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Schools A question about university courses

  1. Jul 10, 2011 #1
    I am going into my first year of university in science, it is a general first year and I want to leave the door open to go into either physics(particle) or biochemistry. The courses I took are general chemistry, biology, integral and differential calculus, linear algebra and finally physics. Does this seem like too much of a work load, or will this be good to allow me to find which truly peeks my interests?

    Thanks for your advice in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2011 #2
    Three science in different subjects and two math classes? I think it's going to be very rough for you.
  4. Jul 10, 2011 #3


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    It's certainly possible, and most physics majors end up taking about this number of physics/math classes towards the end of their undergraduate degree. The only issue here is that it's your first semester. There's really no way to tell how you'll react to the workload and whatnot unless you try it. So give it a go, but do not be afraid to drop a class and/or switch to a more liberal arts requirement or something like that. Don't go thinking that dropping a class automatically means you're a bad scientist or will never get into graduate school.
  5. Jul 10, 2011 #4
    It's true that physics majors often take three physics classes and two math classes at the same time, but this isn't three physics classes. It's a general chemistry class, a biology class, and a physics class. There is little to no reinforcement of principles between these fields, at least at the freshman level. Believe me, I did physics, chemistry, and calculus in the same semester -- twice -- and it's pain.
  6. Jul 10, 2011 #5
    So do you think it would make sense to drop linear algebra and take a course like psychology? If I don't take it will i still be eligible to major in physics if I decide to go that route?
  7. Jul 10, 2011 #6
    I took physics, chemistry, calculus, biology, and an arts elective both semesters last year (freshman year) and it wasn't bad at all. In fact, even the biology majors at my university take all three science courses, calculus, and an elective (although they do take a less intensive physics).

    If it's possible you could postpone one of the sciences until the summer if you feel the course load might be to much, but I say give it a try. Or drop linear algebra until the summer or 2nd year.
  8. Jul 10, 2011 #7
    I would drop one of the sciences before linear algebra. One thing you could do is drop biology and take it next semester while waiting to take the second chemistry class another semester. Psychology, by the way, is an investment of time in itself, but much less so than another lab-based freshman course (as I'm assuming yours all are).
  9. Jul 10, 2011 #8
    The problem with that is the university recommends taking all three science courses in order to allow you to go into most majors, and yes they all have lab components. I phoned the university and asked them if it seemed like too much of a course load and they said that a lot of other people are doing it, but I just want more feedback than that. I think if I was to drop one it would be linear algebra though.
  10. Jul 10, 2011 #9


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    That's a standard first-year workload for someone in the sciences.

    I wouldn't worry about courseload issues unless:
    (a) you're considering overloading,
    (b) you're balancing your studies with working/volunteering/training more than 10 hours per peek,
    (c) you have a disability, or
    (d) you have medical or social issues that eat up time.

    You'll have to work hard, of course, if you want to do well.
  11. Jul 10, 2011 #10
    Would you recommend keeping linear algebra as well than, and like said before if it does become too hard swap that with another elective?
  12. Jul 11, 2011 #11
    If you have a no-penalty drop period take all the classes you want but be sure you finalize your schedule before the deadline.

    I always sign up for an extra course, and rarely drop it if I believe the combined load will be too much for me. At my school though, there is absolutely no penalty for this type of withdraw.
  13. Jul 11, 2011 #12
    Yes, definitely make sure it's acceptable to drop. In Texas at least, six drops means you're out of higher education.
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