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Is this a typical physics curriculum? 
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#1
Feb2007, 12:40 PM

P: 356

I'm highly considering transferring UC Irvine once I finish my last semester at my community college. I looked at UCI's physics curriculum and I'm a little worried about what I'm seeing
They have a course called "Computational Methods" that transfers take instead of the "Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences" course that sophomores take. The Computational Methods uses "Mathematical and numerical analysis using Mathematica and C programming, as applied to problems in physical science" I think the reason transfer take this class is because the upperdiv physics classes at UCI use Mathematica alot. Is this the case for other schools as well? They have a sequence called "Mathematical Physics" which focuses on "Complex variables; Legendre and Bessel functions; complete sets of orthogonal functions; partial differential equations; integral equations; calculus of variations; coordinate transformations; special functions and series" But the prerequisite to this is a quarter of upperdiv Quantum physics, and that requires a quarter of upperdiv E&M and classical mechanics. Isn't the mathematical physics class supposed to only have lowerdiv math and physics as its prerequisites? Their website also says that they assign homework problems that use Mathematica. This isn't a problem right? Their website is here: http://www.editor.uci.edu/0506/ps/ps.7.htm#gen99 The reason why I'm so concerned about this is that I will probably end up transferring to UCI or UCLA. UCI is alot closer to where I live so I can commute there instead of living in the dorm/apartment at UCLA. But UCLA's physics doesn't appear to have these conflicts. Any advice would be greatly appreciated 


#2
Feb2007, 12:48 PM

P: 179




#3
Feb2007, 01:51 PM

P: 356

By the way, since you went to UCI, how did you do? Are you completing a phD in physics? Did UCI prepare you well? How are the research opportunities there? 


#4
Feb2007, 04:51 PM

P: 179

Is this a typical physics curriculum?



#5
Feb2007, 05:38 PM

P: 372

My school apparently don't feel it's i) useful enough as a teaching aid or ii) worth the expense. We tend to use MATLAB, though I'm aware it's a somewhat different application. 


#6
Feb2007, 05:50 PM

P: 179




#7
Feb2007, 08:29 PM

P: 332

I have maple on my laptop, simply because we needed it for my calc 3 class, it came with the book, I do not know if it is only a year long license or what not, but I can take it anywhere with me. And my school makes maple and Mathematica available to all its students on almost any campus computer



#8
Feb2007, 11:52 PM

P: 906

As for Mathematica, I learned this software in college. It's extremely easy to use, and it is very useful as well. 


#9
Feb2107, 12:33 AM

P: 356

So I guess its typical if this math methods class is taken AFTER some physics courses. I thought it was crucial if I took this class before or at least at the same time as my upperdiv physics. Thanks for the advice guys!



#10
Feb2107, 11:18 AM

P: 360

Proton, come to UCSD, my friend!



#11
Feb2107, 11:38 AM

P: 356

I would, but I don't like the idea of taking TWO upperdiv nonscience/math classes as one of the graduation requirements.



#12
Feb2107, 11:52 AM

P: 360

I honestly think it's important for any practicing scientist (or really any person for that matter), to have a solid foundation in philosophy. It illustrates the very uncertainty in both our questions and the answers we provide to our questions. Expands one's awareness regarding the uncertainty that exists and deconstructs that concrete barrier most of us are born with. Then again, entheogen's serve a similar purpose, although only for a short duration, but I digress. 


#13
Feb2107, 12:00 PM

P: 179

A warning about UCSD and UCI: Both are socially dead. If you're looking to have an engaging social life, you probably should consider something else. Of course, that's also an upside because there's less things to distract you from your work.



#14
Feb2107, 12:18 PM

P: 906

In general, the prerequisites listed on your school's course catalog are an excellent measure of what you should expect. In fact, I find that they tend to exaggerate the prerequisites somewhat. 


#15
Feb2107, 12:29 PM

P: 360

Did you go to either one, or just have friends there? A lot of people at UCSD blaze, so that's pretty chill. 


#16
Feb2107, 12:44 PM

P: 179

Other schools have things to do, places to go. If you want to do anything while at Irvine, you have to drive 50 miles north to LA. 


#17
Feb2107, 12:53 PM

P: 360




#18
Feb2107, 01:23 PM

P: 356

"For UCSD? Just take some philosophy classes"
Of course philosophy is interesting. But if I want to learn more about it, I would rather learn it on my own free time, not have it conflict with my difficult math/physics classes "Nah, don't worry about it. You won't need any advanced mathematical methods for classical mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, or thermodynamics. Calc 1 and 2, diff eq, and multivariable are pretty much all you need." Thats a relief! "A warning about UCSD and UCI: Both are socially dead." That's what I want! As little distraction as possible 


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