# Course Selection

• Courses
Would it make more sense to take multivariable calculus before linear algebra and differential equations? Or would it be okay to take linear algebra and differential equations before multivariable calculus?

I would most certainly recommend taking Linear Algebra before (or with, if you can) Multivariable Calculus, as some ideas become more lucid and apparent with it in hand. As for Differential Equations, I have no idea; Multivariable Calculus is a prerequisite for the course where I go.

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Homework Helper
I agree with Cubert. Linear algebra is extremely fundamental.

could take it concurrently?

Homework Helper
could take it concurrently?
Depends on interest, will and ambition.

Linear Algebra first.

I took linear, Multi-cal, Advance Cal, and ODE simutaneously. I managed to survive.

My school offers them in either order, but recommends that you don't take them concurrently. I was planning on Linear Algebra & Diff. Eq. first.

When you guys say Multi-Variable calculus, are you reffering to the standard Calculus 3 course, or are you talking about a course that is taken beyond Calc 3?

standard calc 3 course.

I'm currently taking calc 3 differential equations and linear algebra simultaneously. if your willing to work really hard it can be done, but I would have to say that I don't feel like i'm getting everything at the same level that I normally would, and so I think it's best to take them seperately (although diff eq and linear algebra an go together)

I would say that for a physics major the best order would be calc 3, linear algebra, and then diff eq just because there is alot of linear algebra in diff eq's and you want to understand that, but also because the linear algebra notation that can be incorporated into calc 3 is absent from every physics textbook that I've ever seen. Therefore a non-linear algebra based calc 3 course followed by linear algebra followed by diff eq would be the best course of action.

it might be different for math majors, I've seen huge differences between a calc 3 course for physics and engineering majors, and a calc 3 course for math majors in the past.

I took multi calc first, then diff eq's, then linear algebra. I remember a lot of multi calc, a good chunk of linear, and NOTHING from diff eq's. Nothing. I would take that last, so it just builds off anything your other classes overlap with it.

At my school we have Calc 3 which has intro multivariable stuff, and then we have a class called "Multi-Variable Calculus", and the prerequisites for it are Calc 3 and Linear Algebra, and the class directly following multi-variable calc is complex variables, and ODE's 2.

I think the problem with diff eq is that its mainly a collection of tricks, that makes it difficult to remember anything from it without havingsomething to use it for.

Yeah, basically. It was taking a shot in the dark and guessing the answer, and then checking if you were right. And you never really got better at guessing the more you practiced...

all hale the glorious laplace transform

no guessing solutions.

On a similar note, I am a freshmen in college about to register for enxt semesters classes, I am taking Multi-Variable Calc right now, and in the past have just done calc 1 and 2, Next semester I can take either Differential Eqs or Linear Algebra or both but I will not have the time for that most likely. I have heard Linear Algebra is easier, would it be better to wait until sophomore year for diff eq or would diff eq help me out at all in the electromagnetism section of the General Physics course?

In the General Physics courses you really don't need much math. I never even used calculus, even though it was advertised as calc-based physics. And if you do use calc, it will most likely never go beyond simple integrals.

It doesn't matter too much, really. But I think I'd take Diff Eq's later, so you don't forget it over the summer. For some reason, it flew out of my head fast, whereas linear algebra is still there. Yeah, linear algebra is easier, though.