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Maths/Physics at Oxbridge

Hi,

I'm currently in Year 11 and thinking about university courses. I'll be taking Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Computer Science for A-Levels and am planning to pursue a degree in a Maths/Physics related field.

For context, I'm living in Oxfordshire so Oxford uni will be closer to home, and looking at the courses, the MMathPhys sounds exciting! Oxford uni’s also got the UK’s largest Quantum research centre which is a field I am interested to work in the future.

With regards to Cambridge, their Part III course and first three-year modules look not too dissimilar to Oxford's. I would be applying to do Maths with Physics for the first year and continue with Maths Tripos. However, I am yet to visit Cambridge and get a "feel" of the place. It seems like a beautiful and lovely place to live, certainly a change from Oxford, but I could be saving on accommodation costs if I were to apply and get accepted to Oxford.

My overall priority remains the course and the content, and it would be great if someone who's experienced the Oxbridge Maths courses could tell me more about them! I'd be really grateful to hear if there are any major differences I ought to keep in mind when applying.

Knowing that Oxbridge isn't the only university that provides Maths/Physics courses, please also let me know of other universities that are rated the best for Theoretical Physics/Quantum computing, etc.

Many thanks,
Note that I believe you're typically required to live in college at Oxford while you are there? So you may end up having the same kind of maintenance costs at both. Also worth noting if you live in your family home, you get a (much) reduced maintenance loan in view of that.

The MMathPhys was I believe designed to be the Oxford counterpart for Part III Maths for those focusing on theoretical physics (Part III does allow you to specialise in many other, non-physics related areas as well though). For that purpose I think the two are largely similar.

I would say though that often living away from your family home can be a formative experience that many get to experience through going away to uni. There is perhaps something to be said for considering that factor too!
Original post by artful_lounger
Note that I believe you're typically required to live in college at Oxford while you are there? So you may end up having the same kind of maintenance costs at both. Also worth noting if you live in your family home, you get a (much) reduced maintenance loan in view of that.

The MMathPhys was I believe designed to be the Oxford counterpart for Part III Maths for those focusing on theoretical physics (Part III does allow you to specialise in many other, non-physics related areas as well though). For that purpose I think the two are largely similar.

I would say though that often living away from your family home can be a formative experience that many get to experience through going away to uni. There is perhaps something to be said for considering that factor too!

Thank you!

I may be wrong, but I thought for Oxford, you only get guaranteed college accommodation for the first year of the course. Whereas most colleges in Cambridge provide accommodation for the entire course… So I could live in college accommodation for the first year and possibly commute from home for the remainder.

However, I do also agree that living away from home would allow me to gain some independence and develop skills I may not be able to as effectively as otherwise. Moreover, I don't really get to go out with friends very often due to my parents being quite restrictive so I personally would want to move out when I can. Still, would I really lose a lot by living at home during my years at uni? Is that something worth sacrificing if I were to not move out to reduce my maintenance loan?
Original post by AMBITIOUSLEARNER
Thank you!

I may be wrong, but I thought for Oxford, you only get guaranteed college accommodation for the first year of the course. Whereas most colleges in Cambridge provide accommodation for the entire course… So I could live in college accommodation for the first year and possibly commute from home for the remainder.

However, I do also agree that living away from home would allow me to gain some independence and develop skills I may not be able to as effectively as otherwise. Moreover, I don't really get to go out with friends very often due to my parents being quite restrictive so I personally would want to move out when I can. Still, would I really lose a lot by living at home during my years at uni? Is that something worth sacrificing if I were to not move out to reduce my maintenance loan?

Depends on which college you're in - I think even those that don't guarantee accommodation for all years of the course normally offer it for 1st and 3rd year. Some colleges have accommodation for all years I believe though. Also even if you are living out of college, I believe the university as a whole requires you live within 25 miles of Carfax Tower anyway (so depending on exactly where your family lives, you may still need to live outside of your family home paying for your own rent anyway).

Honestly reducing your maintenance loan is really not a goal worth aiming for. Functionally the student debt you get from SFE is virtually a non-factor. It gets written off 40 years after you take out the loan, it's essentially impossible to default on, you only make repayments when earning over the threshold and then only repay a proportion of your income. It also doesn't affect your credit score. In most practical ways it's effectively a graduate tax rather than a loan. There's really no reason to not take the maximum maintenance loan, and unless you wouldn't be able to afford a given uni with the maximum maintenance loan there's not much reason to have that restrict your choices artificially.
So it's just a case of which course I prefer over the other? I'll hopefully be visiting Cambridge on their open day this summer which should help with the "feel" of the town as well! Oxford would be 20 mins drive from where I currently live and it's about 15 miles from Carfax tower.

Thank you for clarifying the student debt! It doesn't seem that of a major factor compared to others.
(edited 1 year ago)

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