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Bristol or Warwick for Maths? watch

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    I visited Bristol on Monday. Overall, I thought it was brilliant. Shame that some of the incredibly beautiful buildings are overshadowed by the buildings that are ugly as hell. Pretty much my only complaint. However, the tour wasn't specific to my subject and so I was wondering about the course. Pure maths, that is.

    I'm yet to visit Warwick, but I hear it's either a love it or hate it place. The travel times to anywhere lively are a bit of a put off. However it does offer one of the best maths courses.

    Opinions. Help? :rolleyes:
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    Warwick definitely springs to mind when I think of maths. Bristol isn't going to be bad either though. Visit Warwick then decide
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    Warwick has a strong reputation in mathematics when compared with Bristol. Most say Warwick is second only to Cambridge in that respect.

    Personally, if given the chance, I'd take Warwick though. Sure, the location isn't amazing, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
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    Warwick is stronger for maths, especially pure, but Bristol isn't far behind.
    I chose Bristol over Warwick because I found it a nicer city and haven't regretted it since.
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    The new student union at Warwick should be pretty lively once it's finished.
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    Warwick over Bristol for maths, definitely.
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    Bristol is proving itself to be up there with COWI, so I'd think carefully. Both will deliver high quality Maths courses. Perhaps the consideration of working and living at a campus or in a city might be important (it was for me!).
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    Four years ago I chose Warwick over Bristol and my other offers and am happy I did so.

    Regarding travel times, when I went to Bristol most of the halls of residence were quite a way out of the main city, resulting in having to travel some distance to the university. I'm unsure whether this will have changed over the last few years but it's definitely something worth looking into.

    If you avoid rush hours the bus travel times between Warwick University and Coventry / Leamington Spa aren't as bad as they are sometimes made out to be, and the cost of living is probably cheaper in the West Midlands rather than Bristol. There is also the new student union.

    Regarding the courses, I've noticed at Warwick your first year counts for 10% while at Bristol your first year doesn't count for any credit and Bristol seem to have a smaller selection of high level pure maths courses than Warwick, although they do seem to lecture more statistics in their department (Warwick have a separate statistics department from which you can take courses). Warwick also has, as well as tutorials by staff, twice a week supervisions for first year students in groups of four or five by fourth year or PhD students which can be a real strength.

    All that said, you'll probably find the decision easier, one way or another, after you've visited Warwick. Above all, make sure you go where you want to go rather than where you think you should go.
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    (Original post by .ACS.)
    Warwick has a strong reputation in mathematics when compared with Bristol. Most say Warwick is second only to Cambridge in that respect.
    Most say Oxford is second.
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    My latest comparison puts Bristol up there with COWI on many research quality measures. For example Bristol has been way out ahead of COWI on research grant income (yes that does matter) since at least Jan 2008 when I started looking. One factor to be cautious in the comparison is the strength of Bristol's separate Engineering Maths department responsible for a large part of the income.

    Also check when Bristol is likely to get its new building. As well as being nice for students a nice new building gives the whole department a boost (as it did here at Manchester). Oxford also have plans for a nice new building. Don't know how the plans of either are affected by the recession.

    Both Warwick and Bristol are "salients". Make of that what you will!

    All that said the usual caveats apply. Check out the course, the feel of the place, the location.
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    (Original post by BillLionheart)
    One factor to be cautious in the comparison is the strength of Bristol's separate Engineering Maths department responsible for a large part of the income.
    This is true, but at least when it comes to EPSRC funding, even when you remove funding for Engineering Maths, Bristol's mathematics department still received around ten million pounds in funding (and a further eight million for engineering mathematics), compared with eleven million for Warwick and Oxford's Mathematical Institute and Imperial's nine million.
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    (Original post by MrShifty)
    This is true, but at least when it comes to EPSRC funding, even when you remove funding for Engineering Maths, Bristol's mathematics department still received around ten million pounds in funding (and a further eight million for engineering mathematics), compared with eleven million for Warwick and Oxford's Mathematical Institute and Imperial's nine million.
    I agree. Of course one caveat to remember is that there is funding from other sources. Eg Oxford has significant funding from KAUST and Man Investments.
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    (Original post by ShortRef)
    Most say Oxford is second.
    What makes you think that? :confused:
    I would have said Cambridge but I'm unsure.
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    (Original post by Tony168)
    What makes you think that? :confused:
    I would have said Cambridge but I'm unsure.
    Cambridge does have a longer history of mathematical excellence. That said, Oxford's recent RAE peformance leads me to think that their maths departments are equally excellent.
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    (Original post by Krush)
    Cambridge does have a longer history of mathematical excellence. That said, Oxford's recent RAE peformance leads me to think that their maths departments are equally excellent.
    No way! Cambridge is simply the best for maths and I say this as someone rejected by Cambridge. I believe Oxford lags a long way behind. In my personal experience the quality of undergrads at Cambridge is far higher than at Oxford.

    I was also rejected by Warwick which IMO (and most other ppls) is second best for maths - just look at the entrance requirements. Cambridge and Warwick are the only unis to requires STEP. Oxforrd requires only 3As (although it does take into account the TSA) so the quality of undergrad is naturally going to be higher at Warwick.

    rant over
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    (Original post by soundofsilence)
    No way! Cambridge is simply the best for maths and I say this as someone rejected by Cambridge. I believe Oxford lags a long way behind. In my personal experience the quality of undergrads at Cambridge is far higher than at Oxford.

    I was also rejected by Warwick which IMO (and most other ppls) is second best for maths - just look at the entrance requirements. Cambridge and Warwick are the only unis to requires STEP. Oxforrd requires only 3As (although it does take into account the TSA) so the quality of undergrad is naturally going to be higher at Warwick.

    rant over
    Undergraduate entry requirements has absolutely nothing to do with research quality. Cambridge is NOT miles above other departments and I say this as someone who has completed a maths degree at Warwick and has looked a lot into the respective strenghts/weaknesses of different departments in the UK in order to pursue a PhD.
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    (Original post by soundofsilence)
    No way! Cambridge is simply the best for maths
    Debatable.

    and I say this as someone rejected by Cambridge.
    Irrelevant.

    I believe Oxford lags a long way behind.
    Wrong.

    In my personal experience the quality of undergrads at Cambridge is far higher than at Oxford.
    What is your personal experience?

    Warwick [...] IMO (and most other ppls) is second best for maths
    Wrong.

    just look at the entrance requirements.
    LOL.

    Cambridge and Warwick are the only unis to requires STEP.
    Wrong.

    Oxforrd requires only 3As (although it does take into account the TSA)
    Wrong.

    so the quality of undergrad is naturally going to be higher at Warwick.
    Wrong.
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    (Original post by soundofsilence)
    No way! Cambridge is simply the best for maths and I say this as someone rejected by Cambridge. I believe Oxford lags a long way behind. In my personal experience the quality of undergrads at Cambridge is far higher than at Oxford.

    I was also rejected by Warwick which IMO (and most other ppls) is second best for maths - just look at the entrance requirements. Cambridge and Warwick are the only unis to requires STEP. Oxforrd requires only 3As (although it does take into account the TSA) so the quality of undergrad is naturally going to be higher at Warwick.

    rant over
    Considering the Oxford and Cambridge courses are more identical than different, I think this is a rather churlish way of looking at the quality of courses. You're also forgetting that Warwick don't interview, or, at least they didn't interview me a couple of years ago! That's probably the most important part of the Oxford admissions process. Because many of the candidates for Oxford and Warwick are more able than just the 3As required (a guy in my college has 4As, a few distinctions in AEAs and a S,S in Step!) it's important to discriminate further, which Warwick does by setting higher entry standards in STEP. Oxford feels it's more indicative to test aptitude through the Oxford Admissions Test and an interview, rather than testing through STEP, which is challenging, but I'm definitely of the opinion that it's not the best way to test people - a lot the difficulty with STEP is stylistic, which just requires a lot of practice, and some schools or colleges may be better at giving more support/help, which makes the test, to some extent, unfair.
    The Oxford Test is seemingly much easier (partially because of it's nature, partially because the exam is much earlier in the year), but I think it still tests things all the things that a Mathematician needs to succeed in an undergraduate degree (fluency, creativity, logicality etc.). I'm not saying that any one of Warwick, Oxford or Cambridge are better than the other, but I think it's important to realise that they are all remarkably similar in terms of course content and standard (something I think is much easier to judge once you've done a few years of university Maths).
    At the end of the day, COWI is grouped together because they are all good.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    Debatable.



    Irrelevant.



    Wrong.



    What is your personal experience?



    Wrong.



    LOL.



    Wrong.



    Wrong.



    Wrong.
    :mmm:
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    I have to say in the end that while many important points have been made above one has to acknowledge that in the end at Cambridge they punt from standing on a raised deck while at Oxford punts have no raised after deck and one stands on the floor of the punt. As the latter is obviously more sensible and one is less likely to fall in I think Oxford is clearly a superior place to study whatever the RAE results, the presence of the Newton Institute, the more stringent entry requirements....

    A more enjoyable punting experience will surely lead, in the end, to a better quality of mathematics
 
 
 
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