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Courses How important is to do Optics in a Bachelor's degree physics course?

  1. Aug 26, 2009 #1
    The title of this thread speaks for itself, but to contextualize it, I should say that I am currently in the third (final ) year of my physics course and I have to choose some classes. Accordingly to the choices I have decided so far I would not do an Optics class in my course. Is that advisable?

    Thank you for your time and advices.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2009 #2


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    As far as I know Optics is a must for any Bachelor's degree.
    For instance I just can't get the degree without taking a course of optics.
  4. Aug 27, 2009 #3
    I got a bachelors in Engineering Physics without taking optics. It was an available option for us but not mandatory. It would depend on the school and program if you NEED to take it.

    If you want to know if you should take it then that depends on your career aspirations.
  5. Aug 28, 2009 #4
    It really depends on what you're planning to do afterwards, but I would advise you to take an Optics course.

    I studied quite a lot of optics during my undergraduate degree, and for my graduate degree I went to another school, where there is no optics at all in the curriculum, so most people don't know any of it. While my research is nowhere near optics, sometimes it pops here and there, and I sort of feel a certain advantage over people who don't know it.

    For example, the undergrad lab I was teaching has a lot of experiments on optics. I felt that other instructors had a certain difficulty in explaining them to students. (no specific optics knowledge was required for the lab, but it is usually good to know more than your students do)

    Of course it also depends on what course you would have to sacrifice in order to take optics.
  6. Aug 28, 2009 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    It totally depends on what you plan to do with your degree. While detailed knowledge of optics is not essential upon receipt of a BS (I'm not sure detailed knowledge of anything is), the concepts used in optics are very broadly applicable: energy transfer, wave propogation and interference, scattering, signal processing, etc. etc.
  7. Aug 28, 2009 #6
    What exactly do you mean by "optics"? just advanced geometrical optics or also wave optics, quantum optics ??? is is an experimental of a theoretical class ?
    I am studying in germany, it's ab bit different here, all of the curriculum as an undergrad is mandatory, but I still don't think that you can leave it out, since it is an essential part of electrodynamics and you will get a lot of the results again in quantum mechanics.
    also, spectroscopy is a major tool of experimental analysis used in many different fields. once you are in the lab and have to deal with it and you are not absolutely solid, at least in the basics, you got a real problem.
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