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Double major in Physics and Computer Science vs Physics and Math

  1. Sep 1, 2011 #1
    Hi everybody,

    I am entering my first year of university (again) and I want to complete a double major in either physics and math or physics and computer science, but I do not know which one will benefit me the most. Right now I see physics and computer science double major path more beneficial because if I cannot do anything related in physics I can always land a job as a programmer or other computer based related field. As for the Physics and Math double major, I just believe that physics and math go hand in hand and will benefit me if I decide to go into grad school. However, having the double major in math and computer science will also benefit me in grad school, especially within the field of computational physics.

    Any advice with this dilemma is greatly appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2011 #2
    I cannot stress enough that I would definitely go for the physics/computer science double major. If you decide to take some time off between grad school, you could work as a software engineer, starting at roughly 75-90k/year depending on your location. Also, I believe that a good understanding of algorithms is a great gateway to quantum computing and it's very helpful to know how much computers help the world function.

    All in all, the physics/cs route will definitely open the most doors for you, as well as being the most well rounded one. Please choose wisely. I'm telling you advice I wish I could have heard back when I was a freshman.

    Good luck.
  4. Sep 1, 2011 #3
    You make it sound as if its almost guaranteed. What are the chances like with a double/minor major in CS?

    I'm assuming your talking about a BS level CS degree?
  5. Sep 1, 2011 #4
    You could always triple major, or double major and then minor the third.

    If I were doing it over again I would do Physics/C.S. instead of Physics/Math. All that upper level math was interesting to learn but it had limited application for me. I do some sort of programming quite often, though.
  6. Sep 2, 2011 #5
    I'm stuck in a similar situation. I'm interested in physics, computer science, and applied math, but I have no idea which I want to major in. I'm going to spend this year deciding which I enjoy more and I'll probably go with that one. I'm also considering double majors in Applied Math/Physics and Applied Math/CS -- the reason I don't want to do Physics/CS is because it requires Chemistry courses and I hate Chemistry so, so much, but I digress.
  7. Sep 2, 2011 #6
    Hating chemistry only means that you haven't seen the beauty of it. Don't be so quick to judge subjects off. Your brain makes decisions and forms opinions based on its past experience and your internal communication/interpretation. But all that can be changed, and I am a first-hand witness of that. We humans have reached a level of intelligence where we no longer slaved to act on impulse and can directly shape our brains. Our brains are immensely malleable to say the least.

    I began from only liking sports and video games/socialization, then to physics, and expanded my interest to math from there a while after. Its often hard to make the jump of math and physics to other fields, but I've did it. Now I also love neuroscience, psychology, biology, chemistry, philosophy, finance, writing, and some of the humanities.

    Know your mind.
  8. Sep 2, 2011 #7
    This is cool advice and I can see where you're coming from. I just relate Chemistry to the feeling of being raped -- I had a bad experience with a Chemistry course last year. I suppose I could give it another shot at some point, but I would have to self-teach it. I find that professors sometimes only make things worse.

    One of my plans for this year is to find some more things that interest me. I've always loved History, but more importantly this year is for raising my GPA, so interests will likely fall by the wayside.
  9. Sep 3, 2011 #8
    Majoring in Physics should supposed to give enough Math for working in Physics which is also enough to work in almost anything except Math itself. You also impove your Math by studying Physics classes because solving Physics problems use a lot of different kinds of Math.

    But CS background giving during Physics program is often not enough to succesfully work even in Physics. So, I would recommend to choose Phys/CS.

    But I got my BS in Russia. So, my experience may differ.
  10. Sep 3, 2011 #9
    Physics and math in my opinion, they compliment each other better. You could always teach yourself how to program and a computer science degree will go more in depth than you really need. You just need to know how to program as a physicist. Math on the other hand is easier with teachers who can show you how to write proofs, proper math technique, etc.
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