Physics, Engineering Science, or Material Science at Oxford?

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Charbel30
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Pretty self explanatory. For more clarity I want to enter the field of energy, especially renewables. All of those courses can lead me to renewable energy but some are easier to get into than others.

Say I am applying to Oxford for Materials, I would have a better chance of being accepted than if I had applied to Engineering or Physics.

Any of those degrees offer the prestige of Oxford, and open the same doors, but is it worth applying for Materials just to have a better chance or should I just go for Engineering which is more selective, flexible, and academically rigorous.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Charbel30)
For more clarity I want to enter the field of energy, especially renewables. All of those courses can lead me to renewable energy but some are easier to get into than others.

Say I am applying to Oxford for Materials, I would have a better chance of being accepted than if I had applied to Engineering or Physics.

Any of those degrees offer the prestige of Oxford, and open the same doors, but is it worth applying for Materials just to have a better chance or should I just go for Engineering which is more selective, flexible, and academically rigorous.
Which would you enjoy most? Engineering Science would seem like the best suited to your career plans, being much broader than Physics or Materials Science.

I wouldn't focus too much on the chances of being accepted. IMO, the wrong course is a bigger issue than going to a less prestigious university.
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Charbel30
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
Which would you enjoy most? Engineering Science would seem like the best suited to your career plans, being much broader than Physics or Materials Science.

I wouldn't focus too much on the chances of being accepted. IMO, the wrong course is a bigger issue than going to a less prestigious university.
I enjoy the physics and chemistry aspect which is basically materials science. But engineering science is more robust and well rounded as you said, and honestly I believe I would enjoy any of the three options. Though the polymer and alloy bits of materials are quite boring- what draws me to materials is the potential for energy storage, photovoltaics and nuclear fusion. But it seems to me that doing engineering science then maybe specialising into something materials related may be preferable.
Thanks for the reply! Any further advice would be really helpful.
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Charbel30
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(Original post by thebluemats)
engineering science more career focussed than physics
what about engineering science vs materials in your opinion?
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Wurzite123
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Hey guys, I’ll be starting materials science at Oxford in just under two weeks. At one point I considered engineering science vs materials science so I’ll give a small break down of each and why I picked materials in the end.

First of both degrees are MEng degrees so both allow you to become chartered engineers at the end of the course subject to further experience. The engineering science degree is the more traditional engineering degree at oxford out of the two and the materials science degree is oxford’s version of ‘materials science & engineering’ at other unis. The engineering science degree is general so you don’t get to specialise into want you want to study immediately, which for some people is a con cause you’ll spend two years effectively studying areas of engineering you don’t enjoy as much and you’d have to wait until third year to specialise. The materials course starts of with maths, physics and chemistry so is more science-y at the beginning but second year there is much more engineering involved. The engineering science degree IMO is every theoretical compared to most engineering courses, you don’t do many projects unlike unis like imperial and so it can feel like you just learning content without actually building/making stuff all the time, which for some people is a major con. Materials science has labs where we do experiments and other projects but the overall number of projects/industrial visits between the courses is probably the same, maybe slightly more for eng sci. Given you want to do nuclear fusion and energy storage, id advise you to look at the Materials course. Year 3 is entirely options, meaning you can pick any module you want and there is a whole module dedicated to energy storage further more you can spend your whole fourth year doing a project in a nuclear fission/ energy storage research project. Furthermore the materials department has professors that are researching into those areas but I’m not sure the eng sci department has the same. On the flip side I guess you could specialise into chem eng in engineering science but you’d still have to do other engineering streams as like minor options plus the project in year 4 for eng sci is shorter so you wouldn’t get spend as much time on your specific area of energy storage. Finally for career options, unless you want to go into fields of engineering that require mech eng or elec eng, then the options are the exact same. Both are MEng degrees like I said before so will both open doors do banking, finance, patent law, engineering (BP etc) and other things. IMO the materials degree is more interesting out of the two and whilst it’s more specialised, I think you’ll be able to get to chosen specialism faster. If you have any more questions, PM me and I’ll happily answer
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by Charbel30)
Engineering which is more... academically rigorous.
You're basing this on what exactly?
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Wurzite123
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(Original post by Charbel30)
Pretty self explanatory. For more clarity I want to enter the field of energy, especially renewables. All of those courses can lead me to renewable energy but some are easier to get into than others.

Say I am applying to Oxford for Materials, I would have a better chance of being accepted than if I had applied to Engineering or Physics.

Any of those degrees offer the prestige of Oxford, and open the same doors, but is it worth applying for Materials just to have a better chance or should I just go for Engineering which is more selective, flexible, and academically rigorous.
Hmmmm, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion materials isn’t as academically rigorous. For example the materials modelling option in 3rd is very hard as it uses advanced quantum mechanics and fairly hard maths to carry out certain simulations of materials. Materials is a combination of chemistry, physics and engineering, all rigorous courses so the combination of them would also be rigorous...
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Charbel30
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(Original post by NATHan w)
Hey guys, I’ll be starting materials science at Oxford in just under two weeks. At one point I considered engineering science vs materials science so I’ll give a small break down of each and why I picked materials in the end.

First of both degrees are MEng degrees so both allow you to become chartered engineers at the end of the course subject to further experience. The engineering science degree is the more traditional engineering degree at oxford out of the two and the materials science degree is oxford’s version of ‘materials science & engineering’ at other unis. The engineering science degree is general so you don’t get to specialise into want you want to study immediately, which for some people is a con cause you’ll spend two years effectively studying areas of engineering you don’t enjoy as much and you’d have to wait until third year to specialise. The materials course starts of with maths, physics and chemistry so is more science-y at the beginning but second year there is much more engineering involved. The engineering science degree IMO is every theoretical compared to most engineering courses, you don’t do many projects unlike unis like imperial and so it can feel like you just learning content without actually building/making stuff all the time, which for some people is a major con. Materials science has labs where we do experiments and other projects but the overall number of projects/industrial visits between the courses is probably the same, maybe slightly more for eng sci. Given you want to do nuclear fusion and energy storage, id advise you to look at the Materials course. Year 3 is entirely options, meaning you can pick any module you want and there is a whole module dedicated to energy storage further more you can spend your whole fourth year doing a project in a nuclear fission/ energy storage research project. Furthermore the materials department has professors that are researching into those areas but I’m not sure the eng sci department has the same. On the flip side I guess you could specialise into chem eng in engineering science but you’d still have to do other engineering streams as like minor options plus the project in year 4 for eng sci is shorter so you wouldn’t get spend as much time on your specific area of energy storage. Finally for career options, unless you want to go into fields of engineering that require mech eng or elec eng, then the options are the exact same. Both are MEng degrees like I said before so will both open doors do banking, finance, patent law, engineering (BP etc) and other things. IMO the materials degree is more interesting out of the two and whilst it’s more specialised, I think you’ll be able to get to chosen specialism faster. If you have any more questions, PM me and I’ll happily answer
Thanks for such a detailed answer, I'm gonna do a bit more research before making a final decision but your explanation really swayed me towards materials.
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Charbel30
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
You're basing this on what exactly?
I know someone who had done an eng sci degree at oxford and is currently pursuing a phd also in engineering at oxford. He told me its much more maths intensive, though the grade requirements on their own show that to begin with.

MatSci requirements: A*AA

EngSci: A*A*A

But please dont hesitate to correct me if you know otherwise, that would really help!
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Charbel30
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(Original post by NATHan w)
Hmmmm, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion materials isn’t as academically rigorous. For example the materials modelling option in 3rd is very hard as it uses advanced quantum mechanics and fairly hard maths to carry out certain simulations of materials. Materials is a combination of chemistry, physics and engineering, all rigorous courses so the combination of them would also be rigorous...
That makes sense, its just not that clear to me personally lmao- look at my reply to Plagioclase
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by Charbel30)
I know someone who had done an eng sci degree at oxford and is currently pursuing a phd also in engineering at oxford. He told me its much more maths intensive, though the grade requirements on their own show that to begin with.

MatSci requirements: A*AA

EngSci: A*A*A

But please dont hesitate to correct me if you know otherwise, that would really help!
Maths intensiveness is unrelated to how "academically rigorous" a degree is, and so are entry grade requirements (which is likely due to the relatively low number of applications Materials Science gets because it's a relatively unknown subject).
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Wurzite123
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(Original post by Charbel30)
I know someone who had done an eng sci degree at oxford and is currently pursuing a phd also in engineering at oxford. He told me its much more maths intensive, though the grade requirements on their own show that to begin with.

MatSci requirements: A*AA

EngSci: A*A*A

But please dont hesitate to correct me if you know otherwise, that would really help!
I mean the grade requirements have nothing to do with it. Physics requirements is A*AA and I can’t tel you for sure physics has more maths than both engineering science and materials science. Chemistry has A*AA requirement but has less maths than all of the above, so the requirement is insignificant compared to the amount of maths.

Honestly speaking, you’re friend is right in a sense but they haven’t given you the full picture. In first year, both engineering science and materials science learn basically the same maths with engineering science learning aswell Fourier transforms and a bit of statistics. The maths course in Materials recently got much harder and so I’d say it’s more on par with engineering science these days than back in his day. The thing is materials science has to somehow fit in chem and aswell as maths and physics but engineering science only has to deal with maths and physics. So in years 2/3 eng sci probably do more maths than matsci cause we’re doing additional chem. However, you can tailor the matsci degree to do more physics and maths eg taking the quantum chemistry option in year 2 (very maths heavy, essentially quantum mechanics beefed up), and the optics, materials modelling etc modules in year 3 which are maths heavy modules. Hope that helps
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Charbel30)
I know someone who had done an eng sci degree at oxford and is currently pursuing a phd also in engineering at oxford.
Oxford doesn't offer a PhD

(Original post by Charbel30)
He told me its much more maths intensive, though the grade requirements on their own show that to begin with.

MatSci requirements: A*AA

EngSci: A*A*A
I don't know the answer, but grade requirements could also reflect how much competition there is for places.

I doubt that many Oxford courses could be accused of not being academically rigorous. You need to pick what you're most interested in. I'd look very closely at the courses, and see what will interest you most.
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Charbel30
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
Oxford doesn't offer a PhD
DPhil*****
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