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Courses Do Upper Division Physics courses resemble the first year courses or math courses?

  1. Jul 29, 2012 #1
    Edit: I meant "first two year physics courses vs first two year math courses" in the title.

    I know each school is different as far as how professors teach, but for those of you who are in your 3rd/4th year and beyond as a Physics major, how would you compare the material?

    I'm not asking if Upper Division courses are more difficult, but do they resemble something more similar to Freshman E&M where it seemed like there was more math (Vector Calculus) than concepts, or more like Mechanics where it was a tad the opposite? Maybe something like the third course in Physics (Waves-Thermodynamics-Relativity-QM) where it was "balanced?"

    Would you say you had to remember quite a lot of the concepts and peoblwm solving strategies you learned in your first 3 Physics courses? I'm starting to feel a little anxious and would greatly appreciate any advice.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2012 #2
    Re: Do Upper Division Physics courses resemble the first year courses or math courses

    I just started my upper division physics classes last quarter and to be honest its pretty similar. Obviously however, you're required to have a better grasp of the math at these levels and be able to apply it in physical situation. I think (and this is all opinion so take it as you will) that mostly you're going to notice a larger emphasis on physical intuition and whether or not things make "physical sense". But it's do-able and much more interesting than lower division stuff if you ask me.
     
  4. Jul 29, 2012 #3
    Re: Do Upper Division Physics courses resemble the first year courses or math courses

    Thank you mateomy! One last question, how much did you have to remember from your original Greshman/Sophmore Physics courses or was it like relearning everything in a new way all over again?
     
  5. Jul 30, 2012 #4
    Re: Do Upper Division Physics courses resemble the first year courses or math courses

    Well, it all builds on itself. If you can't -for instance- remember how to solve simple problems using Guass' Law in E&M the upper division problems will seem a lot more complicated and confusing. But if you don't remember everything that's not a big deal so long as you have old notes and problems to reference. I'd doubt most people, save for the rare few, could remember EVERYTHING from their old classes. Just save your books and notes. They almost always prove valuable.
     
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