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Is it better to minor in mathematics?

  1. Sep 9, 2010 #1
    I want to major in physics and get my Ph.D. However, I was wondering of having a minor in mathematics. Will this make my school year longer if I only want a B.S. in mathematics? Also, will I have a better chance of getting a job when I complete grad school as a physicist who has a minor in mathematics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2010 #2
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure getting a PhD in Physics would pretty much encompass knowledge or advantage you could otherwise gain by doing a minor in Mathematics.
  4. Sep 9, 2010 #3


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    Once you have your PhD in...well, anything really...no one will pay any notice to your minor.
  5. Sep 9, 2010 #4
    So its pointless to minor in anything if I gain a Ph.D in physics. I ask this because I thought having a minor increase your chances of getting a job depending what company or government agency I want to work in. I' am also starting to believe that computer programming is on the rise as a preferred minor in any scientific studies.
  6. Sep 9, 2010 #5
    A "minor" is a concept oriented with an undergraduate degree. An undergrad degree becomes largely unimportant when you have your PhD. For instance nobody is going to care that I have an undergrad in mathematics if my PhD is in electrical engineering specializing in nanotech.

    Secondly, the concept of a minor is simply one of how many courses you took in a specific field. If you come out with a degree in physics there's a good chance that, just by the nature of the degree, you have taken enough credits in mathematics to declare it as a "minor".
  7. Sep 10, 2010 #6
    To extend the OP's question, what mathematics classes would be considered the "baseline" or standard-issue for any and all undergraduate physics majors (e.g. calculus, diff eqs, linear algebra, partial diff eqs, statistics)? Which advanced mathematics classes common to many, most, or all areas of physics are recommended to those individuals interested in advanced studies in physics?

    Moreover, what mathematics courses are recommended for those interested in one of the following areas of applied physics:

    • Biophysics
    • Optics
    • Photonics
    • Nuclear physics
    • Plasma physics
    • Condensed matter
  8. Sep 10, 2010 #7
    Damn. Well, everyone answered my question. I tried to search for a similar topic like this, but I couldn't find it. Thanks everyone.
  9. Sep 10, 2010 #8
    A course in complex analysis is also suggested for an undergraduate physics major.

    To move beyond calculus, diff eqs, linear algebra, partial diff eqs, statistics, etc., one really needs to take courses in modern algebra, analysis, and topology. Then you can get to differential geometry, functional analysis, etc., which are required for advanced theoretical physics.
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