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Is this a good set up for my degree?

  1. Jul 30, 2015 #1
    So I was originally in Neuroscience and took a physics course and ended up loving it so much I switched over. Nonetheless, I'm pretty much starting from the beginning. I was wondering if this overall schedule throughout my degree would be good for potentially going into grad school for theoretical work in astrophysics, mainly cosmology. Some courses are required, but if they are and it's commented on I'll just make note of it. Would you guys recommend removing anything and adding something else? Any advice is greatly appreciated :)

    Year 1:

    Physics I - Calculus II - Logic and foundations (required for some other courses I've added) - Fundamentals of programming I
    Concepts in modern astronomy - Physics II - Calculus III - Matrix algebra I

    Year 2:

    Introduction to astrophysics - Intro to lab electronics (physics) - Intro to E&M - Intro to real analysis - Calc IV
    Intro to planetary science - Intro to algebra - Intro to quantum physics - Thermodynamics - Optics

    Year 3:

    Quantum mechanics I - Fundamentals of programming II - Classical mechanics I - E&M - Intermediate ordinary differential equations
    Introductory extragalactic astronomy - Intro to topology - Intro to partial differential equations - Complex variables - Classical mechanics II

    Year 4:

    General relativity and cosmology - Quantum mechanics II - Abstract algebra I - Intro to observational astronomy - Intro to astrophysical processes
    Nuclear physics and radioactivity - Particle physics - Calculus on manifolds - Intro to stellar astrophysics - Intro to cosmology

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2015 #2
    This seems to be not so satisfactory if you plan to do theory, because it delays your exposure to quantum physics, and the mathematics study is not intense.There is an emphasis for astrophysics, which I suppose is one of the strong points of your university. I think the forth year is good though, as it contains general relativity (which is usual!) and calculus on manifold. You will perhaps enjoy it if you want to specialise in astrophysics as the pace is not too fast yet still give the basic background for further research. (You may want to compare this with other university's, ranging from the most advanced (like Princeton), to other more comfortable and soft ones.)
  4. Jul 30, 2015 #3
    I tried changing your scheme, but it doesn't add up. Some years you have 4 courses per semester, other years 5.

    I would do the basics first, then the icing. You mag change your mind about astrophysics or about cosmology. Then you will have specialized courses you didn't need after all, and you have to pass on on advanced general courses or specialized courses you need for your new direction.

    It is nice now that you think you will be doing theoretical work or cosmology, but when it becomes apparent halfway through your education that you can't be sure about good job prospects, it is probably not worth the risk.
  5. Jul 30, 2015 #4
    I'll definitely be taking a look around then. Thank you!

    Since I was in a different program, I ended up having transfer credit. Technically, to graduate in this program with the transfer credit I do have, I only actually need 4 courses each term in the last 3 years, and only 3 courses each term in the first year. I've added quite a few classes that technically aren't required for my degree. As per the rest, I definitely thought about how I might change my mind, so I did try and keep it somewhat broad while still getting the most out of it. But, I'll definitely keep that in mind, thank you!
  6. Jul 30, 2015 #5
    I support taking QM as early as possible :3

    Also you've got quite a lot of maths courses there, including some fairly abstract ones. Are you completely sure your maths is up to scratch? Analysis and Algebra can be pretty tough, plus they're not exactly as useful in theoretical astro as in HEP afaik. You'd probably be better off swapping some of those for stuff like differential geometry and topology (which I can see you have some of already). You'd probably get more use out of a more methods focused course in complex variables than complex analysis, for example.

    Also you have GR + cosmo then an intro cosmo course the next semester, is this the correct order to take these and/or is there significant overlap between these courses?
  7. Jul 30, 2015 #6
    I'll make note of switching those courses around then for sure. While I wouldn't be able to complete those courses right now (obviously), I do believe with the work and the pre-reqs they are obtainable.

    The GR + cosmo course is a course that isn't required and is offered through "physics", but I added it out of sheer interest in relativity, and it's usefulness amongst the cosmos. As for the intro to cosmology course, it is required, and is offered through "astronomy". Neither of them are pre-reqs for the other, but that is a good point, I did take a look just to make sure there wasn't an issue with it.
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