1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Am I being overly ambitious? Please help!

  1. Jan 10, 2013 #1
    I am entering my second semester at the University of Connecticut and am having difficulty with how to proceed. I am a physics major, and came in with 38 AP credits including intro mech and EM. I didnt take any physics courses first semester, and am taking quantum and hopefully an independent study on nuclear and particle physics next semester with calc 3 and 4. Enter my problems. I have 3 choices in my eyes (remember the AP credit):
    1. Graduate in three years, taking 12 credits each semester. Graduate from the honors college and write a physics/honors thesis, probably minor in math.
    2. Graduate in two years. Take 9 credits over the summer and an online course over the winter. Then next year will most likely look like: mech1, em1, quantum mech1, lab in mech, ele, gen ed and the second semester would be em2, quantum 2, lab in em, stat and thermal physics, elective, math. Definitely unable to graduate from honors, and even bigger problem, when would i take the PGRE because i want to go to grad school right after undergrad.
    3. Take 2.5 years. Kinda crappy option because grad schools dont really give financial aid in the spring and id still be a little rushed because i wouldnt take summer courses in this case to save cash.
    Part of the problem is, I dont know if i want to stay at UCONN with my girlfriend and friends while they are there for another 2 years while i work on my phd, or if i should take longer to look better for other grad schools such as Brown.
    Any advice on this matter would be GREATLY appreciated, no one can really seem to help and I am kinda desperate!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Generally advice in life is to not microplan. So with that said, ignore the issue with your girlfriend until you are actually forced to make the decision, because any decision you make right now is non-binding and for the most part irrelevant to your future self.

    Secondly, do you feel a need to rush through your college education? College is more than classes and grades. If you are able to only take 12 hours per semester and graduate on time, why not take extra courses and learn more than the required?
  4. Jan 11, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I agree with Marne Math.

    I can understand perhaps financial reasons for wanting to rush through undergrad, but that would be about it.

    Doing the bare minimum in terms of course requirements is not likely to expose you to all the different possible subfields, so you may not get into a field you really like. It also puts you in a position where you'll have a weaker base and you may struggle more in graduate school. Further, in general, the honours physics stream is usually meant for the students who intend to head into graduate school, while non-honours streams are meant for more those who want to finish the degree and do something else. (Note: this does vary from school to school).

    All of that said, there are some people who can do things quickly and be just fine.
  5. Jan 11, 2013 #4
    Thank you both for your responses, they have opened my eyes to reality. I thought that any courses not needed formy major such as an extra physics or two would only risk lowering my gpa and not be recognized, but I agree it is necessary to lay the proper foundation for graduate studies. Overall, I am going to UCONN paying essentially just the meal plan due to scholarships and will graduate a year early with a very solid education. I should be thankful, rather than trying to squish the minimum into two years and not enjoy or learn as much as possible. Thanks again! First post on pf and I got great responses.
  6. Jan 11, 2013 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Generally, you should consider the requirements for a physics major to be the bare minimum that your school will let you get away with for a bachelor's degree in physics. It always looks good to have more physics or math courses on your transcript, provided of course that you do OK in them and in your required courses.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook