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Physics at Oxford

About the Course

The University of Oxford offers an undergraduate course in Physics. The course is constructed with the intention of providing high standard education. Physics focuses upon the study of universe from the smallest to the largest scale. Such kind of knowledge is basic to scientific progress. The language of Physics is mathematics. Organizing physical theories has occasionally required the development of new mathematical structures. However, physics is a basic science and a practical subject.

Physicists have to be able to build and design new instruments from satellite to evaluate the properties of planetary atmosphere to record-breaking strong magnetic fields for the study of condensed matter. Some of the amenities of modern life are based directly on the understanding provided by physics. Some techniques used in medical imaging have been derived directly from physics instrumentation. The internet was a spin from the communication requirement and information processing of high-energy particle physics. Looking to the future, growth areas, which may have a big impact are quantum computing, nanotechnology and molecular biophysics.

Physics at Oxford

The University of Oxford has one of the largest university physics departments in the UK as well as in the world. The department has an exceptional and very diverse research programme. The research is organized in six sub-departments: atomic and laser physics, oceanic and planetary physics, atmospheric, astrophysics, particle physics, condensed matter physics and theoretical physics.

Some of the researchers are also college physics tutors. Therefore, physics students will come into close contact with physicists working at the front position of their subject. The concentration of expertise also makes sure that the fourth year MPhys option courses bring students to the threshold of present research. Option work can be possible in other departments. The university has a well-equipped Physics Department with teaching laboratories. The department has superb library provision in the Radcliffe Science Library.

Physics is part of the Life Sciences Division, Physical and Mathematical Division, which also includes Computer Science, Chemistry, Engineering, Earth Sciences, Statistics, Mathematics, Biological Sciences and Materials Sciences. Some of these subjects are taught in joint schools. At the end of the first year, students may change to another degree course, subject to satisfactory first year exam results, approval of the college and availability of space on the course. In the subsequent years of the honour schools in Physical, Mathematics and Life Sciences, there are various opportunities to take options in other subjects.

Career Opportunities

Some of the Physics graduates go on to study for a higher degree leading to careers in research in industry or universities. Typical career areas include technical consultancy, research and development, manufacturing and science education. Many others get into occupations unrelated to their subject such as business and finance in which the problem-solving and analytical skills they have enhanced are highly sought after.

Recent Physics graduates comprise a post-doctoral research associate and a trainee clinical scientist. Karen, one of the Oxford graduates is presently working as an astronomy researcher at the University of Portsmouth. After graduation, Karen completed PhD in Astronomy in the US. The Oxford Physics programme is superb training for a career in research. There are many employers who seek for candidates with a degree in Physics. Upon completing graduation, students get into diverse career fields.

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