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Programs Is it possible be a Physics major w/o HS Physics?

  • Thread starter pojke
  • Start date
Hi,

I'm currently a grade 11, and due to certain extreme circumstances I was unable to study Physics in the four years of High School (only Chemistry and Biology and Math, albeit to the highest levels possible for my age). I was wondering if I could still be double majoring in Physics & Math in a liberal arts college in the US? I understand that there is a lot of catching up to do and stuff, but can I still?

Thanks.
 
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You should check with the universities you're applying to, but generally, they do have prerequisities you have to meet in order to be admitted to, say, Physics. So check those requirements, see if you fit them, and if not, how to rectify that. One thing, though, is that I'm fairly sure you won't be able to get these requirementss waived. If they require you took Physics in high school, then it's going to be tough, you'll either have to find a school that only requires, for example, Maths and 2 Science courses, or take a Physics course somewhere else prior to getting admitted to university.
 
Some schools that I'm aware of offer a couple "0" level courses for students who do not meet all the pre-reqs but have good enough grades to be accepted to the program.
 

fss

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You should check with the universities you're applying to, but generally, they do have prerequisities you have to meet in order to be admitted to, say, Physics.
...and most universities provide those prerequisites.

If they require you took Physics in high school, then it's going to be tough, you'll either have to find a school that only requires, for example, Maths and 2 Science courses, or take a Physics course somewhere else prior to getting admitted to university.
I've honestly never heard of a university in the United States that would not let a student declare a physics major if they didn't take it in High School.
 
I agree. Any classes the university might require you to take will be offered. At my school they have things like Intro to physics or intro to Chemistry that you take if you got a C or lower in highschool (or never taken it).

Stupid courses really. I took intro physics and they went through mechanics, E&M and even optics in a 2 credit course. Can't say I really learned or got anything from that class.
 
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I've honestly never heard of a university in the United States that would not let a student declare a physics major if they didn't take it in High School.
Alright, fair enough, I guess my advice is valid for the UK, Canada and continental Europe then (probably also for Asian countries and the rest of the world). I haven't really looked into US schools, I assumed it was similar as everywhere else. pojke, freely disregard my post.
 

eri

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It really shouldn't be a problem. You can take calculus-based physics with no physics background; it's not a very difficult course if you're interested in physics. I got a C in high school physics (horrible teacher whom I often had to correct - like when he got redshift backwards) and went on to earn a PhD in physics. My undergraduate school never said a thing about my high school grades.
 
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Canadian universities don't care about what you did or did not do in high school. They only care when admitting you. After that, you are free to take anything.
 
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Canadian universities don't care about what you did or did not do in high school. They only care when admitting you. After that, you are free to take anything.
That was my point and I thought that was the whole point of pojke's question. But without Physics, you're not going to get into a Physics program at a Canadian university, at least not at any of the "usual suspects" (I can't say for sure for the smaller ones, but I would assume it's similar). Also, you are not always free to take anything, because sometimes you need, for example, Math 31 or whatever the equivalent is for certain first year courses.
 
Canadian universities don't care about what you did or did not do in high school. They only care when admitting you. After that, you are free to take anything.
That's not true for all of Canada. My university does list grade 12 courses as prerequisites for various individual intro courses, especially in science. I would be surprised if it's the only one to do so.
 
I'm in the US as a third year physics major without any HS physics, no one batted an eye.
 
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I never took physics in high school, and I began in the same physics that people who are majoring in physics begin (calc-based). I'm in engineering, but at my university it's definitely possible. I think we covered all of high school physics in about the first week. That was the only time I felt behind; it was really easy to catch up.
 
I did not take any physics in H.S, and I am a second semester physics and astronomy major. Trust me, even the kids that did, still bang their heads against walls just as much as I do during some of the problem sets.
 

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