Dr John Magorrian, a Fellow and Tutor in Physics, teaches mainly in the areas of Quantum Mechanics and Astrophysics. His research interests lie in the dynamics of galaxies.
Dr Yulin Chen is a Fellow and Tutor in Physics. His research interests are in experimental Condensed Matter Physics.
About the Course
Unlike at most other universities in England, in Oxford one's activities are divided between the University and the College. In this respect, Physics is like other subjects in Oxford. Thus the lectures are arranged on a University basis, and students from the different colleges attend them together. Similarly, the examinations and laboratory work are University activities. Many societies and clubs also are organised at a University level. On the other hand, your accommodation is arranged through the College, and most students eat the majority of their meals in the College Hall. Your immediate social circle will probably be centred on the College, but because of the college system, your friends will not be restricted to your own subject. Your weekly tutorials are also a College matter. The College contains ample opportunities for a wide variety of sports for students of varying levels of ability.
Physics at Oxford
There are two Physics degree courses at Oxford: a three year BA and a four year MPhys. Students wishing to continue with a career in Physics after their undergraduate degree take the MPhys course. From the very beginning, you will be a Physicist - if you are uncertain about which science you wish to read and would like to avoid making a decision until after you have been at University for a year or two, then the Oxford courses are not the best for you. But if you are sure that you want to study Physics to a high level and learn about the current developments in research, Oxford has a great deal to offer. The Physics course also contains many options, and so you can choose those aspects which particularly interest you. University Examinations called Prelims are taken at the end of the first year. Examinations which count towards Finals are taken at the end of the second, third and fourth years. In addition project work, which is undertaken during the fourth year, will be assessed as part of Finals. It is on the basis of your Finals result alone that you obtain your Honours Degree.
Every student has at least one tutorial a week. Extra tutorials are arranged for students taking special subjects, and in the first year there are two tutorials each week (one each in Physics and in Mathematics). In general first, second and third year tutorials are in pairs or small classes, and sometimes you have tutorials on your own. The fourth year teaching is based on University classes.
At Jesus College we have three permanent Physics Fellows and two other tutors, whose research interests cover the main branches of Physics. This has the big advantage that the vast majority of tutorials for Jesus Physics students are given by their own College Tutors, who know them personally and are interested in their progress and welfare. This has resulted in Jesus students achieving excellent results, which are among the very best in the University. Because the tutorials are given to just one or two undergraduates at a time, they can be matched to the individual student’s needs. Their purpose is to guide you through the course, to ensure that you are making the progress of which you are capable, and to help you enjoy your course and life in Oxford.
Typically, your tutor will set you work to do one week, and then discuss it during the next tutorial. You are encouraged to bring any problems that you have encountered, any points from lectures or books that are obscure, topics that particularly interest you, etc. Your tutor, of course, also helps you decide what career would be most suitable for you, as well as more specific choices related to the University course.
There are no Joint Schools for Physics offered at Jesus College.
As there is a relatively strong bias towards Mathematics in the course, it is essential to study both Physics and Mathematics to A2 level. A good number of successful students have also taken Further Mathematics at A2 or AS level, but although this is desirable, it is not essential. Mechanics modules are the most helpful if you have the choice. Candidates are selected on the basis of academic record (e.g. GCSEs) and potential, as shown by their UCAS reference, performance in the written test and in interviews if shortlisted.
All candidates will be required to sit the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in schools on 6 November 2013. The test is administered by the Admissions Testing Service, and the registration deadline is 15 October 2013. For further details please see www.patoxford.org.uk. The PAT consists of two 1-hour written tests (one in Maths, one in Physics) at school in early November. Candidates may be required to bring examples of school or written work to the interviews.
In a total College entry of about 100 undergraduates, 8 are offered places in a typical year to read Physics. Conditional offers made to pre-A level candidates will be A*AA at A2 level, with A* in either Physics or Mathematics. (NB We do not require a grade A in Further Maths if taken, although many of our students will achieve this.) Offers to post A level candidates will be unconditional.
The College's friendly atmosphere ensures that new students meet those in higher years, and can benefit from their experience too. We usually have about a dozen graduate students in Physics working for their DPhil. They also meet with the Physics undergraduates within the College, so that undergraduates can hear directly about the joys and tribulations of being a research student. Many of these graduate students were Jesus undergraduates who continued with research for a Doctorate after completing Finals. We pride ourselves on the excellent results that Jesus students have continually achieved in Physics. This we hope to continue in the future and hence we look forward to welcoming new students of the highest calibre.
Deferred Entry: Applications for deferred entry to Jesus College are welcomed. You must apply for deferred entry at the time of application to Oxford: you cannot change your mind after an offer has been made. Please refer to departmental web sites for subject-specific advice. You should be aware that applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will generally be among the strongest of the cohort for their subject. We would not usually offer more than one or two deferred places per subject in order not to disadvantage the following year's candidates. In some cases, an applicant for deferred entry may be offered a place for non-deferred entry instead. If you require any further advice, please contact the Admissions Officer.
Postgraduate Studies and Careers
Postgraduate Research in the Department of Physics is organised in six sub-departments. The following degrees are offered:
- DPhil Astrophysics
- DPhil Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics
- DPhil Atomic and Laser Physics
- DPhil Condensed Matter Physics
- DPhil Particle Physics
All Oxford physics graduates either find immediate employment or go on to further study. Physicists take up an enormous variety of careers. A large proportion (40%) take higher degrees (at Oxford or elsewhere) with eventual careers in research laboratories or universities. Physicists are in strong demand in almost all professions, but especially those requiring numerate problem solving ability (IT, finance, technical consultancy, etc).
Preliminary Reading and Further Information
Last updated May 2013