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Grad school in something else after BS math, thoughts?

  1. May 28, 2010 #1
    To anyone that did: How was your transition? What grad school and area did you choose. Thanks! I'm majoring in applied math bc I like math but don't know what I want to do.

    I'm finishing my sophomore year at a top school, still undecided. I was following an engineering track, took 1st yr physics and programming plus tons of math. First went for ME, but found statics and thermo tedious. Then tried EE and loved signal processing but hated transistors and verilog after auditting some classes. I can manage EE but some classes will be unpleasant :(

    I really love math and coding it up in matlab. So I'm inclined to just major in applied math. And then go to grad school in engineering, computational bio, or stats. Still most ppl in applied math at my school want to go into finance/consulting, which I've nil interest in. I'm doing it because I don't know what I want to do. In the meantime I figure I'll continue to learn basic math + optimization, signal processing, and statistics, which I can apply in whatever I do, hopefully :)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2010 #2
    I'm still an undergrad, but I'm in a similar position.
    I'm planning to attend grad school in physics, but will have many more math classes than physics classes.

    My physics course list is pretty odd. I will actually be about 50/50 in terms of graduate/undergraduate classes in physics.
    My experience in the graduate classes is that my personal difficulties are pretty much the opposite of everyone else.
    The other students seem to have troubles with the math...where the math is the one thing I feel comfortable with.

    I've found that I'm able to overcome my lack of physics background because I'm able to focus on only that.....without worrying about the math. That has left enough time to keep up with the work....there's enough "math" digressions to allow me to catch up with any physics I'm not following.

    Maybe that will help...I don't know.
    If I had to guess, I would say you'll have an easier time going from a math background (especially applied math) to a math heavy science field than you would from a science background to math grad school.

    Also, most of the advanced subjects in physics (I'm assuming this is true for other fields?) have books on each particular subject "for mathematicians."
    i.e. "quantum mechanics for mathematicians"
    They're written in the style of a "math" textbook...heavy rigor, proofs over examples,etc., and usually assume that the student doesn't have the full physics background, and present the material accordingly.
    I actually have a QM for mathematicians textbook that I used as reference in my QM class from time to time.

    *hell...while I'm at it. I'm doing two "classes" in astrophysics this summer. One is pure research that I'm taking for credit as "independent study," and the other isn't much different.....both of them have been really nothing but pure programming at this point. I don't know that I've actually used any physics yet. Just a lot of ".exe" and hope the data means something worthwhile later on so far.
    I'm the only undergrad in the research group....and from what you've said about "coding it up," you'd probably be in a better position than the physics grad students at this point.
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