Bill Johnson

The School of Physics and Astronomy at Manchester has an excellent reputation for research, and this knowledge and enthusiasm feeds into their teaching and is passed on to those of us who study here.

I always enjoyed studying science at school and college, so when it came to deciding on a degree, I chose my favourite course at the time, which was physics.

I had an interest in astrophysics during my A levels, so I initially enrolled to study Physics with Astrophysics, but chose to switch to straight physics during my first year. I was enjoying all the subjects in the course, and felt that I would be limiting my options by having to take the additional astrophysics units.

Choosing Manchester

Manchester particularly appealed to me after I attended an open day here. The staff that gave talks and showed us around were friendly and really showed their excitement for the specialisms they covered.

The School of Physics and Astronomy at Manchester has an excellent reputation for research, and this knowledge and enthusiasm feeds into the teaching and is passed on to those of us who study here.

I have most enjoyed the Applied Nuclear Physics and Laser Technology units, which have helped confirm that my interests lie in the applied side of physics. As such, I am starting a job in October with the Nucleargraduates Programme for the nuclear industry.

In this last year, I have been spending two days a week completing my masters’ project, which has been hugely interesting. Up until Christmas, my partner and I were writing a computer simulation of a plasma from scratch, and have since moved on to studying the properties of correlated alpha and gamma decays. While being completely different projects, they both have allowed us the independence to organise the project ourselves.

Student life

The University is situated close to the centre of the city; around a 20 minute walk. There is a very regular bus service that runs all day and night. In the city, there is a massive selection of shops, pubs, and clubs, all aimed and priced at the huge number of students that live around Manchester.

I joined the Ip Man Wing Chun Martial Arts Society, which has been a brilliant experience. Learning something completely new and stepping outside my comfort zone has developed my confidence in tackling and adapting to different environments.

Thinking of choosing Physics at Manchester?

Choosing to study physics was a brilliant decision and one I would highly recommend to anybody with an interest in science.

We do spend more time in lectures (10 to 12 hours a week) and laboratories (from 9am to 5pm, once a week during the first three years, and then twice a week in the final year) than those who study on less scientific courses, but because of the wide variety of unit choices and lab experiments, the work itself is stimulating and enjoyable.

I think it's important to have fun and cut loose outside of your studies, and so getting involved with a society is an experience that is an important part of university life. The Physics Society does host some extremely fun socials, particularly at Halloween and Christmas (where almost every single person is wearing identical Santa costumes!).

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