1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses First year uni, course load?

  1. Jul 26, 2009 #1
    Hey all, I'm starting my first year of university in a month or so, taking the specialist program (equivalent to honors program at my university) for pure mathematics. I am also going to take applied mathematics and physics courses, out of interest (hopefully I take enough physics courses to get a minor in it).

    I soon have to pick my first year courses, and I was wondering if you all could help me out with it. This is what I have planned:


    Analysis (Full year course) - Covers what is typically covered in a theoretical calculus class. System of real numbers, some set theory, integrals, derivatives, sequences, series, Taylor series, etc...Taught from Spivak

    Algebra 1 - A course in Linear Algebra, taught from Friedberg's "Linear Algebra"

    Introduction to Physics 1 - Covers momentum, energy, force, work, power, angular momentum, classical kinematics and dynamics, friction, theorem properties, gases liquids, viscosity

    Introduction to Computer Programming - Covers programming in a language such as Python...Covers program structure, elementary data types, statements, control flow, functions, classes, objects, methods, fields, etc

    Mathematical Expression and Reasoning for Computer Science - Introduction to abstraction and rigour. Informal introduction to logical notation and reasoning. Understanding, using and developing precise expressions of mathematical ideas, including definitions and theorems. Structuring proofs to improve presentation and comprehension. General problem-solving techniques. Unified approaches to programming and theoretical problems. Representation of floating point numbers and introduction to numerical computation.


    Analysis (Full year course mentioned above)

    Algebra 2 - A second course in Linear Algebra with some group theory I believe

    Introduction to Physics 2 - Oscillations, waves, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, special relativity

    Sociology - Typical sociology course.

    There are two things I would like to point out, and one question to ask. First, I have two computer science courses listed above in first semester. It is either I take those 2, or I take the following course, as taking the first two excludes me from taking the following course, and vice versa:

    Computer Science for the Sciences - An introduction to computer science for students in other sciences, with an emphasis on gaining practical kills. Introduction to programming; web programming; database design; software tools; examples and exercises taken from the sciences. At the end of this course you will be able to develop computer tools for scientific applications, such as the structuring and analysis of experimental data. No programming experience is necessary.

    After I graduate, I want to go onto graduate school and hopefully earn a PhD in pure maths. However, I want to work for the military and so I will need computer science courses. Which computer science courses listed above will be most useful for me?

    Second point: I don't know much physics at all. Taking the above two physics courses are necessary for me to get a minor in physics, but at the same time I don't want to have to put in a lot of extra time to catch up on knowledge they assume we already have as it seems like I may have a heavy course load, which brings me to my actual question:

    Do you guys think this course load is too much? Or should I be able to handle it as long as I work hard, stay focused, and do not procrastinate?

    All help would be appreciated, thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2009 #2
    Welcome to UofT.

    It is recommended to take CSC165 with CSC148 and a prerequisite is CSC108 IIRC, so I don't know why that's in your first semester... I recommend CSC148 rather than "Computer Sciences for the Sciences" since there are no programs that I know of that require the latter and CSC148 will be more helpful in case you decide to switch. I recommend going for Paul Gries when you're picking an instructor/section for CSC108 and CSC148, he's an excellent and attentive teacher.

    The sociology course for first year spans the entire year... if you're looking for something to fulfill the humanities distribution requirement I recommend the first year seminars under the humanities (HUM199), they're typically small classes with interesting material and very lenient grading.

    Course load is fine, just know that your hardest course in first year will be MAT157 with MAT240/247 as your second hardest. The rest will be a piece of cake. Good luck!
  4. Jul 26, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the helpful reply!

    I made a mistake when reading the computer science courses. You`re right. I`ll have to take CSC108 first semester and both CSC148 and CSC165.

    I have two questions about this:

    1) It doesn't look like CSC165 is a prerequisite for too many future courses I may take. I don't even know if it`s necessary for me to take it. At the end of my four year program I want to be knowledgeable in the study of computer science, but I still want my focus to be on pure mathematics. Do you think this course is important for me to take?

    2) I use to be into programming when I was in high school. But I haven`t really done anything technical with computers for about two years. Do you think I will still be fine in my CSC courses?

    I have a couple questions about MAT157. Ive heard so much about it, and I admit it has me somewhat nervous. The only instructor in my book for that course is R. Rotman. How is he as a teacher?

    I took a year off when I finished high school. But I consider myself a bright kid and in the year taken off I have been self-studying from Richard Courants `Introduction to Calculus and Analysis` and also studying from the Linear Algebra textbook used in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. Do you think I will be prepared enough to do very well in these courses?

    I have heard that U of T usually keeps students' GPA relatively low. Plus I have heard horror stories about MAT157. So I can`t help but be nervous about them.

    One more thing please, even though I haven`t taken grade 12 physics (I`ve taken grade 11), do you think I will still be able to handle the physics?

    I`m really sorry about all the questions!
  5. Jul 26, 2009 #4
    The topics covered seem to be your average introductory physics class.

    You shouldn't need to study a year in advance to do well in classes...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook