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Curious about a Physics Minor?

  1. Jul 24, 2008 #1

    I'm a senior in college and have one more year left until I get my structural engineering degree. I am thinking of getting a physics minor. I've taken 'Physics for Engineers' which is basically physics up to SR. I've also taken the Mechanical Engineering set of classes which include statics, dynamics, thermo, and fluid mechanics. As far as math, I've done all of calc along with a semester of Linear Algebra. I do not like programming nor am I good at it. I had one semester of C++ and did not enjoy it. I do love physics though. Is my background sufficient to embark on this minor? I've recieved B's in all of my math / engineering / physics classes. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2008 #2


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    It depends on what constitutes a minor at your university. It sound like you already have the basics, but you will need to make sure you have the prerequisite courses for any advanced classes you'll need to take.

    The other component is simply the desire to do it.
  4. Jul 24, 2008 #3
    Minors are basically one big whoop-de-do that won't do 98% of people any good, ever. And that's probably being a bit generous.

    On the other hand, if you have an interest in it, I think you should absolutely look into what additional physics courses you could take. It's a very interesting subject with any number of sub-fields to tempt you, and the experience from it could prove very valuable to you. If it also happens to overlap with the requirements for a minor...then good. But don't force yourself to take a bunch of extra classes in the name of fufilling the minor requirements that you're not interested in.
  5. Jul 24, 2008 #4
    I don't think minors are useless. Most physicists by default almost have a math minor. A physics minor would be valuable to any scientist, such as chemists or biologists.

    In general, I think a minor is doing two years of the program... a major is three, and a specialist/honors is four. To the poster, your background is sufficient to get by most of the second year courses which is likely what a minor consists of. Review or learn vector calculus, which will be used in E&M. Your knowledge of linear algebra should suit you well for intro QM.
  6. Jul 24, 2008 #5
    Let me clarify - I think the experience can be great. I don't think that the notation on your transcript matters at all to most people.

    Employers in particular tend to only care about what skills you bring to the job. If you can do the work they need done, great. If not, a line on your transcript isn't going to help them earn money. Even for grad school applications, it's not really something they'll weigh more than if you had just taken those classes without it saying "minor" on your transcript.
  7. Jul 24, 2008 #6
    Let's say your a student whose about to graduate with an Engineering degree. You have some job in mind that you know you want to apply for when you finish school. Think about the applicant pool for that job. Every Joe Shmoe who applies for that job has a B.S. in Engineering...that is what I would say the 'big whoop-de-doo' is. Your minor is what might set you apart....possibly.

    Just my two cents. :smile:

    Do your minor in Boxing.
  8. Jul 24, 2008 #7


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    What will it take to meet the requirements for a minor in Physics? Can that be done in the time remaining?

    What has one done in the way of courses in materials science/engineering?
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