University of Reading Meteorology and Maths- worth it?

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DerivativeName
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I'm in year 12 , studying maths, further maths and CS, predicted A*A*A*. I'm considering doing a maths degree, applying to Oxford and Warwick, and then some others I hope I don't have to go to.

However I've recently been reading more about climate science and how applied maths in atmospheric science can really help climate change etc , which is both important and super interesting. I've been looking at two courses mainly, maths (climate science) at Exeter, and metrology and maths at reading.

I know Exeter is pretty reputable for maths, and atmospheric science. However, reading seem not so highly ranked for maths, but super well Ranked for meteorology. Also their entry requirements are pretty low for maths (AAB I think) which is slightly worrying- I want a stimulating and challenging course.

So all in all, should I consider applying to reading? The course seems interesting, especially as I would get to do atmospheric science from first year, whereas even in Exeter it wouldn't be until 3rd year I could do any, and Warwick and Oxford would only be 4th year if that (although at these two I would get a good theoretical treatment of fluid dynamics from 3rd year).

I would probably still apply to Warwick and Oxford, as they would be amazing opportunities to study maths, and I could always leave after 3rd year to do an atmospheric science masters, or just specialise in fluid dynamics and do an atmospheric science PhD (it would also give me opportunity to change my mind). But for insurance, I really have no idea whether the course or university is in any way reputable.
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Plagioclase
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Entry requirements are not a good indication of course quality but do reflect competition. It's natural that specialised courses will attract fewer applicants (than, say, pure Mathematics) so it's not surprising that the entry requirements are lower. You're right that Exeter has an excellent reputation for climate science, whilst I can't comment on the quality of their undergraduate degree, they have a lot of high-impact climate scientists there. Reading also has a long history in climate science which is why they're still one of the few unis in the UK offering meteorology. If you like the look of the course then by all means apply, it's only one of your five options anyway so it's not a big risk. The only issue is that I am aware that there was a big staff exodus out of Reading a while ago because they got rid of their Physics department and whilst meteorology obviously remains, I'm not sure to what extent that has impacted the general environment there. Possibly something to ask about (to be clear, I'm not saying that meteorology is bad there because I genuinely don't know, just that there was some kind of thing at Reading).

If you are interested in climate science (or geophysical fluid dynamics), something else you might want to consider is studying Physics rather than Mathematics. For instance, Oxford's Physics Department has an excellent reputation in this field (because of their Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics department) and at a university like Oxford, you don't need to be concerned about a lack of mathematical rigour in their physics course. Of course it's entirely possible to go into climate science through mathematics (as many do), but physics is a more common route.

A final thing I'd say - atmospheric physics is the better-known aspect of geophysical fluid dynamics, but don't forget oceanic physics! Yes I'm biased but it's a fascinating area as well.
Last edited by Plagioclase; 1 year ago
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DerivativeName
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Entry requirements are not a good indication of course quality but do reflect competition. It's natural that specialised courses will attract fewer applicants (than, say, pure Mathematics) so it's not surprising that the entry requirements are lower. You're right that Exeter has an excellent reputation for climate science, whilst I can't comment on the quality of their undergraduate degree, they have a lot of high-impact climate scientists there. Reading also has a long history in climate science which is why they're still one of the few unis in the UK offering meteorology. If you like the look of the course then by all means apply, it's only one of your five options anyway so it's not a big risk. The only issue is that I am aware that there was a big staff exodus out of Reading a while ago because they got rid of their Physics department and whilst meteorology obviously remains, I'm not sure to what extent that has impacted the general environment there. Possibly something to ask about (to be clear, I'm not saying that meteorology is bad there because I genuinely don't know, just that there was some kind of thing at Reading).

If you are interested in climate science (or geophysical fluid dynamics), something else you might want to consider is studying Physics rather than Mathematics. For instance, Oxford's Physics Department has an excellent reputation in this field (because of their Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics department) and at a university like Oxford, you don't need to be concerned about a lack of mathematical rigour in their physics course. Of course it's entirely possible to go into climate science through mathematics (as many do), but physics is a more common route.

A final thing I'd say - atmospheric physics is the better-known aspect of geophysical fluid dynamics, but don't forget oceanic physics! Yes I'm biased but it's a fascinating area as well.
That's very useful, thank you, I've still got some time to go more research, but it's made me a bit less wary (I just had no idea about reading at all really). Unfortunately doing physics isn't an option, my schools physics teaching is very bad so I didn't take it as an Alevel.

I assume you're in this area then? How do you find it?
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by DerivativeName)
That's very useful, thank you, I've still got some time to go more research, but it's made me a bit less wary (I just had no idea about reading at all really). Unfortunately doing physics isn't an option, my schools physics teaching is very bad so I didn't take it as an Alevel.

I assume you're in this area then? How do you find it?
Oh sorry, didn't realise that you don't study physics! It sounds like you've got a good set of options then and as I say, an undergraduate degree in mathematics is a perfectly good way to enter climate science. And yes, I'm about to start a PhD related to physical oceanography - I've only got good things to say about the field (and climate science in general), it's absolutely fascinating and very important too! Feel free to PM me if you have any specific Qs.
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DerivativeName
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Oh sorry, didn't realise that you don't study physics! It sounds like you've got a good set of options then and as I say, an undergraduate degree in mathematics is a perfectly good way to enter climate science. And yes, I'm about to start a PhD related to physical oceanography - I've only got good things to say about the field (and climate science in general), it's absolutely fascinating and very important too! Feel free to PM me if you have any specific Qs.
Thanks so much, that's awesome. Honestly pretty exciting, I hadn't even considered the possibility until I stumbled upon to the exeter course and realised that maths was much broader than I thought. Using Maths to help understand the planet seems pretty amazing and important. I'll remember to PM you if I have any questions thank you so much!
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by DerivativeName)
Thanks so much, that's awesome. Honestly pretty exciting, I hadn't even considered the possibility until I stumbled upon to the exeter course and realised that maths was much broader than I thought. Using Maths to help understand the planet seems pretty amazing and important. I'll remember to PM you if I have any questions thank you so much!
No problem and yes, I 100% agree!
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skyhat42
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Unsure if this thread is dead but posting anyway just in case...

I'm currently a student in Reading Uni's Meteorology department, I got A*A*A at A level, and am currently out in Oklahoma on the study abroad MMet meteorology course. It's definitely not "too easy" for high achievers! The topics are definitely challenging and stimulating enough (fluid dynamics & thermodynamics feature often!).

Meteorology is a really fun subject and has a lot of variety. There are occasions where we'll be doing political or geographical essay work, lab reports, and intense mathematical derivations.

As far as the department goes, I couldn't recommend it enough!! Class sizes in the maths lectures are >200 people, but in meteorology lectures there are 15-25 students each year - all my lecturers at Reading know me by name and talk to me regularly.

If you have any questions about it lmk ! I know most of the people in the department here, and you can always ask @/UniRdg_Met on Twitter about anything too.

I think choosing this course was the best decision I've ever made, but it's really up to you to decide !
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