Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses Courses for chemical physics?

  1. Jan 27, 2009 #1
    Hi, I am a junior chemistry major. I am interested in studying physical chemistry or possibly chemical physics in grad school. I've got a couple questions:

    1) Would a physics course in optics be good to take as an undergrad? I thought it might be helpful to learn about lasers, spectroscopy, Fourier optics, etc.
    2) Would a physics course in mechanics be particularly helpful as well? I've had some Newtonian mechanics in the introductory sequence. This would be upper level stuff and would involve more sophisticated vector calc, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics.

    Any other advice/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2009 #2


    User Avatar

    I'm a senior double majoring in chem and physics, applying to grad schools in both subjects as well as a few chemical physics programs. Optics could be useful if you plan on being an experimentalist/spectroscopist for the reasons you cited, but otherwise I wouldn't worry about it too much. I VERY strongly recommend the course in mechanics, especially if you plan on going into theory or computation. In addition to giving you a solid foundation for upper level quantum mechanics and quantum chemistry, this will also develop your skills in basic mathematical methods. For pchem/chemical physics, I would also recommend physics courses in thermal/statistical physics, of course quantum mechanics, and even intermediate E&M if you have the room for it.
  4. Jan 27, 2009 #3
    The first semester of pchem was chemical thermodynamics... How is a physics course in thermodynamics much different?
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook