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Help deciding what to study

  1. Jan 1, 2016 #1
    Hi. My name is [personally identifiable information removed by moderator].
    I have an innate interest in both mathematics and physics, and am unable to decide which to study at University. I believe that I can only study one due to my parents and their restrictions, and have no idea which to choose. The reason I mentioned my parents is that I am currently 16 years old, and have just graduated high school, and am about to move onto uni. Please help. Which one would be more beneficial to me?

    Please note, if it helps, that I have an IQ of 172, and have learnt both differential and integral calculus, ODEs and PDEs already. Thx.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2016 #2
    I would edit your name out from the post, for security reasons. Have you gone through rigorous math books ( proof/theorem), or just plug and chug? i.e., Stewart Calculus.
     
  4. Jan 1, 2016 #3
    Well, what areas from physics are most interesting to you? and i ask the same question from MidgetDwarf, you prefer rigorous math books(i.e:Calculus with Theory courses, that involve theorems and its proofs) or just the superficial books who nearly only teaches you how to compute some derivatives and integrals and that's all?
    Ps:I'm 16 too haha :D
     
  5. Jan 1, 2016 #4
    If you like both subjects, the best way to decide (assuming you have sufficient background knowledge, as the above questions are trying to deduce) would be to take a more difficult book from each of the fields and try to work through the problem sets. If you find that doing hours of work for difficult problems keeps you engaged in one subject more than the other, you may have your answer. As for books you could use, there are many good recommendations in textbook threads. And if you still cannot decide, doing a joint degree could be an option if your university offers it, and you may decide to switch into one or the other major after doing more courses.
     
  6. Jan 1, 2016 #5
    Hey thanks for the suggestion. Um, do any of you know which would be easier to obtain a job with. I have little to no interest in working as a researcher, so I'm not entirely certain which degree would offer better job prospects.
     
  7. Jan 1, 2016 #6

    symbolipoint

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    How certain are you about that? Have you research experience? Have you, maybe, bad research experience? Had you, maybe, done research under bad guidance? Maybe you could be comfortable doing research. Are you less interested in research but more interested in Design or Development? This is much like research but more oriented to practical results.

    Try to ask companies what problems they want people to solve. When you have some of those answers, ask yourself, (1) Which of those problems do you want to be able to solve, and (2) What should you study so that you would be able to solve those problems.
     
  8. Jan 1, 2016 #7
    As I said, I'm 16, so I haven't had any experiebce really. All I know is that to me, research sounds a bit... "icky" I prefer applications anyway. However, what you suggested does soud interesting.
     
  9. Jan 1, 2016 #8

    symbolipoint

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    You study both! You must learn Mathematics for ALL scientific fields, and Physics is very extensively reliant on Mathematics. You could choose Engineering as major field to study, if you want to have a practical choice for an easier time finding employment. You will need at least some courses in Physics for any engineering degree.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2017
  10. Jan 1, 2016 #9
    That's true. However, I feel that Engineering would disappoint my parents and my family. They have... High expectations for me. Does anyone know which engineering branch is the most mathematical?
     
  11. Jan 1, 2016 #10

    symbolipoint

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    Which of these would disappoint your parents:
    • Degree in Physics and you struggle to find a job
    • Degree in Engineering and you find a good job
     
  12. Jan 1, 2016 #11
    Alright, that's true. I just don't know what engineerig will be like. Will it be challenging?
     
  13. Jan 1, 2016 #12
    Did you try to study some topics of physics before? like eletrodynamics, thermodynamics, quantum physics, etc..? pehaps it could help you to decide what course in your life you should get in, and again i ask, you prefer rigorous books, or more superficial books?
     
  14. Jan 1, 2016 #13
    In all honesty, I do prefer the more rigorous, in depth books.
     
  15. Jan 1, 2016 #14
    You shouldn't waste your time worrying about what others might think about your choice of college major.
     
  16. Jan 1, 2016 #15

    symbolipoint

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    Now you have the beginning of a sense of direction to take. Will you, in the region of the world where you are, have the option to study Physics AND include some courses in Engineering? Can you choose Engineering as your major field to study and earn a "minor" concentration in Physics?
     
  17. Jan 1, 2016 #16
    I kind of have to, my parents are paying the fees.
     
  18. Jan 1, 2016 #17
    You said engineering would disappoint your parents and your family. Is everyone contributing?
     
  19. Jan 1, 2016 #18

    symbolipoint

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    You are willing to accept some counseling. Your parents need to accept some counseling also. Be very careful about trying to satisfy what they want you to do. It could backfire on you badly. Physics is a great, wonderful subject, but when companies want to hire scientific or technical people, many of them look for Engineers, or at least candidates with practical knowledge and skills.
     
  20. Jan 1, 2016 #19
    No, they just tend to pressure me a lot. Being a child prodigy isn't all it's cracked up to be.
     
  21. Jan 1, 2016 #20
    Yeah, I may do engineering first, and then, if i can, another degree in Physics later. Speaking of which, is it worth it getting a Ph.D in Engineering. Or is that more for physics and mathematics?
     
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