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Physics and Philosophy at Oxford

About the Course

The University of Oxford offers an undergraduate course in Physics and Philosophy. It is rewarding and demanding course combining fundamental and most rigorous subjects in the sciences and arts. It seeks the understanding of the nature of reality and students' knowledge of it. Traditionally, there have been strong associations between philosophy and physics and the stimulus for each discipline lies in the part of the other. The combination of the two provides a solid background from which to proceed to graduate study or to pursue other careers.

Physics and Philosophy at Oxford

The University of Oxford has one of the largest physics departments in the UK with an excellent and wide research programme. The broad range of expertise available in the department makes sure the undergraduate curriculum is updated in the context of developments at the research frontier.

The Philosophy Faculty at Oxford is the largest in the UK and one of the most influential in the world. The faculty admits over five hundred undergraduates annually. It has well-stocked library and other facilities as among the best in the country. Many graduates and undergraduates reading Philosophy with a variety of other disciplines afford the opportunity to take part in a lively and diverse philosophical community.

The research group in philosophy of physics at Oxford is extremely active with interests in foundations of classical statistical mechanics, classical space-time theories, quantum field theory, quantum mechanics and the quantum gravity. The research group is largest of its kind in the UK and among the leading in the world.

Physics and Philosophy will be studied in parallel during the first three years. The physics communicates to the more theoretical side of the standard three-year Oxford Physics course whilst the philosophy lays emphasis upon modern philosophy and especially on metaphysics and the theory of knowledge. Students who are going on to the MPhysPhil in the fourth year may specialize in either Philosophy or Physics or continue with their study of both disciplines and their interrelations.

The bridging subject, philosophy of physics is studied at Oxford in each of the first three years and is an option in the fourth year. The department organizes special lectures, which are given in this subject together with classes and tutorials. It is also possible to spend a fourth year in an exchange scheme at Princeton University.

Career Opportunities

The Oxford graduates in Physics and Philosophy offer an unusual and valuable combination of skills to employers in industry and commerce. Approximately forty percent students go on to study for a higher degree. Some of the students enter science professions unrelated to their subject. Recent graduates have got into sectors as diverse as finance and law and include an auditor of central government departments, a technical policy adviser for a security agency and a solicitor. Upon completing the course, students get into different fields.


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