lauren.studies
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Hello,
I am really in the balance between either choosing a Physics or Theoretical physics degree. If I chose one over the other would this limit by job opportunities since the Theoretical has less practical? As I do not know what to do as a job I'd like to be able to open as many doors as possible. I really do need some advice on what they are both like and how they will shape my future. Oh also I know I'm taking a Masters degree too. I know they are largely the same for the first 3 years. I've been to open days online but I would just like some advice from you - the students so maybe you could tell me the advantages and disadvantages for example. I'm not going to Oxford or Cambridge or unis like that by the way. But I will be going to a Russel group.
Cheers.
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artful_lounger
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To be honest I doubt it will make much difference since most physics grads aren't going to get jobs "in physics" because...those don't really exist, outside of academia. They will probably be going into either a) generalist grad schemes (in finance, business, media etc) or in related areas in the engineering/computing sector or similar. In the latter case the work available to a physics grad will probably be software development or computational modelling oriented, in which case no particular practical background is going to be needed, and in the former case obviously no specific background at all is necessary.

The major potential limitation is if you did want to continue in academia and do a PhD, where a lack of practical experience may be a hindrance in an experimental PhD project (perhaps not necessarily as far as being accepted to one, but potentially when you are starting to do the actual work and realise you don't have any background in e.g. practical electronics or something that you really need). On that front you might want to try and supplement a TP course by making an effort to do some experimental work in the course (e.g. in independent project modules, doing things that require data collection and experimental design and not just data analysis) and/or taking up amateur practical electronics as a hobby on the side. If you go a typical physics route you might want to supplement your course in the other direction by taking more "theoretical" module options where available and if possible seeing if you can take some relevant modules in the maths department.
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lauren.studies
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
To be honest I doubt it will make much difference since most physics grads aren't going to get jobs "in physics" because...those don't really exist, outside of academia. They will probably be going into either a) generalist grad schemes (in finance, business, media etc) or in related areas in the engineering/computing sector or similar. In the latter case the work available to a physics grad will probably be software development or computational modelling oriented, in which case no particular practical background is going to be needed, and in the former case obviously no specific background at all is necessary.

The major potential limitation is if you did want to continue in academia and do a PhD, where a lack of practical experience may be a hindrance in an experimental PhD project (perhaps not necessarily as far as being accepted to one, but potentially when you are starting to do the actual work and realise you don't have any background in e.g. practical electronics or something that you really need). On that front you might want to try and supplement a TP course by making an effort to do some experimental work in the course (e.g. in independent project modules, doing things that require data collection and experimental design and not just data analysis) and/or taking up amateur practical electronics as a hobby on the side. If you go a typical physics route you might want to supplement your course in the other direction by taking more "theoretical" module options where available and if possible seeing if you can take some relevant modules in the maths department.
That is true and good points brought to the table there that I hadn't thought about, you know how you said choosing different modules. Like I said , I feel like im more leaning towards the theoretical as I am a real study geek. I know in theoretical there is definitely some practical work due to the IOP requiring you to have done some to get your degree. I don't mind practical work. But like I said my main issue was due to the lack of practical work in the theoretical course that , to an employer would look like I'm not very practical?In a theoretical physics degree is there any way of saying that you are practical? And I think that's an important skill to have?
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Ghostlady
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(Original post by lauren.studies)
Hello,
I am really in the balance between either choosing a Physics or Theoretical physics degree. If I chose one over the other would this limit by job opportunities since the Theoretical has less practical? As I do not know what to do as a job I'd like to be able to open as many doors as possible. I am kind of leaning towards theoretical but would it get boring without practical?I really do enjoy maths so that isn't a problem I do maths and further maths. I really do need some advice on what they are both like and how they will shape my future. Oh also I know I'm taking a Masters degree too. I know they are largely the same for the first 3 years. I've been to open days online but I would just like some advice from you - the students so maybe you could tell me the advantages and disadvantages for example. I'm not going to Oxford or Cambridge or unis like that by the way. But I will be going to a Russel group.
Cheers.
check out the universities and thier courses. I know this is not a russell group but lancaster has:
Physics,
Physics particle physics cosmology
Theoretical physics
physics with astrophysics
theoretical with mathermatics

They all start off with Physics as thier first year, then branch out in subequent years. So my daughter is going for Physics, particle physics and cosmology.
But, thats not to say after her first year she could change to Theoretical if she wanted to. We was told this during interview day that the possibility is there should after the first year you change your mind

So check out the courses, get in contact with theri departments by emailing them and see if the option to chose physics with the option to change to theoretical is something they offer if so, you have your options for a further year and be more knowledgable about the degree to make an more informed decision.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by lauren.studies)
That is true and good points brought to the table there that I hadn't thought about, you know how you said choosing different modules. Like I said , I feel like im more leaning towards the theoretical as I am a real study geek. I know in theoretical there is definitely some practical work due to the IOP requiring you to have done some to get your degree. I don't mind practical work. But like I said my main issue was due to the lack of practical work in the theoretical course that , to an employer would look like I'm not very practical?In a theoretical physics degree is there any way of saying that you are practical? And I think that's an important skill to have?
The thing is employers won't really care about that. Any "practicality" an employer will expect or be looking for will be from relevant work experience you do during your degree (e.g. summer internships etc). Lab practicals are just more academic work and won't be really seen any differently to a lecture based module; they want to see you doing professional work to be considered.
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Sinnoh
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You can change your mind after you've started and had a proper experience with labs and things at uni
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lauren.studies
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
You can change your mind after you've started and had a proper experience with labs and things at uni
You know what, I’ve had a private message from another user and did say something quite paramount about this . That if chose MPhys that I can CHOOSE some of the theoretical modules which means I’d have the best of both worlds. So is what I might aim for .
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