1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How Much Free Time do Physics Majors Have?

  1. Mar 19, 2009 #1
    If I major in physics and minor in math at university how much free time will I have? Because I want to dedicate myself to piano just as much as school.

    This whole university thing is scaring me. It makes me feel like not going at all and just playing the piano instead. Although I do have a very strong passion for science. It's just that where's the music in science? Get me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    What is this "free time" you speak of?

    Just kidding. Like anything else, the amount of spare time you have will depend on the course load you select, the efficiency of your study techniques, your natural aptitudes, how heavy the homework assignments are, the degree to which you involve yourself in extra-cirricular activities, and of course how well you really want to do.

    Overall, I found that physics and math were very time-intensive subjects, but it was certainly possible to make time for extra-cirricular things like sports, volunteer work, and going out on the weekends.
  4. Mar 19, 2009 #3
    The time requirement is not too bad, at least at my university. I would say, for an average semester, if I treat school like a full time job, I will do great. I have only rarely find myself stretched for time. Only on weeks particularly heavy on homework has free time become an issue. Most of the time, I have plenty of time during the day to do as I wish.
  5. Mar 19, 2009 #4
    The amount of free time you have always depends on how much you choose to devote yourself to certain tasks, making sure you master the details, and then of course some perhaps natural ability or special preparation that perhaps makes mastering those details simpler. So does realistically analyzing your sleep needs (During one term of undergrad when I took 21 or 22 credit-hours, I usually woke up at 6 so I could get ready and then play the piano for a half-hour before the cafeteria opened at 7.). So I think only you and your prior experience can answer that question.

    I would, however, take some consideration into the cost you are paying for tuition, etc... or if you are lucky to be on scholarship, the amount of resources that you've received for the chance to study. I was taught by my parents to always view being a student as a full-time job. And at various points in life I'm sure I took being a student as MORE than a full time job (for example, the first year of graduate school). That didn't mean I didn't have time to do other activities I wanted to do.

    Have you considered double majoring in math (or physics) with a major in music... and perhaps a strong minor in either physics (or math)? this might better justify your decision to balance "equal time." (Note... in order to get accepted into as a music major at many institutions you must audition.)

    If you look at the problem visa-versa... where's the science (& math) in music? This question can get very cool. One of my favorite classes was a digital signal processing class (through electrical engineering) where the professor often gave each individual student garbled sound files and we had to analyze the files for different types of "noise" and filter them out... and turn in the sound files after filtering for him to "grade" (basically we got the grade if we turned in a good file; since they were songs from his own garage band, he knew we couldn't really have cheated... and grading only got tough if we didn't succeed and he HAD to look at our programs).
  6. Mar 19, 2009 #5
    The week or two weeks where I have a bunch of tests and/or homework assignments can get pretty bad. Many of the other weeks though, I have a decent amount of time each day to relax and do as I wish.
  7. Feb 12, 2010 #6
    I'm majoring in Physics and I have about 32 hours (!!!) a week this semester between lectures, tutorials and labs. This is over 6 hours a day on average but that is spread over the entire day so I'm in university for about 9 hour every day on average, with 3 hours of breaks in between. On top of my journey time to the university is about 1 hr to 1 hr 30 min. So I'm tavelling for about 3 hours a day. So basically I'm away from my house for about 12 hours and I arrive home at around 7pm. When I get home I have to finish assignments and do some study, I finish most of my assignments at college during breaks but there's always some left over to finish and some study to do. It's important to put time aside to study physics because a lot of the maths and concepts can get very hard to understand and get used to. By 9pm or 10pm when I'm finish my assignments and study I just go to bed as I'm usually very tired and have to get up early the next morning again. I only really get time to socialise or do society work I'm involved in on Fridays and during the weekends.
  8. Feb 12, 2010 #7
    I'm a physics and math double major, and I play the violin quite a bit. Enough to understand musical passion even if I don't have it most of the time (but there are moments). That serene element of musical beauty is definitely "there" in physics, at least physics can induce it in most of the majors I'd say. Physics is pretty much the only subject where mind bogglingly new revelations can be made over standard courses, every course. Things that make you go "OH HOT DAMN" haha.

    You have a lot of spare time at college, relatively. See, you're busy almost ALL the time, doing work the majority of the day for most days, but you adapt to that kind of schedule pretty quickly. But the amount of freedom you have to allocate your time is much greater, so I think that gives you a feeling of having more time in hand. Anyways, I don't feel pressed for time except during exam weeks.

    I go out basically every Friday and Saturday. So yeah, I have more than enough time to do my physics, and my math, and hold a job, and lead a campus organization, and do research, and have free time. Its doable. And I'm not even particularly good at time management.
  9. Feb 12, 2010 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Good time management will enable you to accomplish your goals. Don't worry; you'll be fine. As physics girl phd has said, you will need to make sacrifices, but your desires can still be achieved.

    Currently, I am working 40-50 hours a week and going to school (B.S. in Engineering Physics) part-time. I still have time to drum, get things done around the house and/or yard, plan a nice dinner for valentines day, and spend some time with my wife every night. When I first started, it didn't seem like there was enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted; I was absolutely right. I am not able to devote all the time I want to certain things, but I am still able to devote some time nonetheless, and something is always better than nothing. :approve:

    Don't let fear of the unknown rob you of an exciting future. I am sure you can do it if you put your mind to what you want to do. You will learn how to effectively manage your time so that you'll be able to enjoy yourself along the way. :smile:
  10. Feb 12, 2010 #9
    It depends entirely on who you are. If you are the type of person who can stay busy all the time then yes you will have enough time. But if it bothers you that you will have no flexibility at all in your schedule and if you ever just feel like sitting down, it will screw you, then not so much.
  11. Feb 12, 2010 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Just go and do it, you'll be fine. It's not high school but it isn't like having 3 full time jobs while simultaneously constructing a rocket to pluto and also tutoring 900 Laotian immigrants on how to speak english. I don't know anyone, even at the masters level, who doesn't have time for their own little thing. I don't think you'll be able to dedicate yourself to piano AS MUCH as school because that implies you'd be doing the equivalent of going to school twice simultaneously which is a bit too much to consider. You surely will have time for it though.
  12. Feb 12, 2010 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It has been a year since the OP posted this question. I guess he's already enrolled at University.
  13. Feb 12, 2010 #12


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    oh fail. necro'ed
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook