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Can I take Electricity and Magnetism in grad school

  1. May 13, 2015 #1
    I am supposed to graduate next year but I just realized I have left Electricity and Magnetism off of my schedule. I'm afraid to add it because I feel like I am already taking enough and I am wondering if instead it is common or likely to just take the undergrad elective in graduate school. I will have to take Statistical Mechanicals in graduate school as well since I am getting an applied undergraduate physics degree and I want to go into high energy physics. I have been told that's okay to do. I'm a bit afraid to push it with another class though.

    My fall semester is Differential Equations, Classical Mechanics, and Thermal Physics and my spring is Quantum Physics and Senior Seminar. I have been warned not to take Quantum Physics and Senior Sem together but it's how my schedule came together and I figure I can handle it if I don't pick up anything else. I'm trying to raise my GPA too so if I add anything to the fall it is unlikely I will be able to do so.

    I am already maxed out with financial aid as well, having switched from an environmental science major. I'm not sure if they will fund me to stay past next year. I might already be in hot water since I plan to drop the environmental science.

    Any advice is more than welcome.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2015 #2

    robphy

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    In my opinion, it's good to get as much electromagnetism and quantum mechanics under your belt
    before you get to graduate school. Isn't electromagnetism required to get a physics degree?
    Can you swap out Thermal for Electromagnetism?

    If you arrive at graduate school underprepared, you may be able to take undergrad classes you missed.
    However, you will likely delay your some of your graduate coursework.
     
  4. May 13, 2015 #3

    ZapperZ

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    This makes no sense to me.

    1. Undergraduate E&M is a necessity for a physics major. It is non-negotiable. Period!

    2. If this is a requirement (and it should be) for your major, technically you will not be able to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Physics if you have not completed it satisfactorily. Every school (at least, the accredited ones) will do an audit of your transcript and all the requirements before granting you the degree.

    3. Why haven't your advisor flag you on this obvious shortcoming of your courses?

    This is truly inconceivable.

    Zz.
     
  5. May 13, 2015 #4
    My advisor didn't catch it if it is indeed needed. I was wondering myself if I should swap Thermal and E&M. If I do that do you all think I can take thermal in Grad school as an undergraduate course? Pretty much... same question, just swap Thermal and E&M?

    Thank you for the advice. It is much appreciated.
     
  6. May 13, 2015 #5

    ZapperZ

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    OK, I'm going to be blunt. This is getting to be very silly!

    How about you stop wasting your time here, drag yourself to see your advisor, or make an appointment, and then talk to him/her?

    If E&M is a requirement, you do not have a choice! Do you understand that? I don't care what you do with "Thermal", unless it is another requirement for graduation.

    A "requirement" means that you either take it and pass it, or you do not get a degree! It is as simple as that! So why are we having this conversation?

    Zz.
     
  7. May 13, 2015 #6
    It is now break and I am trying to get in touch with my advisor. I wanted advice and I didn't realize that E&M was required. I now see that I have a serious problem and I need to jump on fixing it. That is why we had the conversation. Again, thank everyone for responding.
     
  8. May 13, 2015 #7

    jtbell

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    Your college should list the requirements for a physics major somewhere on its web site. Regardless of whether you have an academic advisor or not, or whether he/she is doing his/her job properly, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you satisfy your major requirements.

    Also, regardless of whether your college requires them for a physics degree or not, most physics graduate schools will expect to see the following "core four" intermediate/upper level courses on your undergraduate record: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics / statistical mechanics. Some small colleges may not specifically require all of these for a physics major, especially if they are mainly focused on preparing students for a master's in engineering. However, they should certainly advise students very strongly to take all four of them if they plan to go to grad school in physics.
     
  9. May 13, 2015 #8

    micromass

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    I can't believe you're thinking of graduating without E&M. That is one of the most important classes in physics.
     
  10. May 13, 2015 #9

    e.bar.goum

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    In addition, how do you even know if you want to do something in HEP if you don't even have E&M? It's like wanting to do general relativity without ever studying classical mechanics.
     
  11. May 13, 2015 #10
    I looked into it and Thermal Physics and Electricity and Magnetism are not required for an Applied Physics degree, though they are recommended since I am going into high energy physics. I can fit one into my schedule and take the other in grad school. I know other people who are currently doing this so it definitely can be done.

    I want to go into high energy physics, e.bar.goum, because I want to be a particle physicist and have been fascinated with the field for many years. It's my dream. I've taught myself as much as I can on my own and I'm hooked. :) One of my teachers told me if I'm looking into a career in particle physics I would be going to grad school for high energy.
     
  12. May 13, 2015 #11
    Sorry I just noticed the quote button. Anyways, I may still try to fit thermal in but I was trying to get advice on the work load (it might hurt my GPA to do too much) or if I should just take it in grad school. Since noone here seems to believe that's even an option I'm not sure this is the best place for advice. A friend of mine just got accepted into a phD program and still needs to take Thermal. It's not ideal but we all have to manage with the cards we are dealt. Thank you all for scaring me enough to get in touch with my advisor. I really had no idea it was such an issue. We are going to meet this afternoon and talk it over.
     
  13. May 13, 2015 #12

    ZapperZ

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    It is inconceivable to me that your school does not require undergrad-level E&M, but only makes it "recommended". I am rather shocked, and would very much like to know which school this is.

    There's another problem if you delay taking this course and graduate anyway. Besides the fact that the admission committee will do a double-take on the fact that you do not have this course, taking it for the FIRST time as a graduate student while trying to pass your qualifier sounds like a daunting task. And believe me, you can bet 100% that there WILL be advance-level E&M questions in your qualifier. I know of many graduate students who re-take the undergrad level E&M (and other courses) just to study for the qualifier, but you will be taking it for the very first time! And depending on the school, the questions might even cover graduate intro level material.

    Maybe you can skip Thermo, but skipping E&M is an extremely BAD idea.

    Zz.
     
  14. May 13, 2015 #13
    I'm going to rearrange my schedule so I can take E&M instead of Thermal. That would leave me just Quantum Physics and E&M for my last semester and potentially Thermal if I decide to add that. I'm currently trying to figure out if Thermal is offered in the spring because with my new schedule there's no way I could get it done in the fall. My school is Appalachian State University.
     
  15. May 13, 2015 #14

    symbolipoint

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  16. May 13, 2015 #15

    jtbell

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    If you have to prioritize, I'd say do E&M instead of thermo next year, and then take undergrad thermo as a "catch-up" course your first year in grad school. Don't try to take graduate thermo without undergrad thermo first, though. Graduate thermo was the one course I had to repeat, and this was after having taken undergrad thermo, so I'm a bit wary of the subject myself. :eek:

    Added: Now I've seen the PDF with the major requirements. They do include E&M, so you don't have any choice there. You just need to decide whether to try to squeeze in Thermo on top of everything else.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
  17. May 13, 2015 #16

    robphy

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  18. May 13, 2015 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    First of all, you made the right choice. If it's required, it's required.

    Second, I actually did graduate without undergraduate E&M. However,
    • MIT's undergraduate E&M, 8.07, used Jackson, the standard graduate text
    • Freshman E&M, 8.02, used Purcell, and we covered the whole book, plus some supplements
    • I had enough courses for a math degree as well, including graduate courses
    • I still suffered.
    So I do not recommend this.
     
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