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Is a dual major worth it?

  1. Sep 4, 2007 #1
    I'm already majoring in physics but plan on majoring in math as well. If I'm aiming to go into astronomy or astrophysics, I assume the math BS would help like steroids, right?

    And how important should it be for me to get into the state university to study said fields if I plan on going to grad school then PhD? Would I have a better chance down the line if I had a BS in math and a BS in physics from University of [state] as opposed to Western [state] University?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2007 #2


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    I know nothing about the US education system, but if you intend to study astronomy theory, or astrophysics, then I would recommend learning as much maths as you can fit into your degree.
  4. Sep 4, 2007 #3
    what do you mean by 'study said fields'?
    I dont think theres any schools that go by 'Western [state] University'?

    For grad school admissions, it doesn't matter too much where you go for undergrad
  5. Sep 4, 2007 #4
    The advice and Regulations from my school's honors college concerning Double Majoring is not to. The reason is that double majors in similar fields (such as math and physics for undergrads) have a signifigant amount of overlap--and as a result graduate schools (supposibly) will see your transcript and go: "Wow it too him/her twice as long to understand that topic!"

    So the recomendation by my honor's college is to instead focus on multiple minors in similar fields instead of the double major, unless the double major is in fields not normally thought of as fitting together.

    Now if your Dual major is a system where certain overlaps are removed because of communication between the two departments, than I would see no problems.

    (Note, others on this board have much different opinions).
  6. Sep 4, 2007 #5
    I would be interested to see what these so called overlaps are. I'm a senior double major in physics and math and there has been very little overlap. Sure I've taken stuff from my math classes like PDEs and applied them to physics, but we never actually talked about physics in the PDE class, beyond a cursory overview to motivate the problem at hand. Same of linear algebra. The idea that a grad committee would prefer a student who just took physics courses to a student who takes the same physics courses PLUS a bunch of math is very strange to me, and IMO borders on ridiculous. I have classmates who did not take all the math that I did and it shows when we study physics.

    To the OP: I double majored and have never regretted it. In fact it was nice because every time a new math concept was introduced in a physics class I already knew about it and was able to focus on the physics. So I would highly recommend double majoring if you have the time and motivation. Oh, and I wouldn't say it's like steroids, it's more like you have a much more rigorous training regiment.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
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