Skinners6
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After being rejected from Cambridge (although I am eligible for Adjustment, fingers crossed!) I have to make the decision between UCL and Bath - both MSci Natural Science courses - and I am having quite a difficult time trying to decide between the two.

Physics would be my 'major' subject, with a particular interest in Astrophysics, and Chemistry would be my 'minor' subject - not currently sure which Chemistry streams ie. Physical,Inorganic I would choose mind.
After researching the courses, it seems that if I was looking to take Astrophysics further that UCL would be the best choice (that is currently what I would like to do - although that may change) since in the UCL course I can directly take an Astrophysics stream, whereas the Bath course has no mention of Astrophysics throughout the Physics option. Also I know that it is relatively easy to transfer from the Nat Sci course to the Physics and Astrophysics course at UCL should I find that I don't enjoy Chemistry at uni after all.
However, Bath also has very good industry links, with the option of doing a placement year a good prospect. (I'm not sure if a placement year at UCL is as easy to do?) I also feel that I would prefer to live in Bath, especially with the excellent sporting facilities, although I wouldn't mind living in London either.
UCL also seems more prestigious than Bath, although I don't know if that translates to UCL having a better Natural Sciences course?

So basically, I am just looking for some advice, what are your opinions on which Nat Sci course is better and what other insights (not necessarily just course related) do you have that may help me make my decision!
Last edited by Skinners6; 2 years ago
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University of Bath
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Hi there,
I am a current student at Bath studying Natural Sciences, so hopefully I can help.

I'm not sure how much astrophysics is included in the physics stream for Natural Sciences, but from what I've heard it isn''t that prominent. You can find more information about the modules available to you here. A benefit of the Bath NatSci course is the level of flexibility, with you being able to change some of your modules or major/minor (in certain circumstances, provided you have the prerequisites) modules. In some cases you can switch from NatSci to a single science degree (e.g. switching from NatSci with biology major to straight biology), although I'm not sure whether this is an option with physics majors so I'd recommend maybe contacting our Natural Sciences department (contact details can be found at the bottom of this page). If this were an option for NatSci students with a physics major, you may be interested in our Physics with Astrophysics course as an option to switch to.

With regards to student life, I would definitely recommend Bath. We have one of, if not the higest student satisfaction in the UK - the student life is amazing as we have an amazing SU, tonnes of societies and great opportunities in loads of sports (for all levels, whether you're a total beginner or have played properly before). We also have a society for each course so you can socialise with your coursemates more. Bath as a city is beautiful and there's tonnes to do, and for a smaller city the nightlife is actually really good. If you did want the have the perks of a bigger city and bigger clubs/nightlife, then Bristol is only a 15 minute train away. I applied to some London unis as backups, but I was majorly put off by how expensive it is, the fact that you have to travel and cannot live on campus, and that the city is so big that it can get a bit overwhelming and hard to escape.

I'm not sure about the current rankings, but I'd be cautious about relying too heavily on league tables. As Bath doesn't offer as mny courses as some other unis, it is often lower in rankings. However, Bath is still a prestigious uni with an excellent reputation, with some of the best courses in their fields in the UK. London universities generally have a higher dropout rate and lower student satisfaction, and I cannot emphasise enough how important this is. People often underestimate the importance of balancing a good social and student life with your course. As you said, Bath has a well established placement's programme with excellent industry links (a lot of companies only offer placements to Bath students), so I'd definitely recommend Bath in this regard as having a placement is amazing for boosting your employability.

So, in terms of student life and general living, I'd definitely recommend Bath over London. Bath is a lot less stressful and overwhelming than London, but there is still loads to do and its an incredbly vibrant city (with the added benefit of being so close to Bristol). The placements programme at Bath is also a massive perk, as I'm not sure how many other unis have such a well established programme with employers like Google, Microsoft and Rolls-Royce. In terms of the course, you might find that the physics stream in NatSci at Bath is lacking in astrophysics, so I'd recommend contacting our course administrator and looking at the physics with astrophysics course, if it were possible for you to switch courses.

I hope this has helped,
Jessica, a second year Natural Sciences student
(Original post by Skinners6)
After being rejected from Cambridge (although I am eligible for Adjustment, fingers crossed!) I have to make the decision between UCL and Bath - both MSci Natural Science courses - and I am having quite a difficult time trying to decide between the two.

Physics would be my 'major' subject, with a particular interest in Astrophysics, and Chemistry would be my 'minor' subject - not currently sure which Chemistry streams ie. Physical,Inorganic I would choose mind.
After researching the courses, it seems that if I was looking to take Astrophysics further that UCL would be the best choice (that is currently what I would like to do - although that may change) since in the UCL course I can directly take an Astrophysics stream, whereas the Bath course has no mention of Astrophysics throughout the Physics option. Also I know that it is relatively easy to transfer from the Nat Sci course to the Physics and Astrophysics course at UCL should I find that I don't enjoy Chemistry at uni after all.
However, Bath also has very good industry links, with the option of doing a placement year a good prospect. (I'm not sure if a placement year at UCL is as easy to do?) I also feel that I would prefer to live in Bath, especially with the excellent sporting facilities, although I wouldn't mind living in London either.
UCL also seems more prestigious than Bath, although I don't know if that translates to UCL having a better Natural Sciences course?

So basically, I am just looking for some advice, what are your opinions on which Nat Sci course is better and what other insights (not necessarily just course related) do you have that may help me make my decision!
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