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Schools Do you have to take every single Physics/Math courses in a university available?

  1. Mar 4, 2010 #1
    Do you have to take every single Physics/Math courses in a university available if you are entering Theoretical Physics?

    Is Theoretical Physics the same as a Double Major for Maths and Physics?

    I am only a high school student, but I am taking AP Calculus BC and I will be doing Calculus III in the summer (concurrent studies) and then take Calculus IV when I enter University.

    But what comes after Calculus IV? Calculus V??

    Do I have to do one of those permutation/combination/stat101 courses?? How much Stat courses would I need?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2010 #2


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    Pretty sure it would be impossible to take every physics/math course within 4 years.

    After calc IV (diff equations), if you're an engineer (you know, applied like) you're pretty much done, all that's left is maybe a mathematical physics class. For someone looking to go into theoretical, you take maybe an analysis class, algebra, etc. As it was told to me, courses beyond differential equations in the math department are likely to be quite useless to the majority of physics majors.
  4. Mar 4, 2010 #3
    No. It's usually impossible to take every course and still graduate in a reasonable time frame, lots of courses are electives, there's usually a list of courses you have to take and a couple of electives you can choose from, and some courses just won't be relevant to what you're doing.

    No, it's just a sub-field of physics that's extra heavy on the math. Every major has this; even an EE specializing in optics and photonics is gonna need a lot more math and physics than the average EE 'cause of the nature of his specialty.

    Depends on the school, but most seem to start branching out into specialty topics. It's also very major dependent: engineers take linear algebra and differential equations, while the math majors need to take advanced calc 1-3 as a prereq for most of their upper level courses.
  5. Mar 4, 2010 #4
    So if I graduate with a Bachelor of Science, I am not going to get any Math degrees? Is it possible to graduate less than 4 years? If I take summer courses? Are there even placement exams?
  6. Mar 4, 2010 #5


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    No, you aren't automatically granted a math degree if you major in theoretical physics. It probably wouldn't take many more math classes to earn the double major, though. You may qualify for a math minor, but not all schools offer minors.

    Can you graduate in 3 or 3.5 years...well, it depends. At small schools, they may only offer a required course once every 2 years.

    Each university has their own policy regarding placement exams. It seems to me more schools use them now than in years past.

    Summer courses...well, not all departments offer them. I went to a fairly big school, but the selection was pretty sparse. It's a good time to take your general education classes.

    So I'm afraid the answer to your questions is, it depends on the university you attend.
  7. Mar 4, 2010 #6
    It is the University of British Columbia (Canada)
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