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!

Choosing Higher Level Math Courses

  1. Jun 5, 2013 #1
    Hey everyone, any input on this would be appreciated. Sorry for the wall of text in advance.

    I am dual majoring as an undergrad in Physics (astronomy specialization) and General Mathematics, the latter having a pretty big selection (some listed below) of classes to choose from. My goal is to choose subjects that apply best to my field (currently in microgravity research, but have my sights on the university's exoplanet department), but it's difficult for me to tell at this point which would be the most useful to me. I have to select a few from these:
    Introduction to Graph Theory
    Mathematical Modeling I
    Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
    Introduction to Complex Variables
    Numerical Methods for Computational Sciences
    Introduction to Combinatorics
    Vector and Tensor Analysis
    Ordinary Differential Equations II
    Linear and Nonlinear Waves I
    Probability, Random Processes and Applications

    Any info is welcome! As a quick bonus question: Does the Mathematics degree greatly increase my chances of getting into a physics graduate program?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2013 #2
    I would say Partial Differential Equations, Complex Variables and Mathematical Modeling are all very useful. Of course, probably all would be at least somewhat helpful, but my vote is on those as all physics majors should have a course on them.

    I don't have any insight on which ones would be specifically helpful to the subjects you mentioned.
  4. Jun 5, 2013 #3
    Just based on reading these forums for ~ 2 years I would suggest;

    Vector and Tensor Analysis
    Ordinary Differential Equations II
    Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
    Introduction to Complex Variables

    These are apparently the most useful courses for physics, although someone more experienced is sure to chime in.
  5. Jun 6, 2013 #4
    Just to add, Vector Analysis is a prerequisite to my E&M course, so if you have yet to take E&M you should strongly consider Vector Analysis.
  6. Jun 6, 2013 #5
    My personal list of the most important ones (in order):

    Mathematical Modeling
    Partial Differential Equations
    Complex Variables
    Numerical Methods
    ODE's II
    Vector and Tensor Analysis (actually very useful, but most of this should be in multivariate calc)

    The rest are probably very situation specific. I've never heard of combinatorics to be useful in physics, but I could be wrong of course.

    And the math degree does not increase your chances significantly; but it does give you a better preparation than just pure physics majors.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook