requirements meaning a lower quality course.

    However, looking at the new times university tables oxford comes out on top, but lower in maths. Key factors for me being an 8% drop in graduate prospects and the slighly misleading, but lower research stats. Cambridge does seem to be better for maths, but I really need to know the real extent of its superior quality.
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    Cambridge require a 1st/high 2:1 even from those who do their BA there... I've not said higher entry requirements mean a lower quality course so I'm not sure how anything I've said is contradictory. It's quite clear from looking at the courses offered that part III is unsurpassed.

    Of course, all this is only relevant if you're hoping to do further postgrad work in mathematics.
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    (Original post by JoMo1)
    However, looking at the new times university tables oxford comes out on top, but lower in maths. Key factors for me being an 8% drop in graduate prospects and the slighly misleading, but lower research stats. Cambridge does seem to be better for maths, but I really need to know the real extent of its superior quality.
    I really wouldn't use stats in the league tables as a way to choose between the degrees. As people have already said the two courses differ little - the difference in the 4th year where there is a wider range of lecture course on offer in Part III than in Oxford - though there is still a much greater variety in the 4th year at Oxford than in earlier years.

    The difference arises in the requirements made of Oxford and Cambridge maths tutors. Cambridge tutors lecture more and teach less in supervisions, so in Oxford tutorials are delivered more by tutors and less by graduates. Neither situation is necessarily better than the other as there are still plenty of lectures in Oxford in the 4th year and the graduate tutors in Cambridge are generally fine.

    BTW - the 4th year at Oxford requires a 2.2 or better, though tutors are liable to try to talk a 3rd student out of the fourth year without a 2.1 or better
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    thanks richE thats really the kind of thing I needed: if oxford gives you more tutorial time oxford it is, thanks for the help guys , very much appreciated.
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    (Original post by JoMo1)
    thanks richE thats really the kind of thing I needed: if oxford gives you more tutorial time oxford it is, thanks for the help guys , very much appreciated.
    I'm not sure that is the case just that somewhat more of the tutorial time is likely to be with dons rather than grads. Honestly though I don't know why people worry so about the distinction: an undergraduate course that was good enough for Andrew Wiles would be good enough for most I guess.
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    it was good enough for rutherford to develop the model of the atom, why not just go to manchester?

    there are only small differences all the way up through all the universities. Oxford-cambridge are just the last 2 in a series of very small differences which you made before deciding to apply for them.
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    (Original post by JoMo1)
    it was good enough for rutherford to develop the model of the atom, why not just go to manchester?
    there are only small differences all the way up through all the universities. Oxford-Cambridge are just the last 2 in a series of very small differences which you made before deciding to apply for them.
    Well one answer might be that this is rather out of date info - but if someone wanted to go to any top 5 uni for a subject they will get stretched. And if, like one student at my college, you're so on top of things that the standard Oxford course is still pretty routine then you take twice as many options and get a Genetics paper published from research in a funded summer project after one year.

    Donaldson, Joyce, Kronheimer, Thomas - just to pick geometers - all came through Oxford in the 80s/90s. It's not like a good uni can't stretch great students.

    [Personally I didn't even consider Cambridge - I really didn't know a great deal about the two unis back when I applied.]
 
 
 
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