# Programs As a year II physics major, when should I take linear algebra

#### Tyler DeFrancesco

After seeing so much higher-level physics and proofing for special relativity, I imagine I'll need to take this at some point to continue do grad-level physics. I'm taking calc III at the start of year two, and then on to diff eq. When should I take linear algebra in that case? My adviser seemed to think I could wait to take it - and it's not even a requirement at my university's program - but seeing late classes convinces me that I need to take it at some point.

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#### Math_QED

Homework Helper
At my university, physics students take linear algebra in their first semester of their first year together with the mathematic students. I can't imagine how a physicist doesn't use linear algebra.

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#### fresh_42

Mentor
2018 Award
After seeing so much higher-level physics and proofing for special relativity, I imagine I'll need to take this at some point to continue do grad-level physics. I'm taking calc III at the start of year two, and then on to diff eq. When should I take linear algebra in that case? My adviser seemed to think I could wait to take it - and it's not even a requirement at my university's program - but seeing late classes convinces me that I need to take it at some point.
How did you manage to solve multivariate differential equation systems? With vectors, matrices and tensors basically everywhere in physics, I cannot understand the advice you've been given.

#### Orodruin

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2018 Award
Ar my university linear algebra is among the courses students take first. Trying to do any kind of advanced physics without linear algebra is like trying to fill a bathtub from a lake using only a teaspoon.

#### plasmon_shmasmon

Take linear algebra with either of the other math classes. You'll probably be taking a lot of your physics classes your 3rd year, so take it before then.

#### Tyler DeFrancesco

At my university, physics students take linear algebra in their first semester of their first year together with the mathematic students. I can't imagine how a physicist doesn't use linear algebra.
I guess it's because this sort of stuff kind of gets integrated into our fundamental physics courses (the major-specific ones), as well as the calcs. Linear algebra is not usually taken until at least year 2 in my university it seems, unless you're an already-started math major. I know a lot of first-semester sophomores take it with multivariable, but I'll end up doing it with diff eq. My schedule is a little too loaded to take another math course.

"As a year II physics major, when should I take linear algebra"

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