Good Math Electives for Astronomy

In summary, the conversation is about the person's double major in Math and Physics, with their end goal being to earn a PhD in Astronomy. They discuss the degree requirements for each major, including prerequisites, major requirements, contextual courses, major electives, and free electives. They also mention their plan to take Advanced Topics in Physics and Electronics for Scientists as their elective. They then ask for opinions on what elective courses would be beneficial for their end goal in Astronomy.
  • #1
Bumpeh
32
2
Hello everyone! So, I'm currently double majoring in Math and Physics at my University. My end goal is to hopefully go onto graduate school to earn a PhD in Astronomy, the specific areas of Astronomy I'm interested in are Observational Astronomy, Instrumentation and Planetary Science.

Here are the degree programs for each of my majors-
Physics with a concentration in Astrophysics:
Major: Physics
Concentration: Astrophysics
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Prerequisites (30 credits)
CHEMISTRY 1 REQUIREMENT
  • CHM 2045 General Chemistry I
  • CHM 2045L General Chemistry I Lab
    Acceptable substitutes: (CHMX040 and CHMX041) or CHMX045C
CHEMISTRY 2 REQUIREMENT
  • CHM 2046 General Chemistry II
  • CHM 2046L General Chemistry II Lab
    Acceptable substitutes: CHMX046C
MAC2311 (GM) Calculus I (4 Credits)
Acceptable substitutes: MACX281
Prereq: MAC 1147
MAC2312 (GM) Calculus II (4 Credits)
Acceptable substitutes: MACX282
Prereq: MAC 2311
MAC2313 (GM) Calculus III (4 Credits)
Acceptable substitutes: MACX283
Prereq: MAC 2312
PHYSICS REQUIREMENT:
  • PHY 2048 Calculus Physics I
  • PHY 2048L Calculus Physics I Lab
  • PHY 2049 Calculus Physics II
  • PHY 2049L Calculus Physics II Lab
Major Requirements (39 credits)
Courses must be taken in prerequisite order. Electronic approval for courses requiring prerequisites must be obtained each registration. Grades of C or above must be earned in all physics requirements.
PHY1024 Intro Phys for New Majors (1 Credit)
AST3217 Astrophysics I (4 Credits)
Prereq: PHY2049; Coreq: PHY3101
AST3402 Astrophysics II (4 Credits)
Prereq: AST3217
PHY3101 Modern Physics (3 Credits)
Prereq: PHY 2049; Coreq: MAC 2313
PHY3101L Modern Physics Lab (1 Credit)
Coreq: PHY 3101
PHZ3113 Mathematical Physics (3 Credits)
Prereq: PHY 2049 & MAC 2313; Coreq: MAP 2302
PHY3220 Classical Mechanics (4 Credits)
Prereqs: PHY 2049 & MAC 2313
Coreq: MAP 2302
PHY3424C Optics with Laboratory (4 Credits)
  • Prereq: PHY 2049 and MAC 2313
PHY3320 Electricity and Magnetism (4 Credits)
Prereqs: PHY 2049 & MAC 2313
PHY4604 Quantum Mechanics (4 Credits)
Prereqs: PHY 3101, MAC 2313 & MAP 2302
PHY4523 Thermodyn and Statistical Mech (4 Credits)
Prereqs: PHY 3101, MAC 2313 & MAP 2302
PHY4802L Advanced Physics Laboratory (2 Credits)
Prereq: PHY 3101L
PHY4910 Physics Research and Seminar (1 Credit)
Prereq: PHY 3101
Major Electives (3 credits)
SELECT ONE FROM THE FOLLOWING:
  • PHY 3722C Electronics for Scientists
  • PHZ 3404 Solid State Physics
  • PHZ 4160 Adv Topics Physics
  • PHZ 4303 Nuclear Physics
Contextual Courses (12 credits)
AST2002 Basic Astronomy (3 Credits)
COP2220 Computer Science I (3 Credits)
ESC2000 Earth Science (3 Credits)
MAP2302 (GM) Ordinary Differ Equations (3 Credits)
Prereq: MAC 2312
Free Electives (6 credits)
SELECT 6 HRS (3000/4000 LEVEL)
This degree requires a minimum of 120 total hours with 48 upper (3000/4000) level hours. Free electives may be courses in any discipline (provided the required prerequisites are met) and they are the hours needed to satisfy the total hour requirement. These hours may vary (consult your advisor about free elective hours needed to graduate).

For the Elective, I was planning on taking Advanced Topics in Physics and Electronics for Scientists.

Mathematics Degree:
Major: Mathematics
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Prerequisites (22 credits)
Requires grades of C or above.
MAC2311 (GM) Calculus I (4 Credits)
MAC2312 (GM) Calculus II (4 Credits)
MAC2313 (GM) Calculus III (4 Credits)
MAP2302 (GM) Ordinary Differ Equations (3 Credits)
SCIENTIFIC COMPUTER PROGRAMMING COURSE
Department recommends a computer programming language course in PASCAL, FORTRAN, C, C+, C++
  • COP
SCIENCE REQUIREMENT
1 laboratory-based science course designed for science majors.
  • BSC CHM PHY GLY
Major Requirements (19 credits)
Grades of C or above required in all major courses.
Note: All transfer courses require prior approval of department chairperson.
The math department recommends MAA 4211, MAA 4212 and MAS 4301 be taken in the senior year.
MHF3202 (GM)Foundations of Mathematics (4 Credits)
Prereq: MAC 2312
MAS3105 (GM) Linear Algebra (4 Credits)
Prereq: MAC 2312
MAS4301 (GM) Abstract Algebra I (4 Credits)
Prereqs: MAS 3105 & MHF 3202
MAA4211 (GM) Advanced Calculus I (4 Credits)
Prereqs: MAC 2313, MAS 3105, & MHF 3202
MAA4212 (GM) Advanced Calculus II (3 Credits)
Prereq: MAA 4211
Contextual Courses (4 credits)
STA4321 (GM)Probability and Statistics (4 Credits)
Prereq: MAC 2312
Major Electives (12 credits)
Please check catalog course descriptions for prerequisite requirements.
SELECT 4 COURSES FROM THE FOLLOWING:
  • MAA 4402 Complex Analysis
  • MAD 3107 Discrete Mathematics
  • MAD 4203 Combinatorics
  • MAD 4301 Graph Theory
  • MAD 4401 Numerical Analysis
  • MAD 4505 Discrete Biomathematics
  • MAP 3170 Financial Mathematics for Actuarial Science
  • MAP 4231 Operations Research
  • MAP 4341 Elementary Partial Differential Equations
  • MAS 3203 Number Theory
  • MAS 4156 Vector Analysis
  • MAS 4302 Abstract Algebra II
  • MHF 3404 History of Mathematics
  • MTG 3212 Modern Geometry
  • MTG 4302 Elementary Topology
  • STA 4322 Statistical Theory
  • STA 4672 Prob. Models w/ App to Actuarial Science
Capstone Experience (3 credits)
MAS4932 Capstone Experience in Math (3 Credits)
Prereq: Senior standing & permission of department
Minor Required
Bachelor of Science students majoring in mathematics or statistics must select a minor from among biology, physics, computer science, statistics (for mathematics majors only), chemistry, economics, business, or mathematics (for statistics majors only). Double majors are exempt from a minor
Free Electives (7 credits)
SELECT 7 HRS FREE ELECTIVES 3000/4000
This degree requires a minimum of 120 total hours with 48 upper (3000/4000) level hours. Free electives may be courses in any discipline (provided the required prerequisites are met) and they are the hours needed to satisfy the total hour requirement. These hours may vary (consult your advisor about free elective hours needed to graduate).In the end, this post is about searching for some other opinions and perspectives. In terms of the electives for the Physics degree and the Math degree, what would be good elective courses to take if my end goal is Astronomy?
 
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  • #2
You don't seriously think anyone iis going to read all that, do you? Why not ask your school counsellor?
 
  • #3
ebos said:
You don't seriously think anyone iis going to read all that, do you? Why not ask your school counsellor?

I have discussed this with some of my Professors, an old High School teacher, and some counselors, I'm just searching for some extra opinions and perspectives.
 
  • #4
At the very least you should probably have calculus (the full sequence), differential equations, and linear algebra.
 
  • #5
Mondayman said:
At the very least you should probably have calculus (the full sequence), differential equations, and linear algebra.

I will certainly be getting all of those classes, my biggest thing was determining four good extra math electives for Astronomy from this list-

SELECT 4 COURSES FROM THE FOLLOWING:
  • MAA 4402 Complex Analysis
  • MAD 3107 Discrete Mathematics
  • MAD 4203 Combinatorics
  • MAD 4301 Graph Theory
  • MAD 4401 Numerical Analysis
  • MAD 4505 Discrete Biomathematics
  • MAP 3170 Financial Mathematics for Actuarial Science
  • MAP 4231 Operations Research
  • MAP 4341 Elementary Partial Differential Equations
  • MAS 3203 Number Theory
  • MAS 4156 Vector Analysis
  • MAS 4302 Abstract Algebra II
  • MHF 3404 History of Mathematics
  • MTG 3212 Modern Geometry
  • MTG 4302 Elementary Topology
  • STA 4322 Statistical Theory
  • STA 4672 Prob. Models w/ App to Actuarial Science
 
  • #6
Complex analysis, vector analysis, and PDE's jump out as useful electives. Perhaps numerical analysis or statistics alongside it?
 
  • #7
Bumpeh said:
I will certainly be getting all of those classes, my biggest thing was determining four good extra math electives for Astronomy from this list-

SELECT 4 COURSES FROM THE FOLLOWING:
  • MAA 4402 Complex Analysis
  • MAD 3107 Discrete Mathematics
  • MAD 4203 Combinatorics
  • MAD 4301 Graph Theory
  • MAD 4401 Numerical Analysis
  • MAD 4505 Discrete Biomathematics
  • MAP 3170 Financial Mathematics for Actuarial Science
  • MAP 4231 Operations Research
  • MAP 4341 Elementary Partial Differential Equations
  • MAS 3203 Number Theory
  • MAS 4156 Vector Analysis
  • MAS 4302 Abstract Algebra II
  • MHF 3404 History of Mathematics
  • MTG 3212 Modern Geometry
  • MTG 4302 Elementary Topology
  • STA 4322 Statistical Theory
  • STA 4672 Prob. Models w/ App to Actuarial Science
Is it safe to assume that maths electives are extra modules that arent compulsory? (im not from the US so unfamiliar with the module system)

If so then just pick what you think you'll enjoy/interested in learning (with a bit of biased towards choosing ones towards physics relevant maths) so for me I would pick any combination of the ones in bold :)
 
  • #8
max1995 said:
Is it safe to assume that maths electives are extra modules that arent compulsory? (im not from the US so unfamiliar with the module system)

If so then just pick what you think you'll enjoy/interested in learning (with a bit of biased towards choosing ones towards physics relevant maths) so for me I would pick any combination of the ones in bold :)

Yes, they are extra modules that aren't compulsory. In terms of the list you gave me, I very much like the looks of Modern Geometry, Topology and Partial Differential Equations.

In your opinion, which would be more useful to Astronomy, Complex Analysis or Vector Analysis?
 
  • #9
Bumpeh said:
Yes, they are extra modules that aren't compulsory. In terms of the list you gave me, I very much like the looks of Modern Geometry, Topology and Partial Differential Equations.

In your opinion, which would be more useful to Astronomy, Complex Analysis or Vector Analysis?

I personally would say vector analysis, but both are useful. Dont forget the ones I chose were based on personal interest so if there is 1 in the list that I didnt highlight that you really want to do then choose that :) I would say take vector analysis and partial differential equations then 2 modules you just want to take because they seem interesting (for me that would be topology and geometry as I enjoy pure maths as well as applied but others are fine too, perhaps discrete maths, history of maths, financial maths and operations research are the least relevant to physics in terms of the content they cover)
 

1. What are the benefits of taking a math elective for astronomy?

Mathematics is the universal language of science, and it plays a crucial role in understanding and interpreting astronomical data. By taking a math elective, students can develop the quantitative skills necessary for conducting research in astronomy and other related fields.

2. What math electives are recommended for students interested in astronomy?

The most beneficial math electives for astronomy students include calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and statistics. These courses provide a strong foundation in mathematical concepts and techniques that are commonly used in astronomy research.

3. Can I take a math elective for astronomy even if I am not a math major?

Absolutely! While a strong math background is helpful, many astronomy departments offer introductory math courses specifically designed for non-math majors. Additionally, there are online resources and workshops available to help students develop their math skills for astronomy.

4. How will taking a math elective for astronomy benefit me in my future career?

Astronomy is a highly interdisciplinary field, and many career paths in astronomy and related industries require strong quantitative skills. Taking a math elective can help you stand out in the job market and provide a strong foundation for graduate studies in astronomy or other fields such as engineering or data science.

5. Are there any math electives that are particularly important for certain areas of astronomy?

Yes, there are certain math electives that are particularly relevant for different areas of astronomy. For example, statistics is crucial for analyzing large datasets in astrophysics, while differential equations are commonly used in modeling celestial bodies and their motions. It is best to consult with an advisor or professor to determine which math electives would be most beneficial for your specific area of interest in astronomy.

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