Course selection for applied physics

In summary, this person is studying physics at the university of copenhagen and is planning to apply to the university of california to study engineering for one year. They are unsure of what courses to take and are seeking advice from other users on the internet. They plan to email staff at the university of california to get more specific advice.
  • #1
Well, so the backstory is this: I'm studying physics at the university of copenhagen, and i'll be applying shortly to get in as en exchange student to the university of california (most propably Irvine) for one year (my final year in my BS studies). And i wanted to take advantage of the fact that they have some engineering courses there since i am interested in perhaps the more "applied" side of physics, please bear in mind that I've only finished my first year so I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to these things, so excuse any errors i may make in my assumptions.

Well anyway, it seems that UCI has an applied physics route to follow, but it obviously assumes you have more then one year to spread your studies over. But all their non-physics courses seem to be in electrical engineering, and to be honest i only have a vague idea of what that encompasses. So i was not sure if that should be the field of engineering that i should be trying to get into, or perhaps if mechanical or some other field would better suit. Also, since i will have finished all the courses that are obligatory for my physics degree by the time i go to USA (assuming i get in), i can choose to take no physics courses and follow entirely the route that a first year engineer might take. But i wasn't sure if that was preferable seeing as i might perhaps have already learned a good deal of what they are doing. So i was not sure if it would be best to pick 2-4 courses that suit my needs (or what courses would be good) or if jumping entirely into an engineering path for one year would suit my needs better. Lastly, i do also want to learn some programming, and was even considdering skipping the engineering route and going for more in-depth CS courses, perhaps following an entire year of it as i was considdering with the engineering.

Basicly, I'm not sure what courses in engineering compliment my physics education the best, and i have a sneaky suspicion that it might heavily depend on what my interests are and what i intend to be working with in the future, but the problem with that is that I've only done one year of physics so i don't feel like i have a good picture of what i want to do, other then that i seem to be more drawn towards a more experimental/applied side of it.
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  • #2
Any advice given here can only be of a general nature. For specific advice regarding course selection, I recommend you email faculty/staff/students at UC-I.
  • #3
I'm planning to go into applied physics in grad school. People I've talked to said I can do it with a regular B.S. in physics just fine.

But yeah, email the staff...

  • #4
I realize it's kinda taboo giving out advice on this, i read the thread on this board in reagards to that etc, and i obviously won't go out like a zombie and do whatever this board tells me, but i figured perhaps people had different oppinions or experiences with various fields that they could convey to me that i would then factor into my decision making.

Anyway i did contact them (i visited their campus as well since i was in california this summer) and they seemed to steer me in the direction of EE since that was what their applied physics route traditionally did. At that time though, i had not thought of doing the entire year of engineering. Nor to, perhaps, take CS courses insted of engineering. Which i why i thought perhaps i could get some feedbkac on those ideas here.

1. What is the difference between applied physics and theoretical physics?

Applied physics is the branch of physics that focuses on the practical application of scientific principles to develop new technologies and solve real-world problems. Theoretical physics, on the other hand, is more concerned with developing and testing abstract theories and models to explain natural phenomena.

2. What courses are typically included in a curriculum for applied physics?

Some common courses in applied physics include mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, optics, materials science, and computational physics. Additionally, courses in specialized areas such as quantum mechanics, biophysics, and nanotechnology may also be available.

3. How can I determine which courses are necessary for my specific career goals in applied physics?

Your specific career goals will determine which courses are necessary for you. It is important to research and understand the requirements and job duties of the career you are interested in. You can also consult with an academic advisor or a professional in the field for guidance on course selection.

4. Are there any recommended electives for students in applied physics?

Some recommended electives for students in applied physics include computer programming, statistics, and engineering courses. These can provide additional skills and knowledge that are useful for careers in applied physics.

5. Can I take courses from other disciplines, such as engineering or computer science, to supplement my applied physics education?

Yes, taking courses from other disciplines can be beneficial for a career in applied physics. Many applied physics programs offer the flexibility to take electives from related fields, and having a diverse skill set can make you a more well-rounded and competitive candidate in the job market.

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