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Class Schedule Opinions

  1. Jan 6, 2015 #1
    I honestly am split down the middle on which class schedule to choose for the upcoming semester. I feel like both would prepare me for grad school with option II a little bit more but both are equal in my eyes. Just wanted to get some opinions on what you might think.

    Option I:

    -Intro to Graph Theory
    -Foundations of Geometry
    -Modern Physics with Lab
    -Physical Optics

    Option II:

    -Abstract Algebra I
    -Real Analysis II
    -Mechanics I (the first part of the advanced level)
    -E&M (the advanced level)

    What didn't help is my advisor said they are both equal in terms of requirements. Any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2015 #2
    Option II for grad school in mathematics or physics.
    What are your goals?
  4. Jan 6, 2015 #3
    Ultimate goal is grad school for either Math or Physics. Right now I'm leaning more towards math but I still want to take more advanced physics in case it sparks enough of a passion to pursue it.
  5. Jan 6, 2015 #4
    For Grad school in math the Abstract algebra and Real Analysis are going to be essential.
    For Grad school in physics, the advanced mechanics, and EM are essential.

    Optics is more applicable to industry. But for your goals save that for a free elective. This is not a necessary course for Physics grad school.

    Graph Theory while interesting (being it's mostly topological nature I find it fascinating) is not going to be directly applicable to Physics grad school. Will be a good course to take for math grad school, but not over an analysis course or abstract algebra course.

    If you have time try to take some grad courses as well.
    Others here may urge you to take some CS for employment reasons. Which in this case graph theory could be of use (at least we studied it in a discrete math course for comp sci).

    Are there any other reasons to prefer option 1 over 2 or the other way that are unrelated to grad school goals?
  6. Jan 6, 2015 #5
    Not anything that comes to mind right away.

    Intro to Graph Theory is a blended course (both undergraduate and graduate) but I've been learning it and reading research papers and it seems like a subject I could learn on my own.

    Foundations of Geometry is more like a history/proof class. Which is helpful in terms of proof practice and would count towards graduation but doesn't really prep me, I think, for anything beyond.

    Modern Physics is a prerequisite for a lot of classes. It would give me more options later on.

    Optics was the only thing left based on schedule conflicts but sounded interesting.

    I think option II would be more of a challenge. Both Abstract and Real analysis are heavy into proofs and require lots of work. The upper level physics classes are equivalent in the amount of time I would need to put in, however I think it would be time well spent.

    I got a new advisor which wasn't fun because he didn't seem to know much about how the grad programs run and couldn't recommend what classes would be better. I guessed on which ones would be more helpful based on the topics covered. I might try to contact some professors I've had to see what they think.
  7. Jan 8, 2015 #6
    I talked to a Graduate advisor and he said I should take option 1 with the addition of Differential equations 2. Then next semester I will be able to take Statistical and Thermal Physics, Abstract Algebra I, Matrix Theory and Quantum Mechanics. All is good!
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