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Interesting idea double major in physics and math, while working towards a masters

  1. Jan 15, 2013 #1
    in physics. Alright so I could either graduate a year early with my AP credit or take four years and double major in math and...get a masters in physics? Im unsure of how this would work though. My goal is to get into the best possible school. If I take four years, I will have room for about 9 graduate courses in physics and a math major.
    1. Is the math major moderately useful for theoretical physics?
    2. Should I do a masters with or without thesis, if so could I combine this with my undergrad honors physics thesis into one? Sounds reasonable to me.
    3. I will have the 9 grad courses spread out over two years if that affects how I could do a masters.
    4. Would it be possible to do a masters with the given info? UCONN says for without thesis: 24 credits. With thesis: 9 credits of thesis research (is that all?).
    Thanks! I think it'd be an interesting idea and Id really learn a LOT.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2013 #2

    Mute

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    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    Which country are you in? The answer will depend on where you are, I think.
     
  4. Jan 15, 2013 #3
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    Good ole USA. Also, I think about two of the grad courses would have to be used towards undergrad requirements if that changes anything
     
  5. Jan 15, 2013 #4

    ZombieFeynman

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    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    I think doing a masters is ambitious. It is possible, but be sure to check that courses that count for your masters also count for you Bsc.

    I double majored in math and physics. I think the math major contributed to my mathematical maturity, gave my confidence, and let me focus on the physics when i got into grad school.

    Many of your questions should be directed towards the director of undergraduate studies in your physics dept.

    Personally, I think you will be better prepared to make such decisions after you take your first real math or physics class.
     
  6. Jan 15, 2013 #5
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    I agree zombiefenyman, though to be fair it was your suggestions that led me to such an idea :) I just wanted to gather an initial take on such an idea. Quite often I have dumb ideas that I prefer to realize aren't possible from an anonymous online community than my adviser! I agree the masters may be too much depending on how it works out, though I believe the extra physics research courses will be beneficial even if they dont end up being recognized officially. I really do like the idea of a math major to help build up my skillset and background
     
  7. Jan 15, 2013 #6

    ZombieFeynman

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    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    Take any advice from me with heaps of salt,

    You must realize that I am an undead new yorker who roams around in search of brains to eat and interesting problems to solve.



    But also, the limitations of help you recieve in this area of the forum are immense.
     
  8. Jan 16, 2013 #7
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    I second this.

    It's kinda ridiculous to plan out an entire undergrad double major with a master's from the start. One thing that might happen is class time-conflicts which might set you back if you're trying to stay strict to the plan.
     
  9. Jan 16, 2013 #8
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    Im unsure of what you mean by this. I have taken first year physics with calculus and calc 1 and 2. Unless you mean upper level math and physics as being "real", in which case I think id be in such a position after this semester during which I'll take quantum, independent study in nuclear physics, and calc 3 and 4. Either way such planning is not completely out of line. Though I do recognize that I overthink such things >_<
     
  10. Jan 16, 2013 #9

    Mute

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    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    Have you confirmed that your program will actually give you a Master's degree just by doing some graduate coursework? Since most graduate program's don't offer a terminal master's degree - usually it's just something you can pick up along the way to a Ph.D. after you meet some coursework requirements - I don't know if in the US you can pick one up with your Bachelor's degree.

    Just in case you don't know, Physics Ph.D. programs in the US don't require you to have a Master's before applying.
     
  11. Jan 16, 2013 #10
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    I have not confirmed. I feel like they must if I do the thesis route but maybe if I do coursework. And I know its not required, just figured if I want to stay with friends and build up my skills in a fourth year a masters would probably be beneficial.
    Again, do you guys recommend with or without thesis if I intend to go on for a ohd elsewhere?
     
  12. Jan 16, 2013 #11

    Mute

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    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    You should find out first whether or not the extra work will even net you a Master's degree before you decide whether or not to do a thesis vs. coursework Master's. Also, many undergraduate programs have honours thesis type courses in which you do a thesis project with a professor; however, they don't award Master's degrees for this course, and the requirement for an undergraduate honours thesis would be less than for a Master's thesis.

    At any rate, if you can pick up a Master's by doing extra coursework, that's probably the better way to go if you intend on doing a Ph.D. in the US. As I said, in Physics Ph.D. programs in the US you enter directly into a Ph.D. program. You don't even need to get your Master's along the way to the Ph.D., but if you opt to get the Master's degree on your way, it's usually only coursework you would have to complete. So, I doubt you would need to do a Master's thesis in the US. Having a Master's thesis is not going to let you cut any corners on your Ph.D. thesis.

    However, if you were to consider doing your Ph.D. in Canada, then doing a thesis Master's may be beneficial. In Canada, if you do not have a Master's degree, you have to apply to a Master's program, even in Physics. Then, to get into a Ph.D. program you can either do a Master's thesis, get your Master's degree and then apply to a Ph.D. program at another school, or if you are doing well many Master's programs will allow you to apply to transition directly into the Ph.D. program without finishing the Master's thesis. So, this is one situation in which I could imagine getting a Master's thesis along with your Bachelor's degree could benefit you, but I can't say with 100% certainly that this is correct.

    That said, I will reiterate that you should check with your program that you even can get a Master's degree along with your Bachelor's degree. by just doing extra coursework or some thesis work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  13. Jan 16, 2013 #12
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    I will ask for sure, I just wanted to know if I should be asking about with or without thesis. Thanks for your response btw!
     
  14. Jan 17, 2013 #13

    MarneMath

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    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    First, I encourage you to stop microplanning a possible future when you're not even sure if such future is possible at your school. Secondly, you need to look if your school has a combined undergraduate master programs. At some schools, this program would be one that you would go the normal route for the first two years, and if you maintain a certain GPA you may apply to the mastes program, and then for the two or three years (usually three), some of your credits will count towards both your undergraduate and masters.

    That's the only way I see your plan being feesible.
     
  15. Jan 17, 2013 #14
    Re: Interesting idea...double major in physics and math, while working towards a mast

    I agree. I have to stop microplanning. Its my last week of vacation and I just get carried away when im out of school for so long
     
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