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How hard is learning maths without specific maths classes?

  1. Apr 4, 2013 #1
    I'm going to university next year and i'm strongly considering doing physics. however the i'm slightly concerned because the physics degree at the uni im going to has very little of the math that i thought is needed for physics. to illustrate my point, in the course there are no PDEs, diff geometry, group theory or functional analysis , etc. and you can only do one out of linear algebra or ODEs. i know that many phys students who dont do a lot of math just pick up what they need in the physics classes. but how hard is that to do? would it not be difficult to understand if you're just learning the applications but not the theory behind it?
    The university also offers a physics and math joint degree but im reluctant to do that as it contains many math classes which are meant solely for maths students and may not actually be useful. also as a consequence i would have to take much less physics classes. i would like to know might this degree actually be more worthwhile to do than just the physics one?
    thank you, and please reply

    BTW, i dont live in the us. im not sure what the system there is like but from what ive heard there is huge freedom in the classes one can take there (and it's possible to do 4 degrees at once!). i just want to inform anyone answering it's not like that here, everyone has to take a set number of credits each year, and in most circumstances i'd say it's impossible to take more.
     
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  3. Apr 4, 2013 #2
    Unless you want to go hardcore theory you don't really need much more math than you pick up along the way, save for the calculus and linear algebra sequences. I don't think it iwll be a big problem. You can always read math books during your free time.
     
  4. Apr 4, 2013 #3

    George Jones

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    Are you sure that you can only choose one of linear algebra and ODEs, and that PDEs aren't covered? I find this very difficult to believe. Are there required courses called Mathematical Methods or Mathematical Physics?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  5. Apr 5, 2013 #4
    yes i'm certain, though there is a class on multivariable calculus which might cover some of the basics for PDEs.

    no, there are no general courses like that available.
     
  6. Apr 5, 2013 #5

    George Jones

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    Do you mind giving the name of the university? I am curious about its program, and I would like to take a look.
     
  7. Apr 5, 2013 #6
  8. Apr 5, 2013 #7

    George Jones

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    There is a difference between what is required by a program, what can or is advised to be taken in a program.

    The Physics webpage lists various possibilities.

    http://www.physics.ucc.ie/undergrad.html

    Scroll down to "BSc in Physics" and click on "Click to view information on this course". Look carefully at the course descriptions for the various courses in the various options. It looks like there is a fair amount of mathematics available.

    If you want even more mathematics, you might also do the same for "BSc in Mathematics & Physics"
     
  9. Apr 5, 2013 #8
    Have you looked at The University of Limerick B.Sc in Mathematics and Physics?
     
  10. Apr 5, 2013 #9
    Yes, but i want to stay in cork at least for my undergraduate studies.
     
  11. Apr 5, 2013 #10
    Ah ok. If you're worried about not enough mathematical rigor why not do MAthematics and Physics in UCC?
     
  12. Apr 5, 2013 #11
    this was exactly the point of my question; i was asking whether that might be better.
     
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