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    I all, I have a few questions which I have been contemplating while browsing the forum for the past few weeks and finally have decided to ask,

    Backstory
    A bit of a back story first, I completed a finance related undergrad degree at SOAS (2:1) a few years back and have been working in business strategy within the infrastructure industry since, my passions outside of my professional life lie in Science and all things Physics.. I have for over 2 years now been wanting to go back to studying a BSc in Physics however I do not have any STEM related A Levels and do not want to stop working as my career at the moment is going well. This only really leaves the option of distance learning via OU. Furthermore I will most likely pursue a Masters in something along the lines of Quantum Technologies or Machine Learning after finishing my degree withe the OU (I can only speculate what I would find interesting during my years completing the BSc course). I have a few question below which would help me decide on how and if I should take on this exciting journey with OU.

    Question 1
    Which BSc would you suggest based on my preferences stated in my backstory?

    BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    Applications of probability (M343)
    Either Complex analysis (M337) or Optimization (M373) (yet to decide)


    BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics)
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Physics and space (SM123) or Essential mathematics 2 (MST125) (yet to decide)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods (MST224)
    Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    The relativistic Universe (S383)
    Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)

    While the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics) is accredited by the IOP and holds some weight on a CV, it does lack the practical element which brick universities would focus on and I therefore feel could be a hindrance. Also I am sceptical as to the value generated from the 'Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)' and 'Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)' modules via the distance learning method of delivery

    In contrast the BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Physics has a larger Math component which could compliment my desire to study further in Machine learning or Quantum Technologies (Calculus, differential equations, optimisation and probability), however it has removed all practical related modules and is not accredited by the IOP, also I fear I may miss out some key Math or Physics modules based on the ones I have picked above, however I am not well versed in either yet to make that assumption.

    Question 2
    Which BSc would help and what is the likelihood of getting into a top tier university Masters program with a high 2:1 or a 1:1? I will most likely apply to UCL, Imperial and the likes.

    Question 3
    What are the job prospects based on the above information within Research and Development Labs?

    Question 4
    I also understand that Student Finance will now fund a second STEM part time degree, given your first degree is not STEM related, as is my case, I am hoping to complete 90 credits per year and finish the BSc in 4 years time, will I be eligible for the STEM funding?

    Thank you for taking your time to read and reply, this is something I am very passionate about and I would love to hear your opinions
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    (Original post by kyesan)
    I all, I have a few questions which I have been contemplating while browsing the forum for the past few weeks and finally have decided to ask,

    Backstory
    A bit of a back story first, I completed a finance related undergrad degree at SOAS (2:1) a few years back and have been working in business strategy within the infrastructure industry since, my passions outside of my professional life lie in Science and all things Physics.. I have for over 2 years now been wanting to go back to studying a BSc in Physics however I do not have any STEM related A Levels and do not want to stop working as my career at the moment is going well. This only really leaves the option of distance learning via OU. Furthermore I will most likely pursue a Masters in something along the lines of Quantum Technologies or Machine Learning after finishing my degree withe the OU (I can only speculate what I would find interesting during my years completing the BSc course). I have a few question below which would help me decide on how and if I should take on this exciting journey with OU.

    Question 1
    Which BSc would you suggest based on my preferences stated in my backstory?

    BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    Applications of probability (M343)
    Either Complex analysis (M337) or Optimization (M373) (yet to decide)


    BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics)
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Physics and space (SM123) or Essential mathematics 2 (MST125) (yet to decide)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods (MST224)
    Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    The relativistic Universe (S383)
    Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)

    While the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics) is accredited by the IOP and holds some weight on a CV, it does lack the practical element which brick universities would focus on and I therefore feel could be a hindrance. Also I am sceptical as to the value generated from the 'Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)' and 'Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)' modules via the distance learning method of delivery

    In contrast the BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Physics has a larger Math component which could compliment my desire to study further in Machine learning or Quantum Technologies (Calculus, differential equations, optimisation and probability), however it has removed all practical related modules and is not accredited by the IOP, also I fear I may miss out some key Math or Physics modules based on the ones I have picked above, however I am not well versed in either yet to make that assumption.

    Question 2
    Which BSc would help and what is the likelihood of getting into a top tier university Masters program with a high 2:1 or a 1:1? I will most likely apply to UCL, Imperial and the likes.

    Question 3
    What are the job prospects based on the above information within Research and Development Labs?

    Question 4
    I also understand that Student Finance will now fund a second STEM part time degree, given your first degree is not STEM related, as is my case, I am hoping to complete 90 credits per year and finish the BSc in 4 years time, will I be eligible for the STEM funding?

    Thank you for taking your time to read and reply, this is something I am very passionate about and I would love to hear your opinions
    I'd pose your questions to UCL or Imperial or others you might want to study further with and maybe some employers and see what they say. OU degrees are well respected on the whole, but all of the sciences lack any practical skills. My partner does maths and physics and does 'side projects' alongside his degree and full time work to make/design things to give him some practical experience.

    OU is always considered part time irrespective of how many credits you study.
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    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    I'd pose your questions to UCL or Imperial or others you might want to study further with and maybe some employers and see what they say. OU degrees are well respected on the whole, but all of the sciences lack any practical skills. My partner does maths and physics and does 'side projects' alongside his degree and full time work to make/design things to give him some practical experience.

    OU is always considered part time irrespective of how many credits you study.
    Thanks for detailed reply, I shall chase this up with possible MSc uni's.

    Can I ask how is your partner finding the course? Is it stimulating and engaging? Plans for after graduating? If MSc where and in what?, if employment what field and how is the job hunt going?

    Would love to hear the option from anyone else who has or is studying either of thier courses
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    (Original post by kyesan)
    I all, I have a few questions which I have been contemplating while browsing the forum for the past few weeks and finally have decided to ask,

    Backstory
    A bit of a back story first, I completed a finance related undergrad degree at SOAS (2:1) a few years back and have been working in business strategy within the infrastructure industry since, my passions outside of my professional life lie in Science and all things Physics.. I have for over 2 years now been wanting to go back to studying a BSc in Physics however I do not have any STEM related A Levels and do not want to stop working as my career at the moment is going well. This only really leaves the option of distance learning via OU. Furthermore I will most likely pursue a Masters in something along the lines of Quantum Technologies or Machine Learning after finishing my degree withe the OU (I can only speculate what I would find interesting during my years completing the BSc course). I have a few question below which would help me decide on how and if I should take on this exciting journey with OU.

    Question 1
    Which BSc would you suggest based on my preferences stated in my backstory?

    BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    Applications of probability (M343)
    Either Complex analysis (M337) or Optimization (M373) (yet to decide)


    BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics)
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Physics and space (SM123) or Essential mathematics 2 (MST125) (yet to decide)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods (MST224)
    Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    The relativistic Universe (S383)
    Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)

    While the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics) is accredited by the IOP and holds some weight on a CV, it does lack the practical element which brick universities would focus on and I therefore feel could be a hindrance. Also I am sceptical as to the value generated from the 'Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)' and 'Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)' modules via the distance learning method of delivery

    In contrast the BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Physics has a larger Math component which could compliment my desire to study further in Machine learning or Quantum Technologies (Calculus, differential equations, optimisation and probability), however it has removed all practical related modules and is not accredited by the IOP, also I fear I may miss out some key Math or Physics modules based on the ones I have picked above, however I am not well versed in either yet to make that assumption.

    Question 2
    Which BSc would help and what is the likelihood of getting into a top tier university Masters program with a high 2:1 or a 1:1? I will most likely apply to UCL, Imperial and the likes.

    Question 3
    What are the job prospects based on the above information within Research and Development Labs?

    Question 4
    I also understand that Student Finance will now fund a second STEM part time degree, given your first degree is not STEM related, as is my case, I am hoping to complete 90 credits per year and finish the BSc in 4 years time, will I be eligible for the STEM funding?

    Thank you for taking your time to read and reply, this is something I am very passionate about and I would love to hear your opinions
    TBH based on what you've said the natural sciences degree would be a good fit for you. Chances are if you work in finance you've got pretty good maths skills and any gaps would be filled in by MST124 and 5.

    Thats my thoughts based on what you posted.
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    (Original post by kyesan)
    I all, I have a few questions which I have been contemplating while browsing the forum for the past few weeks and finally have decided to ask,

    Backstory
    A bit of a back story first, I completed a finance related undergrad degree at SOAS (2:1) a few years back and have been working in business strategy within the infrastructure industry since, my passions outside of my professional life lie in Science and all things Physics.. I have for over 2 years now been wanting to go back to studying a BSc in Physics however I do not have any STEM related A Levels and do not want to stop working as my career at the moment is going well. This only really leaves the option of distance learning via OU. Furthermore I will most likely pursue a Masters in something along the lines of Quantum Technologies or Machine Learning after finishing my degree withe the OU (I can only speculate what I would find interesting during my years completing the BSc course). I have a few question below which would help me decide on how and if I should take on this exciting journey with OU.

    Question 1
    Which BSc would you suggest based on my preferences stated in my backstory?

    BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    Applications of probability (M343)
    Either Complex analysis (M337) or Optimization (M373) (yet to decide)


    BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics)
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Physics and space (SM123) or Essential mathematics 2 (MST125) (yet to decide)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods (MST224)
    Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    The relativistic Universe (S383)
    Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)

    While the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics) is accredited by the IOP and holds some weight on a CV, it does lack the practical element which brick universities would focus on and I therefore feel could be a hindrance. Also I am sceptical as to the value generated from the 'Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXPA288)' and 'Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)' modules via the distance learning method of delivery

    In contrast the BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Physics has a larger Math component which could compliment my desire to study further in Machine learning or Quantum Technologies (Calculus, differential equations, optimisation and probability), however it has removed all practical related modules and is not accredited by the IOP, also I fear I may miss out some key Math or Physics modules based on the ones I have picked above, however I am not well versed in either yet to make that assumption.

    Question 2
    Which BSc would help and what is the likelihood of getting into a top tier university Masters program with a high 2:1 or a 1:1? I will most likely apply to UCL, Imperial and the likes.

    Question 3
    What are the job prospects based on the above information within Research and Development Labs?

    Question 4
    I also understand that Student Finance will now fund a second STEM part time degree, given your first degree is not STEM related, as is my case, I am hoping to complete 90 credits per year and finish the BSc in 4 years time, will I be eligible for the STEM funding?

    Thank you for taking your time to read and reply, this is something I am very passionate about and I would love to hear your opinions
    Do you know anyone with a physics degree from a competitive university who could look over the course details with you? I think you might find that the level of maths on the natural sciences course is not at the level of a lot of physics degrees. I might be out of date - its a few years since I looked into this.
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    (Original post by ajj2000)
    Do you know anyone with a physics degree from a competitive university who could look over the course details with you? I think you might find that the level of maths on the natural sciences course is not at the level of a lot of physics degrees. I might be out of date - its a few years since I looked into this.
    The Physics degree is IOP accredited. The OU is a middle table university, come of the surrounding mid-table universities do not have IOP accreditation. It is a strong Physics degree in that respect.
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    Not going to read what others have written because im lazy.

    I compelted BSc Physics with Open Uni and chose the IOP accredited pathway. I would highly recommend you do the same and I would imagine your going to need to do a PhD to go into this line of work. Your best off googling this in indeed job website first to see if theres any listings there.

    To be fair, What companies out there ask for experience in Quantum Technologies? I assumed this is cutting edge and you will only get that type of work doing a PhD.
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    I've also considered both of these options. I did read somewhere (probably on here) that the lack of lab experience puts you at a disadvantage and that OU is at a lower overall level of maths. This is purely other people's speculation and it certainly hasn't put me off. I do wonder if the physics and maths would look better on a CV. I'm undecided.
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    A lot of the maths is common to both courses - the stuff you've noted regarding calculus, differential equations etc you'll cover in both courses (and in fact any physics course). I believe you (may) have "space" on the degree to take optional/elective modules - it's entirely possible that you would be able to combine some or most of both of the courses together pursuing one or the other (taking some/all of the experimental stuff on the Maths & Physics course, or some additional maths options on the IoP single honours Physics course).

    Realistically either would be fine for continuing to a PhD, although the IoP course with the experimental work may be preferable for an experimental/applied PhD. Equally a joint honours in Maths/Physics may be better for a theoretical PhD, or one based in the Maths department (this is not so uncommon depending on the project - most of the theoretical work at Cambridge is technically in the Maths department for example). Ultimately though I don't think the scope of the maths in the joint honours one linked is going to make a huge difference - while the experimental work may. I would be inclined to recommend that one as a result, to hedge your bets somewhat.

    If you did want to pick up a stronger mathematical background, there are plenty of applied mathematics/theoretical physics oriented masters that take Physics undergrads, and there are some "conversion" courses at the postgrad level for Maths (assuming a general numerate background quite often, which you'll have from a Physics course). Birkbeck has a more pure maths oriented one, while KCL has some qualifications (PGdip/cert or 2 year masters, I believe) and has a great deal of applied mathematics and theoretical physics options to choose from in their maths department.

    Incidentally as far as physics is concerned, between complex analysis and optimisation the former is far more useful - the latter is more for business/finance types and engineers.

    Spoiler:
    Show

    I'm not sure about your interest in machine learning, as this is really computer science/statistics, rather than applied mathematics/physics which these courses are oriented towards. "Quantum technologies" is a bit nebulous, and could refer to many different directions. Quantum computing and informatiion science is on the more theoretical end of physics at the moment, so a strong maths background is certainly helpful here generally, although I don't get the impression QInf is notably mathematical relative to e.g. QFT/high energy physics stuff. Things like optoelectronics, photonics and so on can go in either direction, although due to high levels of industry interest there are probably more funded opportunities in the more practical elements - however doing undergraduate labwork isn't really going to provide any particular preparation for cleanroom work (which is what "practical" work in photonics etc is). There are also probably innumerable things that could be described as such in the condensed matter area, which again has a broad spectrum of applied and theoretical areas, and particularly due to the more "fundamental" nature of the area, has probably equally many theoretical prospects as experimental/applied.

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    I'm on a similar situation as yours having a degree in Computer Science from Citi University and a good career in the Finance industry but wanting to slowly and gradually follow my passion and make a transition to a career in Physics. Hence last year I start my BSc Mathematics and Physics with the OU with the objective of completing this in four or five years.

    The way I see it the BSc is used to prepare the foundations in Mathematics and Physics and what really matters here is that you learn the content inside/out; target a first class so you can enrol in a Masters in Physics from a top university (if you check the entry requirements and the forums from past student experiences; a first class in this combined degree more than suffices entrance). Once in the Masters you'll probably have enough knowledge in the area to know if that will suffice for whatever role you are targeting and at the same time it would also allow entrance into a PHD program if you decide to get into research.

    My current modules choices are a bit different than what you have in your plan and I would have thought you need to take Pure Mathematics (M208) so you can get a good grasp in Mathematical Proofs and other topics such as Analysis and Group Theory before you can take full advantage of Complex Analysis (M337). And even though M208 is not part of the curriculum you can take that as a stand-alone course provided you already have met the requirements (MST125) (I asked the OU about this the other day). Also I would not take more than 90 credits a year if you have a full time job the workload is real.

    With regards to probability I would not worry about getting that knowledge from the OU. Given this is such a trendy topic these days because of Data Science you can easily get more appicable and up to date knowledge from places such as Coursera and other places so I think I would be wasting an applied math module if I took Applications of probability (M343).


    BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)
    Pure Mathematics (M208) (may take as a stand-alone course)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics (MST326)
    Deterministic and stocahstic dynamics (MS327) (most likely) or Complex analysis (M337)
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    A lot of the maths is common to both courses - the stuff you've noted regarding calculus, differential equations etc you'll cover in both courses (and in fact any physics course). I believe you (may) have "space" on the degree to take optional/elective modules - it's entirely possible that you would be able to combine some or most of both of the courses together pursuing one or the other (taking some/all of the experimental stuff on the Maths & Physics course, or some additional maths options on the IoP single honours Physics course).

    Realistically either would be fine for continuing to a PhD, although the IoP course with the experimental work may be preferable for an experimental/applied PhD. Equally a joint honours in Maths/Physics may be better for a theoretical PhD, or one based in the Maths department (this is not so uncommon depending on the project - most of the theoretical work at Cambridge is technically in the Maths department for example). Ultimately though I don't think the scope of the maths in the joint honours one linked is going to make a huge difference - while the experimental work may. I would be inclined to recommend that one as a result, to hedge your bets somewhat.

    If you did want to pick up a stronger mathematical background, there are plenty of applied mathematics/theoretical physics oriented masters that take Physics undergrads, and there are some "conversion" courses at the postgrad level for Maths (assuming a general numerate background quite often, which you'll have from a Physics course). Birkbeck has a more pure maths oriented one, while KCL has some qualifications (PGdip/cert or 2 year masters, I believe) and has a great deal of applied mathematics and theoretical physics options to choose from in their maths department.

    Incidentally as far as physics is concerned, between complex analysis and optimisation the former is far more useful - the latter is more for business/finance types and engineers.

    Spoiler:
    Show



    I'm not sure about your interest in machine learning, as this is really computer science/statistics, rather than applied mathematics/physics which these courses are oriented towards. "Quantum technologies" is a bit nebulous, and could refer to many different directions. Quantum computing and informatiion science is on the more theoretical end of physics at the moment, so a strong maths background is certainly helpful here generally, although I don't get the impression QInf is notably mathematical relative to e.g. QFT/high energy physics stuff. Things like optoelectronics, photonics and so on can go in either direction, although due to high levels of industry interest there are probably more funded opportunities in the more practical elements - however doing undergraduate labwork isn't really going to provide any particular preparation for cleanroom work (which is what "practical" work in photonics etc is). There are also probably innumerable things that could be described as such in the condensed matter area, which again has a broad spectrum of applied and theoretical areas, and particularly due to the more "fundamental" nature of the area, has probably equally many theoretical prospects as experimental/applied.



    Thank you @artful_lounger for the detailed reply, really really helpful. I have been asking around my co workers (many of which are engineers or hold a physics Msc or above). The consensus has been that either choice will be fitting, and the lack of lab work should not be too big a deal, also many noted the IOP which on paper looks good, not many employers really take notice of it.

    Also the comparison of the two modules is really helpful, and I shall bare in mind when picking between the two. I am more leaning towards the join Math and Physics, or even the BSc Math.

    I shall reply in this thread as i gather more information (for the benefit of anyone that may be in my position as well)

    On another note, I have noticed your detailed responses to questions posed by others around 'physics', first of all your detailed responses are very informative for prospective students, I want to thank you for your efforts. Secondly have you studied at the OU your self ? if so, how was the experience and did it lead to to further study/work in the field?
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    (Original post by Virtunus)
    I'm on a similar situation as yours having a degree in Computer Science from Citi University and a good career in the Finance industry but wanting to slowly and gradually follow my passion and make a transition to a career in Physics. Hence last year I start my BSc Mathematics and Physics with the OU with the objective of completing this in four or five years.

    The way I see it the BSc is used to prepare the foundations in Mathematics and Physics and what really matters here is that you learn the content inside/out; target a first class so you can enrol in a Masters in Physics from a top university (if you check the entry requirements and the forums from past student experiences; a first class in this combined degree more than suffices entrance). Once in the Masters you'll probably have enough knowledge in the area to know if that will suffice for whatever role you are targeting and at the same time it would also allow entrance into a PHD program if you decide to get into research.

    My current modules choices are a bit different than what you have in your plan and I would have thought you need to take Pure Mathematics (M208) so you can get a good grasp in Mathematical Proofs and other topics such as Analysis and Group Theory before you can take full advantage of Complex Analysis (M337). And even though M208 is not part of the curriculum you can take that as a stand-alone course provided you already have met the requirements (MST125) (I asked the OU about this the other day). Also I would not take more than 90 credits a year if you have a full time job the workload is real.

    With regards to probability I would not worry about getting that knowledge from the OU. Given this is such a trendy topic these days because of Data Science you can easily get more appicable and up to date knowledge from places such as Coursera and other places so I think I would be wasting an applied math module if I took Applications of probability (M343).


    BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
    Level 1 Modules:
    Questions in science (S111)
    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
    Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)

    Level 2 Modules:
    Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)
    Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)
    Pure Mathematics (M208) (may take as a stand-alone course)

    Level 3 Modules:
    Electromagnetism (SMT359)
    The quantum world (SM358)
    Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics (MST326)
    Deterministic and stocahstic dynamics (MS327) (most likely) or Complex analysis (M337)

    Hi Virtunus, so glad to hear someone else is in the same boat as me, I have a few questions if you dont mind me asking (will post here for the benefit of anyone else)

    1. How have you found the course so far? in terms of the quality of the teaching compared to a god brick uni, my research indicates that, many have found the math modules to be very well taught, and the physics to be very interesting (same can not be said for other modules and subjects at OU based on the experiences people have posted on this forum e.g. computer science)

    2. I am also planning to do 90 credits per year while working full time (However I will be working on a flexible working contract, meaning condensed hours spread over Monday - Thursday), how have you found the overall workload?

    3. How much time did you spend studying and revising in total any given week?

    4. Did you try to stagger the start and end dates of modules like Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) and Essential mathematics 2 (MST125) ?

    5. Looking at your module choices, did you consider the straight BSc Math, as opposed to BSc Math and Physics, as the 3rd year modules in BSc Math give you complete freedom in selection of your electives and the electives on offer include options for Electromagnetism (SMT359), The quantum world (SM358), Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics (MST326), Deterministic and stocahstic dynamics (MS327). I am now considering the BSc Math as an option over the BSc Math and Physics, any thoughts on this?

    6. Given neither the BSc Math, BSc Physics or BSc Math and Physics include any programming modules, I would heavily advise to pick up some coding experience (a-lot of the equivalent BSc subjects at brick universities include coding as part of their curriculum), personally I will be training in Python and possibly R.

    7. Are you sticking with your career in finance while studying or making a move to something math, physics, coding related during your time at the OU?

    6. What are your plans post OU? I see some very, very interesting MSc subjects at UCL, Imperial which would be ideal for me personally.


    Thanks in advance for any replies, really looking forward to seeing what your opinion is on the above!
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    (Original post by kyesan)
    Thank you @artful_lounger for the detailed reply, really really helpful. I have been asking around my co workers (many of which are engineers or hold a physics Msc or above). The consensus has been that either choice will be fitting, and the lack of lab work should not be too big a deal, also many noted the IOP which on paper looks good, not many employers really take notice of it.

    Also the comparison of the two modules is really helpful, and I shall bare in mind when picking between the two. I am more leaning towards the join Math and Physics, or even the BSc Math.

    I shall reply in this thread as i gather more information (for the benefit of anyone that may be in my position as well)

    On another note, I have noticed your detailed responses to questions posed by others around 'physics', first of all your detailed responses are very informative for prospective students, I want to thank you for your efforts. Secondly have you studied at the OU your self ? if so, how was the experience and did it lead to to further study/work in the field?
    I haven't studied at the OU - I spent several years "degree hopping" in brick and mortar uni(s) before ending up in engineering, which I didn't particularly enjoy. I've left now, although I'm considering possibly doing an OU module or two in the (slightly distant) future, so I've tried to familiarise myself somewhat with their offerings.

    Otherwise my contextual knowledge of the subjects is based on a sort of mishmash of research done by myself out of personal interest in considering those areas of study previously, having studied some analogous modules while in uni, and having friends on those same or related courses as you've noted and hearing from their experiences. Also reviewing suggested "self-study" pathways and bibliographies and seeing peoples comments and accounts for this latter point

    I would note, technically speaking the optimisation stuff isn't just useful for financial types, and it can be quite relevant in engineering and computer science. However I do stand by my comment that it's much less relevant and useful for physics both in general and compared with any kind of complex variables/methods/analysis course

    Regarding degree structures, there is of course the "open degree" which could be worth considering; I believe you have sufficient leeway on their various "named" courses to reach a suitable balance as it interests you though (the open option might be a good choice if you wanted to complement those "main" subjects with some ancillary content in e.g. computer science or philosophy for example). I'd note for the option of BSc Mathematics, do consider whether you would want to take Pure Mathematics as offered by the OU. Broadly speaking, for a physicist the first Pure Maths course would be fairly relevant on the whole, but it is a very different style of mathematics than that which you might expect.

    The above (and following) on pure maths may also be interesting to Virtunus. I'd note for the benefit of the latter, the groups content is irrelevant to complex analysis, and the OU course seems slightly more skewed to complex methods than complex analysis formally (however this is just based on the "blurb" they provide - I have no idea what the actual course material looks like) anyway so likely doesn't presuppose that much in terms of mathematical "maturity".

    Spoiler:
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    You might want to look into some resources for those areas of pure mathematics before taking the module in pure maths (and specifically the analysis stuff before going into complex analysis, although this is more "for culture" given as above the course seems less absolutely abstract) - particularly, if you are familiar with the usual computational elements of calculus (if you aren't yet, wait until after doing your first OU maths module before doing the following) take a look at Spivak's "Calculus", which gives a (re)introduction to calculus from a rigorous, analysis style point of view.

    It has a very gentle introduction to the more abstract aspects of it, but gives you some idea of the "flavour" of how mathematics is done as opposed to used (where I mean, engineers and physicists use mathematics, but don't do it as such, except for some areas of theoretical physics where it gets used more). This is where the module on the whole is still relevant to being a physicist, as group theory is actually quite useful in some areas of theoretical physics.

    The analysis material isn't so much directly useful as just gets you to understand and think about the calculus you're doing much more deeply and thus might help you avoid some conceptual pitfalls in otherwise "open" problems later on if you go into research.

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    (Original post by kyesan)
    Furthermore I will most likely pursue a Masters in something along the lines of Quantum Technologies or Machine Learning
    Question 1
    Which BSc would you suggest based on my preferences stated in my backstory?
    out of the two then Mathematics and Physics

    I'm basing this partly on you mentioning Machine learning - get that full 60 credit level 2 applied maths module done as part of your undergrad and make sure your linear algebra is good!

    also re this:

    take the Optmization course that + a good background in probability + linear algebra are pretty fundamental for ML

    also useful to take some coursera etc.. courses too and have at least some programming experience in Matlab/octave and Python... but the maths background is more important really as the programming side is easy and can be improved upon as you go
 
 
 
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