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    I am finishing my CS course at an ex-poly in a year.
    My problem is that I wanted to do maths and physics instead, so I had a look at the OU course but am worried that the uni's reputation won't help me do a masters at a reputable university later on.
    Is it really possible to do a masters at a RG university with an OU degree?
    If not should I do A-levels instead?
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    (Original post by Antonio Roldan)
    I am finishing my CS course at an ex-poly in a year.
    My problem is that I wanted to do maths and physics instead, so I had a look at the OU course but am worried that the uni's reputation won't help me do a masters at a reputable university later on.
    Is it really possible to do a masters at a RG university with an OU degree?
    If not should I do A-levels instead?
    Why would A-levels help you do a masters at a RG uni? Why not do maths and physics in the first place?

    Have you contacted any of the unis you're interested in to ask them. That is the only way you'll know. But many OU students have gone on to work and study at many top places, so I wouldn't worry about that.
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    Birkbeck offer Maths to degree level (and Physics to some kind of diploma level) and I believe both courses can be studied part time (and hence qualify for the second part time STEM degree funding from SFE) which may be of interest then.

    Whether going to OU is going to make a difference depends somewhat on what you want to do. If you want to go into investment banking then no, it's probably not ideal - but doing Physics or indeed Maths is not a requirement for that so it would beg the question of why bother. If you want to pursue a career as a Physicist it's an adequate starting point.

    You'll cover, in theory, the same content necessary to pursue graduate study in the area - the major sticking point being that your research background through dissertation etc may not be as strong. Any minor gaps in the content of the course (or more likely, shortfalls in mathematical sophistication of the content - which may not be the case, but is in general a possibility anywhere) can be fairly easily filled by the student in Physics. There are innumerable resources for self study suggestions, reading lists, bibliographies etc for Physics - more than almost any other subject, except maybe Maths. Some that may be of interest are Gerard t'Hooft's theoretical physics self teaching pages, the Chicago Undergraduate Physics Bibliography (hosted by Berkeley for some reason...) and physicsforums which has an entire forum dedicated to textbook recommendations and I think a sticky on self studying physics.

    I presume your thinking with A-levels is to do the A-levels then try to do a standard UG course at another university - however be aware there are very few part-time physics courses other than those two mentioned (and Birkbeck isn't actually a physics course), which means you wouldn't be eligible for funding from SFE for these courses. This could be a huge factor, so consider carefully. Some universities may have scholarships or bursaries that can help, although I imagine these are few and far between.

    More generally, you may want to consider a postgrad "conversion" course in the subject. Although less common than the ubiquitous economics PGdip, there are a few out there. Birkbeck has one for Maths but maybe not Physics, although there may be relevant physics content in the maths course. I think Royal Holloway and Kings College London have some for Physics (KCL certainly has one for Maths and they have a LOT of applied maths/theoretical physics content available in their maths programme), and there is some route along these lines at UCL if you have some physical science background - CS may not suffice for this though. These are generally shorter and cheaper (in the long run) than a second UG course - however anything less than a masters course won't be eligible for the postgrad loans as I can tell (but double check with SFE) and you don't get extra funding if it's e.g. a two year course rather than one year.
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    I have seen numerous people with OU degrees who have gone on to do a masters in other universities. Our dissertations can win awards and the OU is a reputable university. Some people also have been given scholarships to study a masters.
    You should join the Open University facebook group and ask this question. You will get a lot of responses from people who've experienced it and most of them will be positive! People often post positive stories where educational chairman and prospective employers have commended their OU degree because it takes a lot of time management and commitment to keep up with everything and teach yourself, whilst working. Some have said that they feel their OU degree helped them get their job because of the skills that come with it.
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    (Original post by SuperCat007)
    Why would A-levels help you do a masters at a RG uni? Why not do maths and physics in the first place?

    Have you contacted any of the unis you're interested in to ask them. That is the only way you'll know. But many OU students have gone on to work and study at many top places, so I wouldn't worry about that.
    I didn't explain it correctly, what I meant is doing A-levels to get into an RG university for a bachelors with what that would imply (spending more years studying) that begs the question of whether not an RG university would accept a mature student (I'd be 25 by the time I finished my A levels) I guess it would be a waste of time when I could start my degree at the OU straight away but would still I have the chance to study at a Russell group university for a masters?
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    (Original post by hannxm)
    I have seen numerous people with OU degrees who have gone on to do a masters in other universities. Our dissertations can win awards and the OU is a reputable university. Some people also have been given scholarships to study a masters.
    You should join the Open University facebook group and ask this question. You will get a lot of responses from people who've experienced it and most of them will be positive! People often post positive stories where educational chairman and prospective employers have commended their OU degree because it takes a lot of time management and commitment to keep up with everything and teach yourself, whilst working. Some have said that they feel their OU degree helped them get their job because of the skills that come with it.
    This is the kind of thing I wanted to hear! I've heard such stories but needed to be sure about it
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    (Original post by Antonio Roldan)
    I didn't explain it correctly, what I meant is doing A-levels to get into an RG university for a bachelors with what that would imply (spending more years studying) that begs the question of whether not an RG university would accept a mature student (I'd be 25 by the time I finished my A levels) I guess it would be a waste of time when I could start my degree at the OU straight away but would still I have the chance to study at a Russell group university for a masters?
    I would recommend doing some serious research into what you want to do. Of course Russell Group unis accept mature students. Enquire about the OU degree and whether the modules would be considered for entry into their master's. Anecdotal evidence from a forum doesn't give you hard facts.

    Obviously for a second degree I think the STEM funding only applies for part time study, unless you're able to fund yourself for a new full time degree. You could always enquire about whether your degree and/or any combination of OU modules would be considered for entry onto the maths and physics degree.
 
 
 
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