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Applying to universities - is math/physics degree an overkill?

  1. Dec 3, 2011 #1
    I have been told that, if I like both math and physics then I should do a math/physics programme, and I certainly agree with that.
    However, it seems like math/physic degree is a bit challenging. Especially considering the fact that my thinking process is a lot slower than anyone else. (My IQ is approxiamately 109, but having a low IQ would not deter someone from pursuing math/physics eh?) I looked at an example schedule and it seems like I have to take three math courses and two physics every semester.
    Has anyone ever done a math/physcis programme? (Not a double degree) How did you handle this programme?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2011 #2
    I'm in an undergraduate program that's something like a math/physics program. It's focused on nanoscience, but it essentially translates into taking a 100-120% courseload every semester with all physics/math courses (and a little chemistry thrown in too).

    Honestly, it's not that bad. After first year, you get a lot of overlap between the math and physics courses, which makes them much easier. For example, in second year (which I'm currently in), you'll study 3D calculus - gradient, divergence, curl, etc - and that gets used in electrodynamics, classical mechanics, and calculus, which is three of your courses right there. Differential Equations also has a lot of overlaps.

    So basically, if you enjoy mathematics, then you should be fine. The physics courses are often a contextualization of the math courses.
  4. Dec 3, 2011 #3
    IQ is only good for determining if someone has a disability. It isn't that reliable for assessing a person's "intelligence," a word not easily defined anyway. If you want to do math and physics, do it, but be aware that math becomes very different in the upper division, with heavy reliance on proof rather than calculation. You may yet discover math isn't your cup of tea.
  5. Dec 4, 2011 #4
    I will be starting a similar program in a months time but my university requires that I also take an English course each semester. All Canadian Universities seem to have this requirement. Is it the same in the States?
  6. Dec 4, 2011 #5
    This is definitely not true of all Canadian universities. I am in an undergraduate math program at a mid sized Canadian university and I've never had to take an english class. I needed two semesters of any humanities class but that's the closest I've had to having to take english.
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