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Changing my major, not sure which physics to take?

  1. Jul 20, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,

    After long deliberation I decided that my major isn't for me, I would rather do Chemical Engineering.

    I have taken Algebra Physics I and II and gotten A's in both. I have the option of taking General Physics I or Honors Physics I.

    General Physics I is a calculus-based introductory course primarily for chemistry, engineering, and physics majors. Covers kinematics, Newton's laws, energy, momentum, rotational motion, and oscillations. The textbook they use is https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals...d=1437435153&sr=8-1&keywords=physics+halliday by David Halliday and Robert Resnick. The class has a size of 450 students. The grading is the Top 10% get an A, the next 10% a B, and so on.

    Honors Physics I covers the same topics as http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/coursedescriptions/index.php?abbr=PHY&num=107eneral Physics I, but in greater depth. This course is intended for potential physics majors, students in the Honors College, and advanced students in other majors (with permission from the instructor). It is especially appropriate for students who have taken AP Physics C in high school. It will cover similar topics as General Physics I but with several significant differences. The class will be taught at a level comfortable for students who would receive a B or higher in a typical http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/coursedescriptions/index.php?abbr=PHY&num=107eneral Physics class. Because of the higher average GPA of students in this class, grading will be adjusted to reflect this quality, rather than following the conventional curves used for http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/coursedescriptions/index.php?abbr=PHY&num=107eneral Physics. Introductory materials, such as review of trigonometry, vectors and calculus, in http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/coursedescriptions/index.php?abbr=PHY&num=107eneral Physics will not be covered. This leaves room to expose students to a wider range of interesting applications of Newtonian mechanics, and recent developments in topics such as relativity and cosmology. The class size is limited, to encourage interactive learning and communications between students and the instructor. There are 15 class spots in this course. The textbook used in this course is Classical Mechanics by Morin

    My friend says that Honors is better because it will help teach problem solving and critical thinking better than the regular class, but I must admit I am a little intimidated by the textbook that is being used.

    I have taken Calculus I and II, and along with physics I will be taking Calculus III, Differential Equations, and a language class.

    Thank you and best,

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2015 #2
    I would recommend General Physics.
  4. Jul 21, 2015 #3


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    Gold Member

    That depends on you and the type of student you are.

    You can probably learn much more from the honors course then you can from the general physics course. that being said it will be more difficult, so if you are the type to start flailing when you get into deep water you may be in for a rough semester. In the honors course you will also get the benefit of small class sizes!!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. Jul 21, 2015 #4
    So it is the same subject, one is honours and the other is not. Well, nothing to add for people here as this is all about what type of student you want to be, not about something that helps you transition to chem eng.
  6. Jul 22, 2015 #5
    I'd go with the honours course on the basis that, with 15 students, even if you start having a hard time, you'll get decent access to the lecturer for help, and at least some of the 15 will probably form a study group or something and you'll all get to know each other quite well and be able to help each other.

    Plus the grading seems fairer since it's not a dumb rigid curve where if you're ranked 45 you get an A but 46 and you get a B (unless I've misunderstood).
  7. Jul 22, 2015 #6


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I have a rather obvious question, and one that hasn't been suggested yet: Have you asked your academic adviser?

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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