GRE Physics Prep Courses

  • #51
Upon completion of Calculus III (multivariable), we go right into the course using the Mary Boas book "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences." Having flipped through the book and comparing it to a Linear Algebra+Diff Eq text, it seems like many topics have been left out in the Boas book (just comparing sections at a quick glance).

While I do trust the program outline, will what's covered in the Boas text truly be sufficient to cover material in these texts we'll be using for upper division courses?:
"Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems"- Thornton and Marion
"Introduction to Electrodynamics"- Griffiths
"Introduction to Quantum Mechanics"- Griffiths

Edit: I deeply apologize, I just saw this thread in a search:
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  • #52
I am wondering what would be a good continuation of courses to take after QM 2 (taking it currently, both semesters Griffiths based, but using other books as supplements). I have an option of taking a Condensed Matter course (QM1 is a prereq) in Spring. There were also suggestions for a full semester course in Special Relativity with thoughts of preparing for QFT. Lastly, I was told a Classical Field Theory would also be a good idea (Landau based).

I dont have a specific interest yet. Condensed Matter is exciting, as well as Particle Physics.
  • #53
So I will be taking Introduction to DIfferential Geometry for the first time and we are using a book called

"Elementary Differential Geometry, Andrew Pressley,"

And we will cover topics the first six chapters including: Geometry of curves, Gaussian Curvature and Gauss Map, Egregium, and Geodesics, Gauss-Bonnet Theorem

What other books/courses I should take to supplement my studies? I am a math major

I am also taking functional analysis, and going through "Analysis on Manifolds by Munkres" and "Calculus on Manifolds by Spivak" to supplement.

I have a pretty good foundation of rudimental computation in calculus already. Which area of Linear Algebra should I work on to further improve my success in Diff Geometry?

  • #54
I am just curious to know as to what are the course requirements to get a PhD in Mathematics. Is there is a standard set of courses required or does it vary according to the university? Also, does it matter if it is pure math or applied math?
I simply googled and found that there is a list of courses that is listed as the requirement for Caltech. Kindly let me know if this list changes for other universities.

a. Logic, Set theory, Calculus, Analysis, Measure theory, Measure theoretic probability
b. Algebra (including Linear algebra), Representation theory
c. Topology, Algebraic topology, Geometric Topology
d. Linear differential equations, Partial differential equations, Non-linear differential equations
e. Number theory, Combinatorics, Computability and Complexity

Algebra, Analysis and Topology were considered as mandatory courses and the rest were like electives. 9 of the above on top of the mandatory courses are required.
  • #55
Hi, I need some help deciding which courses to choose for my postgrad and final year of university. I have enjoyed doing programming at a company that does VOIP systems, I have also enjoyed some work that involved setting up computer software that monitors electric motors and other machinery. I would like to get involved further in the networking field or in setting up systems connected to real life machinery. I have also been interested in security systems, like at a bank, since they have a high need for good security protocols and systems.

I DON'T want to be sitting behind a computer ALL day as a code monkey. I want to go to meetings, deal with clients, and possibly have to travel now and then for on-site issues. When I am done with my honours I would like my earnings to be at least the same as most PG computer science.

I have 5 topics to choose from the following list. Which will be best to help me achieve my goals?

Advanced Operating Systems[I kind of want to do this because I don't know much about operating systems]

Compilers (is this useful in general????)

Computational Complexity (Is this P/NP stuff? doesn't seem that useful unless you want to study even further?)

Computer Architecture (Not sure what this is about)

Networks[I kind of want to do this topic, even though I battled with my undergrad networking course (but my project was the BEST and got me guaranteed work after I finish my Postgrad). I'm interested in it, even though I struggle with the theory]

Introduction to research methods (since its not a compulsory topic, I'm assuming I wont really need this in order to do my research project)

Artificial Intelligence (useful if you're NOT going into the gaming industry???)

High Performance Computing and Scientific Data Management[I kinda want to do this for interests sake]

Image Processing[I kinda want to do this for interests sake]

Computational Molecular Biology[Seems like algorithms for string processing from what I've researched. Apparently useful in other Computer Science applications. I'm not all that interested in this. I have a compulsory Algorithms topic anyway]

So I have to choose 5 topics. Above there are 4 I'm interested in. But I'd like advice and possibly answers to what I'm unsure about. If anyone can help that would be great.

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  • #56
I am looking for help on which courses I should be taking next semester. I'm majoring in applied math and my goal is to do something related to statistics or finance. Grad school is also an option for any of these topics. By the start of next semester, I will have completed Introduction to Statistics I, Calc I and II, and Introduction to Computing. Next semester I'm planning to take:

- Multivariable Calculus (Calculus III)
- Applied Linear Algebra
- Elementary Differential Equations

For the fourth class, I'm not sure if I should take Transition to Advance Mathematics, a CS course, or another Stat course. Transition to Advance Math will prepare me for the theoretical upper division mathematics courses, but it's also good to get a few CS courses under my belt. What do you recommend I fill that fourth spot with? I would also like to know if its okay to take these courses simultaneously. Thank you.
  • #57
Hi all,

I will be a freshman in college starting this fall at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and am majoring in EE with a concentration in RF circuits and microwaves along with a possible double major in Physics with a concentration in Electromagnetism. I am looking to work with EM after I graduate or with wireless communications or accelerator physics. I am looking into courses and have already selected the courses for my first semester and am on the quarter system at my school. I was wondering what other jobs/fields of engineering would make use of the RF circuits and microwaves/electromagnetism. The relevant EE courses I plan to take are
-ECE 2010 Intro to Electrical and Computer Engineering
-ECE 2019 Sensors, Circuits, and Systems
-ECE 2112 Electromagnetic Fields
-ECE 2201 Microelectronic Circuits I
-ECE 3204 Microelectronic Circuits II
-ECE 3113 Intro to RF Circuit and Design
-ECE 2305 Intro to Communications and Networks
-ECE 2312 Discrete Time Signal and System Analysis
-ECE 3311 Principles of Communication Systems
-ECE 3308 Intro to Wireless Networks
Possibly an Intro to Digital Circuit Design, Analog Integrated Circuit Design, or Semiconductor Devices but was unsure there.
Also i plan to take a grad courses in Fundamentals of RF and Microwave Engineering and a physics course in Advanced EM Theory. If anyone has any recommendations of what courses I should take or which to choose it would be appreciated and what level of math I should take up to and was planning on up to vector and tensor calc.


Edit: I was also wondering if any power engineering courses would be helpful in those fields.
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  • #58
I am currently going to be a senior undergraduate with a double major in Math and Computer Science. In the past I have worked on Data Mining projects, and Mathematical Modeling. I have had a recent interest in Mathematical Finance. What Math and Computer Science theory are heavily used in Mathematical Finance?

For Computer Science it would seem intuitive that Machine Learning/Data Mining theory would be useful. For Mathematics, probability and statistics are definitely essential. What I am looking for is what subfields, specializations and theories in Math/CS are heavily used in Mathematical Finance?
  • #59
Hello, as an independent student/researcher who is completely clueless about speech related topics but would like to create a simple desktop text-to-speech application, may I ask what steps you would probably offer me to follow to accomplish my goal ? I know there are free examples and also that I can look up online course syllabuses from known schools but they tend to be too localized while the others are too broad as a general introduction to the immense field.
I am thinking to start learning with
1. Phonetics and Phonology
2. Text processing and processing tools
3. HMM for speech synthesis
4. Create phonetics libraries for the language involved
5. Create a demo with HMM for speech synthesis
Do you have any more ideas for me to be more right on track of what I would like to do now ? Please ask if you need better clarification.

Thank you.
  • #60
I am a first year mechanical (or electrical) engineering major and would like to get some advice on which courses would complement my major best.
I am thinking about doing a minor in either maths or computer science.
I am already taking linear algebra, multivariable calculus, differential equations and vector calculus because they are prerequisite maths courses for all engineering majors so if I do my minor in maths I would do real analysis, complex analysis, PDE's and probability/statistics.
If I do my minor in computer science, I would be doing these courses: algorithms and data structures, OOP, AI, software modelling and simulation, computer systems, CS project and theory of computation.
I need to decide whether to do maths or CS minor at the start of next semester. I think maths will help me a lot in understanding concepts in engineering at a deeper level, whereas, computer science will be more marketable and will probably help me more in my day to day work.
Which courses do you think I should take and why?
Would very much appreciate your advice.
  • #61
Hello, everyone!

I just finished law school and am awaiting for hopefully favorable bar results so that I can start practicing law of the intellectual property sort. I have been clerking at an intellectual property law firm that specializes in patent prosecution and litigation. For those unaware, in order to be a patent prosecutor, i.e. someone qualified to write and file patents, you must pass the USPTO's patent bar. You don't have to be a lawyer to do it, but you have to have an academic background in science before you can qualify. The law firm I have been working for will only hire patent prosecutors, meaning that to be brought on full time, I would need to qualify for and pass the patent bar.

The academic requirements are, in part and paraphrased, as follows:
  • Category A applicants possess a bachelor’s degree in one of thirty-two scientific or technical subjects, including biology, chemistry, physics, and most engineering disciplines. Notably, a master’s degree in one of these subjects is not by itself considered sufficient training. (Part III.A)
  • Category B (option 1) applicants have successfully completed one of the following: (1) 24 semester hours in physics; (2) 30 semester hours in chemistry; (3) 32 semester hours comprising 8 hours of physics or chemistry and 24 hours of biology; or (4) 40 semester hours comprising 8 hours of physics or chemistry and 32 hours of some combination of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, or, in some cases, computer science. For a course to qualify under this option, you must have received a grade of C- or better in the course and it must be applicable towards a science degree—“physics for poets” won’t do. (Part III.B.i–xi)
This presents a bit of a problem for me, as I hold two undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Business Administration, not science or engineering. While I have significantly more than a layman's understanding of certain scientific and engineering fields and certainly enough knowledge to continue working in patent prosecution, I lack any type of formalized training that the USPTO would recognize for purposes of the patent bar. As it stands, I have 8/24 hours of major-level physics completed (category B-1), but I would need to spend two years of full-time academic work to get those last 16 hours thanks to a never-ending chain of course prerequisites, and I simply don't have two more years to take off of work, without an income, just to stay working where I am now.

Are there any accredited online physics courses for degree-seeking students that I could take to satisfy the patent bar requirements for 16 more hours of degree-level physics?

Before you snarl in rage, I know " online physics courses" is a dirty term and an affront to the physics community at large. I don't need a degree to contribute academically to the field, though; I just need a check-box complete so that I can sit for the patent bar. It doesn't have to be particularly good or well-respected, so long as it's an accredited physics program. Nor do I care if the courses are cohesive -- this is simply, and unfortunately, a means to an end. While I'd love to pursue a full degree and the vast repositories of knowledge that come with it, it just doesn't make sense given my goals. Maybe one day I can go back and get a full degree after the fact, but for now I just need a quick and dirty shortcut.

Google and an old thread here from 2011 pointed me in the direction of Open University in the U.K., but thus far no one domestic or abroad has been able to confirm if courses taken there would actually count under the USPTO rubric.

Does anyone out there have experience or advice that might help? Will Open University credits count? Or are there other U.S.-based online physics degrees out there at which I should be looking?

Thank you in advance for any help or insight you can provide!
  • #62
Hi all at PF,
Hoping to get some help selecting final year subjects. I am interested in QIT. At the moment, I'm planning to go to grad school for theoretical physics. However, i am also trying to have a backdoor into a masters of computer science as it is a more realistic career track - i am also quite interested in AI. I am not sure how easy this transition would be without taking discrete maths and algorithms from selection (1), but including these subjects would mean i miss out on the math major.
Toss up is between:
A) Physics major and math major
B) Physics major with math minor and comp sci minor

Taken so far:
First year
Differential calculus
Integral calculus
Intro to stats
Linear algebra
Physics 1
Physics 2
Intro to programming - includes c and matlab

Second year
Vector calculus
2nd class on linear algebra - proof based
Intro to PDE
Real and complex analysis
Statistical model
Statistical tests
Physics 2-1
Physics 2-2

Planning to take:
Third year
Physics 3-1
Physics 3-2
Physics 3-3
Physics 3-4
Here is where i need suggestions for my last 3rd year subjects:
1) Discrete maths or intro to algorithms and data structure or non linear ODE's or mathematical computing - (can choose 2 of the 4 but i would need to select both ODE's and math comp to finish a math major)
2) Abstract algebra (2nd year) or theory of computation - (can choose 1 of the 2)

Appreciate any help you can offer.

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  • #63

so I actually wanted to study physics but because of some problem I basically dropped out. I just couldn't handle the workload at the time. So I took a semester off and sorted my dang out. Now, I can't really study physics anymore here, so I started a CSE bachelor. See: [some information is only available in German]

Anyway, while studying you focus on a specific topic like biology, financing, big data, statistics or physics. You can even choose stuff like atmosphere physics if you want. I know that I could for sure go into quantum information theory or theoretical astro physics and such - at least, in the CSE master.

But I'd like to do a bit more of the physics stuff. I'd like to have the options to be more of a "normal" physicist than just a pure computational physicist. I know that I'll lack the whole experimental stuff (at least at my university you do a lot of experiments) but I didn't really like the first such course I did too much. So I'm quit fine if it stays theoretical.

Anyway, I'd like to be able to apply for a physics master, for that, I'd like to take extra courses (even ones which don't give points) - like one course each year or each semester. The question is, what should I take?

I really liekd the whole relativity, electrodynamics stuff and I'd also like to dive into plasmaphysics (although there isn't a course which heavily focuses on this). I'm also wondering if I should take some additional math courses.

If anyone has an opinion on it, I'm pleased to hear it. :) Any suggestions are welcome.
  • #64
I'm looking for master's degree program in Nuclear Engineering and now, I'm looking at Russian universities.

I wonder if anyone here is familiar with Russian Nuclear Engineering graduate program, especially
MEPhI ( It is quite a well-known university in Russia offering various specialization training and academic courses related to nuclear power.

I notice that in Russia, there are two sub-discipline under the nuclear energy program: MSc. in Nuclear Power Engineering & Thermal Physics, and MSc. in Nuclear Physics & Technology.

I have just emailed a professor from MEPhI, Russia to find out more about their MSc. in Nuclear Engineering program, and here's his reply:
Dear Peh Hoo Guan,

I'm glad to hear you got interested in NKM course at EdX platform and our educational programs in general.

Regarding two programs you mentioned: Nuclear Physics and Technology focuses on the nuclear processes occuring in the core and the main courses include Nuclear Reactor Physics, Experimental Reactor Physics, Mathematical Modelling (Monte Carlo) etc; while Nuclear Power Engineering and Thermal Physics focuses on thermal-hydraulics rather than nuclear processes.

Master program at MEPhI lasts 2 years of which about 1.5 years are classwork and about half year of working on the thesis that is defended at the end of the study. Reactor training is not included in the educational program due to the safety requirements, but there are some exercises on the sub-critical assemblies. Yes, there's the laboratotory of mathematical modelling (Monte Carlo). Internship depends on where you are working on your thesis. If it's a professor at MEPhI then you stay at the unversity. Outside of MEPhI options are also possible.

Regarding you last question about working as teaching / research assistant - I copy this mail to the head of department Theoretical and Experimental Physics of Nuclear Reactors Mr. Nikolay Geraskin and deputy director of Insitute of Nuclear Physics and Technology Mr. Georgy Tikhomirov who are in charge to answer it.

Kind regards
Evgeny Kulikov
Associate professor

I wonder if it is quite normal that students are generally not trained in the practical hands on aspect of operating a research reactor? Or, you really need to attend reactor operator training licensing course before you get to tweak with the control panel.

And, what should I expect to learn in typical MSc. Nuclear Engineering program, and, what practical/hands-on skill that I would learn?

I'd appreciate if anyone could advice me on this.


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