The Masters Course is a four-year-course and this was what I originally signed up for through UCAS. I was relieved to find out that the first two years of this ‘integrated masters’ course and the first two years of the three-year ‘bachelors’ in Physics course were exactly the same, so my decision wasn’t written in stone. I ended up enjoying the course so much that I stuck around for all four years anyway!
Most students who study Physics don’t end up pursuing careers in science. The good thing about a course like Physics is that it allows students to pursue their interests and curiosity while acquiring mathematical and problem-solving skills which are valued in many careers. For me this was: learning about stars, the universe, and the weird world of quantum physics. During my degree, I found out that the three-year bachelors course might be more suited to those students who go on to follow careers outside of science. Among my course-mates and friends this included occupations as varied as the finance sector and patent law. On the other hand, the four-year ‘Masters’ course is preferable for those who want to continue in the field of science, whether that is in research or industry, or for those who haven’t figured out yet what to do after university.
What I particularly enjoyed was the freedom I had in picking modules in the last years of my course. While I only had one option to pick between two modules in my first year of study (I went to the lectures for both of them), the freedom of choice steadily increased throughout the course. This also included the freedom to choose modules from other courses, such as languages or business-school subjects. I even took a philosophy module at university!
In my final year we were allowed to pick all of our modules ourselves. Personally I favoured astrophysics modules – ‘High Energy Astrophysics’, ‘The Distant Universe’, and ‘General Relativity’ among my choices in my fourth year. We were also allowed to pick our own research-project, which was carried out with a partner with help from a supervisor, and involved doing real research in the field. This gave me the opportunity to carry out a project whose aim was to find stars in the night sky which might be linked to the origin of gravitational waves.
For anyone with an interest in Physics, I would highly recommend looking into the course as a path of future study. Even if you are not certain about your career, if you enjoy the subject your studies will not be wasted. It is far easier and more exciting to learn about what genuinely interests you than picking a degree you are not sure will interest you, and employers are always on the lookout for physics graduates. Also, you get to spend lots of time impressing your friends with things you learn from your lectures – like supernovae, black holes, and explaining why the sky is blue (as well as confusing them with quantum physics). You might even find that during your degree you come to like the course so much that you decide to follow a career in science.
So what are you waiting for? Learn more about what you can do with a Physics degree on the UCAS website here!