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How many hard science courses can you handle per semester?

  1. 1

    0 vote(s)
  2. 2

    2 vote(s)
  3. 3

    14 vote(s)
  4. 4

    7 vote(s)
  5. 5

    8 vote(s)
  1. May 31, 2013 #1


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    Our math program requires only three math courses per semester so I can elect to take less intesive courses like music or french but our physics program requires four to five physics and math courses per semester. Because of this, I thought of taking three courses per semester and stay a bit longer, but if I am just lazy and trying to circumvent, I'll probably work my butt off.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2013 #2
    I put 5 because that's by far the norm in engineering at my school, and it's not at all unusual to add a non-science course on top of that. 4 science/math and one non-science course is sort of common, but anything less than that and people will start being curious about why you're doing so little (are you working full time on the side, or what?). You end up spending a lot of years in school if you don't take 5 most semesters, so that's why most people take on such a heavy workload. I've done 5 science courses every semester except for one, and I've been able to be successful academically. I've also taken my fair share of courses for physics/math majors, so I can tell you that the engineering courses are certainly comparable in difficulty to the physics/math major courses, the engineers just tend to take more science courses.

    That said, taking 5 science courses is a lot of work, and I wouldn't do it if I knew I was going to have to deal with that kind of stress for more than a few years. So in the "is my life sustainable long-term when I'm taking 5 science courses" sense, I can't really "handle" 5 science courses. For a few years though? Definitely.
  4. Jun 1, 2013 #3


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    Education Advisor

    I'm interested in seeing more responses to this. I'm in a community college right now getting all of my lower level course work and geneds done...but after transferring, I'll be hopefully double majoring in physics and math, and looking at the courses that I'll need to take, I'll most likely be basically required to take 4-5 math/physics courses per semester. That seems difficult, but not having a bunch of gened classes to do at the same time should make it considerably easier.
  5. Jun 1, 2013 #4
    Shouldn't it be clarified what is considered a course? There are plenty of courses with differing credits, do you mean 10 ECTS courses, or some other types of credits? I know I can do 40 ECTS worth of science credits in a semester and do well on the exams, but my understanding of the subjects definitely takes a hit and I'm not going to do it anymore and just take the recommended 30 ECTS a semester.
  6. Jun 1, 2013 #5
    A program at my school called Engineering Physics requires, at times, for people to take 8 engineering / physics / math courses per semester. Some people can do this, but a lot of people take an extra year to finish. So, it can be done.
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