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Deciding what to do at uni? Physics, Chemistry or Engineering watch

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    I'm taking Maths, Physics,Chemistry & History at A-level. History is my red herring bu I love the subject, find it gives me breadth as an individual & I gain analytical skills.
    To set the scene I got all A* at GCSE except an A in English Language; although i know GCSEs are nothing compared to A-level & aren't indicators of my attainment now.
    But I guess to give you an idea, I needed predicted grades for a physical sciences taster day at Oxford, and got A*A*A*A (maths teacher said too premature to predict any A*s since the content gets progressively harder throughout the year) Of course I know these should only be taken with a pinch of salt!
    Anyway, for the last few months I've imagined myself doing Physics at uni. But I went to a physics masterclass at Cambridge last weekend where we were given taster lectures etc and I realised just HOW MUCH was maths;I've always known physics is mathematical & I have no trouble atoll in mechanics(I've gotten 80-100% in all physics/maths tests this year - while the average in my class would be around 50-70%)
    It seems like the course must be at least 70% maths,of a very theoretical nature; which I doubt i would be happy studying for 4yrs.
    I know if i worked hard and practiced a lot it could be alright, but I just don't know if i like just how theoretical it is.
    Now i'm very conflicted; I still LOVE A-level physics (both less mathematical topics & mechanics) because I love problem solving etc, but I don't know if it would translate into a physics degree, since the concepts are more theoretical than applied. Do you think I should rule physics out as an option because of the nature of maths in the course?
    Now my options are either chemistry or engineering (or I guess History, but I think I'm more interested in science)
    I like Chemistry & do well in it, but my interests lie on the more physical end of the spectrum (i.e. much prefer physical chemistry over organic) which led me to think maybe material science could be nice.
    I also like the idea of how the maths in engineering would be much more applied than in pure physics, leading me to believe I could enjoy 4yrs of that over 4yrs of Physics...
    Does anyone know much about the maths involved in an engineering degree - especially materials science?
    If you were in my shoes, what would you recommend.
    Feeling a bit confused right now so any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks
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    (Original post by koala789)
    I'm taking Maths, Physics,Chemistry & History at A-level. History is my red herring bu I love the subject, find it gives me breadth as an individual & I gain analytical skills.
    To set the scene I got all A* at GCSE except an A in English Language; although i know GCSEs are nothing compared to A-level & aren't indicators of my attainment now.
    But I guess to give you an idea, I needed predicted grades for a physical sciences taster day at Oxford, and got A*A*A*A (maths teacher said too premature to predict any A*s since the content gets progressively harder throughout the year) Of course I know these should only be taken with a pinch of salt!
    Anyway, for the last few months I've imagined myself doing Physics at uni. But I went to a physics masterclass at Cambridge last weekend where we were given taster lectures etc and I realised just HOW MUCH was maths;I've always known physics is mathematical & I have no trouble atoll in mechanics(I've gotten 80-100% in all physics/maths tests this year - while the average in my class would be around 50-70%)
    It seems like the course must be at least 70% maths,of a very theoretical nature; which I doubt i would be happy studying for 4yrs.
    I know if i worked hard and practiced a lot it could be alright, but I just don't know if i like just how theoretical it is.
    Now i'm very conflicted; I still LOVE A-level physics (both less mathematical topics & mechanics) because I love problem solving etc, but I don't know if it would translate into a physics degree, since the concepts are more theoretical than applied. Do you think I should rule physics out as an option because of the nature of maths in the course?
    Now my options are either chemistry or engineering (or I guess History, but I think I'm more interested in science)
    I like Chemistry & do well in it, but my interests lie on the more physical end of the spectrum (i.e. much prefer physical chemistry over organic) which led me to think maybe material science could be nice.
    I also like the idea of how the maths in engineering would be much more applied than in pure physics, leading me to believe I could enjoy 4yrs of that over 4yrs of Physics...
    Does anyone know much about the maths involved in an engineering degree - especially materials science?
    If you were in my shoes, what would you recommend.
    Feeling a bit confused right now so any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks
    Heya! I was in a similar situation to you when I first choose subjects--I loved engineering and physics, and just couldn't decide what I wanted to do.

    May I ask, before I advise anything, what is it that you imagine yourself doing in the future?

    Example questions to think of....Would you rather do something in academia, being in a department and exchanging ideas through seminars and working on a research topic wholeheartedly? Do you like coding? Can you picture yourself working in a defense company, as an engineer?
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    (Original post by koala789)
    I'm taking Maths, Physics,Chemistry & History at A-level. History is my red herring bu I love the subject, find it gives me breadth as an individual & I gain analytical skills.
    To set the scene I got all A* at GCSE except an A in English Language; although i know GCSEs are nothing compared to A-level & aren't indicators of my attainment now.
    But I guess to give you an idea, I needed predicted grades for a physical sciences taster day at Oxford, and got A*A*A*A (maths teacher said too premature to predict any A*s since the content gets progressively harder throughout the year) Of course I know these should only be taken with a pinch of salt!
    Anyway, for the last few months I've imagined myself doing Physics at uni. But I went to a physics masterclass at Cambridge last weekend where we were given taster lectures etc and I realised just HOW MUCH was maths;I've always known physics is mathematical & I have no trouble atoll in mechanics(I've gotten 80-100% in all physics/maths tests this year - while the average in my class would be around 50-70%)
    It seems like the course must be at least 70% maths,of a very theoretical nature; which I doubt i would be happy studying for 4yrs.
    I know if i worked hard and practiced a lot it could be alright, but I just don't know if i like just how theoretical it is.
    Now i'm very conflicted; I still LOVE A-level physics (both less mathematical topics & mechanics) because I love problem solving etc, but I don't know if it would translate into a physics degree, since the concepts are more theoretical than applied. Do you think I should rule physics out as an option because of the nature of maths in the course?
    Now my options are either chemistry or engineering (or I guess History, but I think I'm more interested in science)
    I like Chemistry & do well in it, but my interests lie on the more physical end of the spectrum (i.e. much prefer physical chemistry over organic) which led me to think maybe material science could be nice.
    I also like the idea of how the maths in engineering would be much more applied than in pure physics, leading me to believe I could enjoy 4yrs of that over 4yrs of Physics...
    Does anyone know much about the maths involved in an engineering degree - especially materials science?
    If you were in my shoes, what would you recommend.
    Feeling a bit confused right now so any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks
    Hi

    Can't believe there are not more responses - this is a position loads of people must have been in. I certainly was (a long time ago).
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    Hello!

    My name’s Lydia and I’m a final year physics student at the University of Bath. Your situation reminds me a lot like my own, where I got all A*s at GCSE and went on to get all A*s at A Level, and wasn’t sure what to do as I loved more arty subjects as well as enjoying maths/physics and chemistry.

    Your concern about physics is completely understandable and it is good that you realise how much maths is in physics now, rather than it be a surprise to you later on if that’s not what you wanted. They do slowly but steadily increase the level and amount of maths as you go through your degree so it’s not like you would be out of your depth, however it is true that physics is all about understanding physical phenomenon through mathematical models.

    That’s not to say that’s bad, you are still learning all the big and crazy questions of the universe- but just through a different way of thinking- a more 'math-sy' way- which you definitely get used to and end up finding it an incredibly powerful tool both in the way you think and your employability when you graduate.

    I would say that the maths you use in physics and the maths you use in mechanics are both as equally applied. If anything, I would say you would be less likely to use all the maths you learn in engineering when you graduate into an engineering role, compared to physics graduating into a physics role. I say this because a lot of engineering jobs today consist of sitting behind a computer and creating models using software! However this is just my personal opinion

    Seeing as you’re quite on the fence about degrees, maybe its best to think of what job you can see yourself in. Would you want to work in a lab and do research? Coding programs? Something finance related? Be a project manager? With a degree in physics or engineering you could go into all of these and many, many more. Employers love numerate (maths based) degrees as they are very transferable. Chemistry for example is still an employable degree, but not quite as transferable or sought-after as the other two.

    I think your best bet is to google the top 10 most desirable degrees for employers, and pick the degree you think you would most enjoy from that list. Also make sure you remember to consider degrees which you wouldn’t see so much at A-level, for example Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Management or Computer Science etc.

    A great degree would be ‘Natural Science’ if you are undecided. Natural science is basically where you can take 2 or 3 science-y subjects at degree level: for example at Cambridge they offer a mix of materials science/physics/chemistry/biology (and more I believe), and at Bath they offer mixes of: biology, biochemistry, environmental science, pharmacology, physics, maths, psychology, management and education. (Find out more here: http://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/underg...ural-sciences/ )

    Hope this helped you a bit, and if you have any more questions about this or about my experience as a student or the University of Bath, then let me know!
 
 
 
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