Hello everyone, it’s the eighth week of term now which means only 3 weeks until we finish for Christmas. The year is passing by too fast! I’ve finished my group labs for this term, plus the programming and electronics workshops but GRePs start next week (group research projects) and deadlines for optional modules are coming very soon, so I thought it would be a good time to just talk about what the options are like at Leicester if you don’t know already. Firstly here is the course structure for a BSc course and for a MPhys course which includes all the optional modules for all years.
When you apply to do physics at University of Leicester there are several different degree pathways to choose from called “flavours”. Apart from doing a straight physics degree (as a BSc or MPhys) you can do physics with nanotechnology, astrophysics, space science & technology, or planetary science. These subjects are the research specialisms of the university so the lectures are by people who are most probably heavily involved in new research in these areas and are experts in their field. In first year the options are worth 2.5 credits each and this goes up to 5 credits each in second year.
I chose to take the straight physics pathway and I’m doing the BSc. This was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t really studied any of the flavour subjects before so I couldn’t really rank one topic over another and I wanted to try all of them. This basically gives me free choice of any of the optional modules, of which you pick two out of five to study per semester. Hopefully this will show that I have a range of physics knowledge in several areas by the time I graduate. Many people are on different pathways though, which means that they must take a certain number of credits in their chosen specialism over their degree, or else they will end up with just a physics degree instead. However even if you are on one of the pathways you still get to explore the other subjects available since there is usually only one optional module per specialism per term. I hope that doesn’t sound too confusing. If you are really passionate about astrophysics for example and want to do research in that field in the future then it may be more to your advantage to be on the astrophysics strand. The only time that a “physics with astrophysics” degree differs from a “physics” degree is in the optional modules. All the core modules and labs are taken by everyone in the year group, so don’t worry about who is on your strand too much, it is easy to change your degree flavour if you decide you are not happy with the one you chose.
This semester I have settled on the optional modules fractals and chaos (not associated with any pathway) and Jovian planets (a planetary science/space science module). Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be blogging a bit about what these options are like and hopefully it might inspire you to explore them further.
Post about Fractals and Chaos
Post about Jovian Planets