Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

3 maths and 1 physics doable?

  1. Nov 22, 2011 #1
    I know questions like this have been asked before, but my situation's a bit different so I was wondering how you guys think it would apply to me.

    I'm considering taking Physics II (e+m), calc 3, linear algebra, and a proof based course using reed's 'fundamental ideas of analysis'.

    This seems like a heavy course load, but I took ap physics c, so I already have a strong understanding of most of the content in physics II (got a 4 on the test, but my school doesn't accept ap credit for physics for whatever reason) so I don't think i'll have to work too hard on that class.

    Also, I'm currently taking (and flunking) the linear algebra class due to misreading 2 questions on the midterm and solving them backwards (learned my lesson, no more all nighters the day before a test...).

    Anyway, considering that I've seen most of the content in two of these classes, would it be reasonable to take on a schedule like this, or might it be a little much?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2011 #2
    i would never want to take a semester like that if i could avoid it, but that's me personally. . . if you have to do it, then you have to do it, but there is no reason to rush things.
  4. Nov 22, 2011 #3
    It seems doable. You'll have to work a bit harder than usual, but that shouldn't be a problem...
  5. Nov 22, 2011 #4
    No, I do not recommend this course load. I already know that doing 2 physics class and 1 math class a quarter is very demanding. I would assume you could do well in 2 or 3 of your classes at the expense of the other 1 or 2 classes. I would stick to 3 physics/math classes a quarter (or semester) at most. Even though you might have done well in AP physics, even an introductory course in physics at the university level (assuming you are a physics or engineering major, they had different "introductory classes" at my school depending if you were physics/engineering or biology/chemistry and then a very simple one for humanities majors) is much harder than high school. I do not think AP physics, or a good grade on the AP test prepared me enough for my first year of my physics degree, and I only took 1 physics class, 1 math class, and 1 GE. I would say just try to take it easy, take 3 classes, and see how that feels. If you really think you can handle more after that, then you can always sign up for more next semester or quarter. There is no need to rush things (except I guess tuition is getting higher and higher ever semester).
  6. Nov 22, 2011 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    What are you taking for your fifth course?
  7. Nov 22, 2011 #6
    I should actually have said that my school was on a quarter system (thats only 10 weeks for the quarter), so maybe I can't really compare to your situation. I just know that 3 math/physics classes in just 10 weeks is a lot (totally doable), but 4 would be suicide IMHO (for the quarter system!)
  8. Nov 22, 2011 #7
    I'm in physics 1 right now, and it's a lot easier than the ap mechanics portion, so i'm thinking that physics 2 wouldn't be a problem (i'd have the same professor). However, it may just be that they want to ease you into physics with the mechanics part.

    The reason i'm considering this courseload is that I want to study abroad for the fall semester next year, and the place that I want to go to doesn't offer an equivalent of the proof based course, and i'd like to have that out of the way so I can move onto part two of that course when I get back in the spring semester (part two isn't offered in fall)

    If I take a fifth course, it's just going to be a voice training lesson that meets an hour a week, so that's no problem at all.
  9. Nov 22, 2011 #8
    How exactly would anyone striving for a physics degree be able to obtain it in four years without a course load such as this? It's not uncommon for one to be taking even 5 science courses at once in upper level undergraduate courses... In fact, I generally take 6 courses, with 5 being science related and 1 course for general requirements.
  10. Nov 22, 2011 #9
    Why are (most) of the people in this thread against it? You have to take classes in order to graduate. I'm taking 4 engineering classes, 1 general education class, and 1 physics lab in the spring and my advisor was perfectly chill with it.
  11. Nov 22, 2011 #10
    Like I said, a quarter is 10 weeks long, shorter than a semester. I tried to explain this earlier...
  12. Nov 22, 2011 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor

    It depends on the student and his or her abilities. When I was an undergrad, I regularly took 20 units per quarter (because I'm cheap and wanted my money's worth). I didn't think anything of it, but my peers thought it was crazy because they had their hands full with the normal 16-unit load.

    Given the OP's background, what he or she is proposing doesn't sound unreasonable. I'd go for it.
  13. Nov 22, 2011 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    So really then the point is what is Sorgen's courseload compared to a standard courseload?

    The subtext that I getting from a question like that is that a courseload consisting of these four particular courses may be difficult and result in less free time, or perhaps lower marks than if they were taken stretched out over time.

    Naturally how the courseload affects you is going to come down to the type of student you are. Some students thrive under a focused semester. Others need to switch intellectual gears in order to be at their best. On top of that you have a whole bunch of other factors that will affect what you're doing. Do you have kids? Do you have to balance school with a 40 hour work week? Do you have a disability?

    On the other hand, it's tempting to just tell you to "cowboy up."

    The fact of the matter is that if you're majoring in physics or math and seriously contemplating going on to graduate work, your workload is only going to get harder and more focussed. You are after all in doing this degree because you enjoy these subjects aren't you?
  14. Nov 22, 2011 #13
    The only potential problem I see here is that a lot of people have a hard time in real analysis, if they are not used to doing proofs.
  15. Nov 23, 2011 #14
    Not if you really want to learn. If you want to have a rudimentary understanding then by all means go ahead. You can get away with memorizing a lot of things in engineering, or even math and physics, but if you want to become truly good at math and physics you should aim for a deeper understanding.

    Its fine if you know you can do it for sure. But this doesn't seem the case here; hence the topic.
  16. Nov 23, 2011 #15
    What i took this semester was Physics II(e+m) with the lab, calc 3, linear algebra, and discrete math. I have to study a lot but that's what college is all about. Also my grades are pretty good. But if you working a lot i would not suggest this.
  17. Nov 23, 2011 #16
    I had a semester like this and it was my favorite ever. I'm not a perfect student but with Calc 3, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Physics 2, and statics, I was able to pull a 3.78. You probably can too. The classes are all so interesting at this level and don't quite yet touch upon the "ridiculousness" that you may encounter at upper level math/physics courses. Just work hard, make sure you understand the homework, study for EVERY test, and you should be all right.
  18. Nov 25, 2011 #17
    I've had terms like this and it really isn't so bad as long as you don't fall behind on your studying. Intro to analysis can be a bit rough. A lot of people failed that one in my class. If you're having trouble with linalg, I'd say lighten the load a bit.
  19. Nov 25, 2011 #18
    It's doable, just be ready to work hard for A's.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook