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How hard is it to get a physics degree?

  • #1

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How hard is it to get through university studying physics? Do you lose your social life and spend crazy amounts of time on it or is it managable? Also is it a big problem if you are missing the basics and can you ever catch up during Undergrad?
 

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  • #2
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The combination of taking physics and math classes would take up a fair portion of time I would imagine, depending on how well you want to do. If you don't want to fall behind, you'll have to be willing to pass on those Friday and Saturday nights out.
 
  • #3
BvU
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Hello Martin,

Would it help you if I told you it was a breeze for me ? No, of course not. I did physics because math was too dry and chem too wet. All non-scientific subjects were too vague and applied things like engineering or electronics were too applied. I had a great time, played volleybal at a resonable level and had plenty of time to socialize. Even did a PhD and was - and still am - surprised to realize after all this studying you in fact really know next to nothing. But 99.9% of the others know even less and a lot of them are happy too!

So if you have a talent, go out, explore, develop and challenge it. Missing some of the basics isn't all that disastrous if you make sure to keep up with the lectures and exercise sessions.

You are enquiring after a physics study, so there must be something about it that attracts you. Reflect on that and consider if it suits you. And if you nevertheless want to change direction further on, physics is a good basis for a lot of things: I had fellow students switch over to medicine, to banking, to chemical engineering, geology, meteorology and management.

If still in doubt, ask one of the universities of your picking if they can recommend tests to find out your interests and talents.
 
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  • #4
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It really just depends on your personal habits. I've seen people who can take 18 credit hours, work a part-time job, and still have plenty of free time, and I've seen people who take the bare minimum and can barely pass.
 
  • #5
Student100
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How hard is it to get through university studying physics? Do you lose your social life and spend crazy amounts of time on it or is it managable? Also is it a big problem if you are missing the basics and can you ever catch up during Undergrad?
How hard compared to what? To something like sociology? Super hard. Compared to some of the other sciences, that's more questionable.

It's all very subjective, you're going to get lots of subjective replies.

For the part that's actually answerable, is it a big problem to be missing the basics? Yes. In that case I was suggest community college for the first couple of years. You can take remedial classes to catch up, so by the time you transfer you will be more or less prepared for junior and senior classes. You should realize that quality at community college is hit or miss, so you should also do some independent study.
 
  • #6
radium
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The thing that makes physics harder the other majors are the graduation requirements. You can make any major as difficult as you want, but it's easier to skate by majoring in something like English because the standards for the bare minimum are lower.
The key to doing well is time management and accepting that you will be more productive if you are happy and make time to do other things you enjoy.
 
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The key to doing well is time management and accepting that you will be more productive if you are happy and make time to do other things you enjoy.
This can't be stressed enough. Keep up with your hobbies, and for heaven's sake, GET ENOUGH SLEEP.
 
  • #8
QuantumCurt
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I'm a physics/math double major, and my workload can be heavy at times. It's not so heavy that I don't have a social life though. I have good time management skills, and I manage to get my work done while still having time for a social life, hanging out with friends, participating in student organizations, and time to just sit around the at home listening to music or watching a movie. There are certainly times that I've had to sacrifice some of my social time, particularly around mid-terms and finals. But I'm still managing to make my college years about more than just studying. I'm not generally an overly social person though, so my own idea of social life may vary from your own.
 
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  • #9
Choppy
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On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a platypus.
 
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I have time to go to class, study, work 20 hours a week, hang out with my girlfriend and other friends daily, and play one of the most technically demanding fighting game ever made at a competitive level. I am a physics major, and my life is awesome.
 

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