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Courses Is grad-level E&M a risk?

  1. Dec 18, 2016 #1
    I am an undergraduate with 3 more semesters left and with the majority of my physics core complete, except for quantum theory. I'd like to give my best effort to entering a top graduate school, but I got B marks in E&M I and Classical Mechanics. This semester was a turnaround, with straight A's, including E&M II (which I loved.)

    I think that getting an A in grad-level E&M could demonstrate that I know physics core well before entering a PhD program. Question is, how much would I risk getting a grade below an A with a good prof?

    And if I do switch into the grad-level course, could you please suggest which of these 400 level courses I can drop as the most "useless" for a serious physics student?

    - Theoretical Astrophysics II in the Astro department
    - Ordinary Differential Equations II with Stability Theory
    - Applied Partial Differential Equations.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2016 #2

    ZapperZ

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    I will ask this same question as I've asked repeatedly to all the other posts of this type: Have you discussed this exact issue with your academic advisor?!

    For some odd reason, members who post this type of question have often neglected to inform us if he/she (i) has talked to an academic advisor, (ii) if yes, what was the response, and (iii) if no, why not?

    The reason for this is (i) we do not know how good of a student you are. We don't know if you are an "A"-averaged student, a "B"-averaged students, or if you are teetering on passing and failing. (ii) we don't know how strong of a competition or the caliber of the graduate students you will have in those graduate classes, and (iii) do you need to boost your GPA so that you can get into more competitive graduate schools?

    These are the type of 2-way communications that you need to have with the person who will give you such advice that you are seeking.

    Zz.
     
  4. Dec 18, 2016 #3
    Thanks, Zz. I got this idea after the end of the semester - so no, I have not discussed the question with my advisor.

    If we rightfully set aside the question of my past and future GPA and aptitude, have you any input on the usefulness of the Astro and two math courses I listed above?
     
  5. Dec 18, 2016 #4

    ZapperZ

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    It will be irresponsible for me to offer such an advice, because (i) I don't know how strong your background is in taking those courses (ii) I don't know what you intend to do in graduate school (ii) I don't know how useful those courses are with what you are hoping to do.

    Zz.
     
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