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Courses How many physics and math courses would you take each semester?

  1. May 28, 2012 #1
    I am going to be transferring to a University in the Fall with the intent on completing a math and physics double major. My only issue as of now is that while I am trying to plan my courses for the next year, I am unsure how many upper level math and physics courses it's possible to take each semester.

    Has anyone here completed the same double major? Any advice on how to schedule courses?

    For some reference I completed Multivariate Calculus, Differential Equations, Physics II, and Chemistry II last semester in a dual enrollment (high school and college) program at a community college with all A's with little difficulty.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2012 #2
    I have the same double major. Last semester I took Classical Mechanics 2, Electricity and Magnetism 2, Quantum Mechanics 2, Thermodynamics, and a Computational Physics course. I wouldn't suggest it. But it does depend on the individual and how much time you have to devote to your classes.
  4. May 28, 2012 #3
    What kind of classes will you be taking next semester? We can describe how difficult the schedule might be. Once you transfer you can talk about classes with other students at your university. You can get info on who teaches what and they can give you a better feel of how the courses at your university are. Also, look at your school's degree plans to see how they organized the courses for each semester. See if you can organize something that works for you and ask whenever you need help.
  5. May 28, 2012 #4
    As of now my Fall schedule will probably consist of Linear Algebra, Introduction to Advanced Math (basically set theory and an intro proofs course), Modern Physics (physics III), and Intro to modern Astrophysics. On top of those courses I was accepted into an undergraduate research program.
  6. May 28, 2012 #5
    multivariable calc, differential equations, and physics 2 are first year courses at university and thus not very difficult. it's great that you were able to handle all of those classes well but upper division classes are more difficult and more time consuming.

    most math/physics majors (or double majors) take 3 major classes per semester (or quarter) and some take more. it really depends on how much you yourself can handle. i would say start with 2, maybe 3 and if you find that you can't handle the load, you can always drop one of your courses. it won't be a waste to do so because you will learn your own limits to what you can handle and it is important to understand that.

    it also helps to know how much time each class takes up. for math and physics courses, the time spent outside of class is more or less standard. assuming you read the book, review your notes, work on the homework, etc. you can expect maybe 2 hours per day for each math/physics course. so if you take a class that is not in math/physics (like a writing course), make sure you know how much time that takes up so you know how much time you can dedicate to your more important courses.
  7. May 28, 2012 #6
    Definitely agreed. 12 credits/3 classes of upper division physics and math seems reasonable. I took 16 credits/4 upper level classes last semester (upper level electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, and PDE's last semester with an upper level engineering elective tacked on) and would not recommend that many. I did fine and it's probably doable depending on the individual, but I did spend all my free time working on school work and essentially lost most of a social life for the semester.
  8. May 28, 2012 #7
    It really just depends.

    If it's five courses with five easy instructors, that's not bad. Three courses with the three hardest instructors Ive had would be pretty miserable.

    The average is probably four and a half though.

    The most I took was five. Two graduate and three upper divisions.
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