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Further study in physics after a natural sciences degree?

I'm applying to university for next year, and have received an offer from UCL to study BSc natural sciences. If i were to go to UCL, I'd most likely choose physics and physical chemistry as my streams, with physics as my major focus later on. Right now, I think I would most likely be interested in continuing to study physics afterwards, for a masters (or beyond, but that's so far into the future that I can't say for certain). I also have applied to some pure physics courses.
My worry is that studying natural sciences rather than physics could make it harder to be considered for physics postgraduate studies in the future, as naturally I wouldn't cover absolutely everything a pure physics student would during the natsci degree. Is that a legitimate concern? I do think I'd enjoy studying natsci more than pure physics, but if it limits my options later then I wouldn't be so sure.
Original post by AdamEst
I'm applying to university for next year, and have received an offer from UCL to study BSc natural sciences. If i were to go to UCL, I'd most likely choose physics and physical chemistry as my streams, with physics as my major focus later on. Right now, I think I would most likely be interested in continuing to study physics afterwards, for a masters (or beyond, but that's so far into the future that I can't say for certain). I also have applied to some pure physics courses.
My worry is that studying natural sciences rather than physics could make it harder to be considered for physics postgraduate studies in the future, as naturally I wouldn't cover absolutely everything a pure physics student would during the natsci degree. Is that a legitimate concern? I do think I'd enjoy studying natsci more than pure physics, but if it limits my options later then I wouldn't be so sure.

Not necessarily a barrier. Ultimately a PhD is a very focused project in a specific area and in most areas you aren't going to use every field of physics. You may also find in some areas the background built up by whatever other area(s) you study are very useful. So you may have as good a chance or even a better chance.

Masters degrees will probably be less choosy but you may just not be able to take certain options within the masters course if they require a particular background previously. I think if your "major" area is physics, especially given a "minor" area in physical chemistry most physics masters courses would be reasonably satisfied you've covered a suitable range of relevant material.

Looking at the course options for UCL I think it would be hard not to cover basically more or less everything you'd do in a physics degree anyway (granted some of it from a physical chemistry perspective but it's the same stuff...) unless you just completely chose not to take any EM options or something (which would probably be inadvisable). Physical chemistry is pretty much just the QM and thermodynamics/statistical physics material physicists do anyway, just usually with a touch less mathematical formalism perhaps?
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger

Not necessarily a barrier. Ultimately a PhD is a very focused project in a specific area and in most areas you aren't going to use every field of physics. You may also find in some areas the background built up by whatever other area(s) you study are very useful. So you may have as good a chance or even a better chance.

Masters degrees will probably be less choosy but you may just not be able to take certain options within the masters course if they require a particular background previously. I think if your "major" area is physics, especially given a "minor" area in physical chemistry most physics masters courses would be reasonably satisfied you've covered a suitable range of relevant material.

Looking at the course options for UCL I think it would be hard not to cover basically more or less everything you'd do in a physics degree anyway (granted some of it from a physical chemistry perspective but it's the same stuff...) unless you just completely chose not to take any EM options or something (which would probably be inadvisable). Physical chemistry is pretty much just the QM and thermodynamics/statistical physics material physicists do anyway, just usually with a touch less mathematical formalism perhaps?


Thank you that's very helpful
Original post by AdamEst
I'm applying to university for next year, and have received an offer from UCL to study BSc natural sciences. If i were to go to UCL, I'd most likely choose physics and physical chemistry as my streams, with physics as my major focus later on. Right now, I think I would most likely be interested in continuing to study physics afterwards, for a masters (or beyond, but that's so far into the future that I can't say for certain). I also have applied to some pure physics courses.
My worry is that studying natural sciences rather than physics could make it harder to be considered for physics postgraduate studies in the future, as naturally I wouldn't cover absolutely everything a pure physics student would during the natsci degree. Is that a legitimate concern? I do think I'd enjoy studying natsci more than pure physics, but if it limits my options later then I wouldn't be so sure.

Hi

I'm Oliver and currently a 4th year Natural Sciences student at Lancaster. I'm currently applying for further study at the moment so thought I'd share a bit about my experience!
I'm taking synthetic chemistry and biochemistry pathways in my degree and am looking to go onto future study in chemistry. Most if not all of your time at this level is spent carrying out research and this is usually in a fairly specific area of your subject which you will have studied through your natural sciences pathway. For example for me, I feel that I have as much knowledge in synthetic chemistry as a single honours chemistry student are therefore have had no issues applying for these further study programs.
Furthermore, many of these specific research areas are interdisciplinary in nature (biological chemistry for drug discovery as an example) are therefore having experience in multiple subjects can be very beneficial when applying.

I hope this helps and feel free to ask me any other question :smile:

Oliver (student ambassador)

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