Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How bad is it not to take stat mech as an undergrad?

  1. Jul 28, 2010 #1
    So lately I've been thinking about not going to graduate school and getting a job after undergrad instead. However, at this point I'm still really unsure what I want to do so I'm fairly certain that I'm still going to apply to graduate school. Next semester I was planning on taking stat mech but now that I'm considering maybe not going to graduate school I'm considering maybe taking computer science instead to make myself more marketable for a job. But I'm wondering how bad it would be not to have stat mech if I end up deciding to still go to graduate school. Will it keep me out of good schools or be a problem once I start graduate school? Also how useful is taking a computer science class if I do end up deciding to stay in Physics? I know that there is a lot of programming involved in many areas of Physics but is it better to just learn everything on the fly or is having a formal computer science class useful?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2010 #2
    I haven't graduated yet but have taken both a statics class and a computer science class. I enjoyed both of them. I would take them if you interested in the subject. Otherwise, why bother?
     
  4. Aug 5, 2010 #3

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Statics and stat mech are different.
     
  5. Aug 5, 2010 #4
    Why did you bother to point out my ignorance when you could be answering the dudes actual question? Note to self: stat mech is not statics. Thanks
     
  6. Aug 5, 2010 #5
    In my experience, it is not common for undergrads to take a pure stat mech class. You are typically exposed to some stat mech in a junior level thermo class in physics, but it is usually quite basic.

    A graduate level stat mech class is typically required in grad school. I didn't have a proper stat mech class as an undergrad and was fine in grad school.

    On the other hand, you should discuss this with the undergraduate physics department advisor at your school. As no one here knows the specifics of your program or situation.

    Regarding the formal comp sci class. I think that if you are going to be doing ANY programing, that a formal class (or two) in comp sci is important. It is going to teach important tools and techniques in programing, that should be obvious. You could probably learn these on your own. What you won't learn on your own is how to code properly. Proper commenting, variable naming conventions, code structure, readability in algorithm design, etc. These are the things I see lacking in physicists who do not take some comp sci classes and make a huge difference when you have to work with research code you did not write.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook