Is this schedule too much?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

First post here. Recently changed my major from philosophy to physics(I recognize that this may be humorous to some of you :tongue:), so I thought I would join this forum. I wanted to ask if you guys think that that schedule would be cramming too much into a single semester.

Honors Introductory Optics and Thermodynamics
Introduction to Linear Algebra
Vector Calculus(This is calc 3/multi variable calc at my uni)
Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations

Thanks in advance for any info/advice. I'll post the course descriptions if necessary.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
cjl
Science Advisor
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Honestly, that doesn't sound too hard to me. I don't know what kind of a workload that particular thermo class is, but linear algebra is fairly straightforward, as is an intro to ODE. Calc 3 can be a bit harder, but overall, that certainly seems doable, assuming you are reasonably comfortable with math (that is a very math heavy schedule).


EDIT: If anything, as the posts below this one show, it's a hair light.
 
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  • #3
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Take that and add on another course and you'll have a typical one-semester schedule for a physics undergrad. My schedule first semester last year was:
Intro to electricity and magnetism
Multivariable Calc
Ordinary Differential Equations
Linear Algebra I
Oscillations and Waves.

My schedule first semester next year is also 5 classes, but Im not worried about it, I'm worried about second semester next year:

Quantum Mechanics I
Computer Simulations in Physics
Electromagnetism II
Intro to Thermal Physics
Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology

I'm telling you this just to put it in perspective that most physics undergrads have 5 HARD courses each semester. You only having 4 (2 of which should be easy) is a rather light workload.
 
  • #4
My coming schedule is going to have:

intro to aero engineering (1 credit)
statics (3)
ordinary and intro to partial diff EQ's (4)
vector calculus (4)
an 'exploratory' course that is mostly writing and giving presentations (3)
and probably an intro programming course (2)

Yours looks easy by comparison.
 
  • #5
Out of curiousity, what schools/universities are you guys attending? I'm currently going for my BS in computer & electronic engineering, but I am planning on double majoring in physics and mathematics soon after graduating?
 
  • #6
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1
The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
 
  • #7
cjl
Science Advisor
1,861
435
I'm at the University of Colorado at Boulder working on a masters in Aerospace Engineering.
 
  • #8
University of Texas at Austin, trying for my undergrad in Aero Engineering.
 
  • #9
Take that and add on another course and you'll have a typical one-semester schedule for a physics undergrad. My schedule first semester last year was:
Intro to electricity and magnetism
Multivariable Calc
Ordinary Differential Equations
Linear Algebra I
Oscillations and Waves.

My schedule first semester next year is also 5 classes, but Im not worried about it, I'm worried about second semester next year:

Quantum Mechanics I
Computer Simulations in Physics
Electromagnetism II
Intro to Thermal Physics
Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology

I'm telling you this just to put it in perspective that most physics undergrads have 5 HARD courses each semester. You only having 4 (2 of which should be easy) is a rather light workload.
Roughly how many hours per day do you spend studying, doing problem sets, etc..? Unfortunately I lack the prerequisites to take any classes other than the 4 I already have.
 
  • #10
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Do you think you can keep up with the homework?

Elsewise go for it!
 
  • #11
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0
Gauge your workload by credits.

A rule of thumb is that for every credit you're taking, you should expect to spend three hours on school (including class time) per week.

For example, if you're taking 15 credits, expect to spend 15 hours in lecture and 30 hours on studying and homework, so 45 hours total.
 
  • #12
fluidistic
Gold Member
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First post here. Recently changed my major from philosophy to physics(I recognize that this may be humorous to some of you :tongue:), so I thought I would join this forum. I wanted to ask if you guys think that that schedule would be cramming too much into a single semester.

Honors Introductory Optics and Thermodynamics
Introduction to Linear Algebra
Vector Calculus(This is calc 3/multi variable calc at my uni)
Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations

Thanks in advance for any info/advice. I'll post the course descriptions if necessary.
Are there any course proof based?
Also, have you taken calculus I and II?
If the answer to the first question is no and the answer to the second question is yes then I don't see why you wouldn't succeed if you put some effort in studying.
 
  • #13
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I'm at Waterloo. My courses this fall are Calc III, Linear Algebra II, Intro to DEs, Quantum Physics I, and Theoretical Mechanics.
 
  • #14
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0
If that's fall, I'd say add a course. The avg fall/spring course load is 15-16 hrs.

If that's summer, I'm taking 4 technical courses this summer and regretting it. I'm doing good in all of them, but it's hard to keep up with my self study material as well and have a social life (I've resigned myself to being boring for the next few months :P). I was hoping to join a club this summer but I think i'll be waiting until fall so I don't overload myself and do poorly in the classes.
 
  • #15
Are there any course proof based?
Also, have you taken calculus I and II?
If the answer to the first question is no and the answer to the second question is yes then I don't see why you wouldn't succeed if you put some effort in studying.
The linear algebra course description,

Vector spaces, linear transformations and matrices. There is some emphasis on the writing of proofs.

Yes I have taken calc I and II.

If that's fall, I'd say add a course. The avg fall/spring course load is 15-16 hrs.

If that's summer, I'm taking 4 technical courses this summer and regretting it. I'm doing good in all of them, but it's hard to keep up with my self study material as well and have a social life (I've resigned myself to being boring for the next few months :P). I was hoping to join a club this summer but I think i'll be waiting until fall so I don't overload myself and do poorly in the classes.
It's not summer. Since I'm lacking in prerequisites, I really have no courses to add. The only possible course to add would be the honors introductory electricity and magnetism, which would push me up to 18 credits. I feel like adding that course would be a bit too much.
 
  • #16
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1
Roughly how many hours per day do you spend studying, doing problem sets, etc..? Unfortunately I lack the prerequisites to take any classes other than the 4 I already have.
Unfortunate indeed. Total class time is usually around 18-20 hours and my rule of thumb is for every hour there's 2 hours of independent study, and I tend to average just that. So overall I'll spend about 40 hours a week on top of the 20 hours in class studying or doing problems.
 
  • #17
I have another quick question. My uni offers 200 level "Intro" Linear Algebra and Diff Eq courses and 400 level courses which are just titled Linear Algebra and Ordinary Differential Equations. Do physics majors usually take all 4 of these?
 
  • #18
Gib Z
Homework Helper
3,346
5
Not in the same semester. In my university, we have Differential Calculus and Introductory Linear algebra in the first semester of 1st year (so thats the basics like matricies, row operations, computing determinants, eigenvalues, finding equations of planes, etc etc) and 2nd semester is Integral Calc/Intro to ODE's.

Then in 2nd year, First Semester is Linear Algebra (Vector spaces, Linear transformations etc), and Vector Calculus. Then 2nd semester of 2nd year has Intro to PDEs which has more ODE theory inbuilt. Thats generally the full set of what most Physics students do here. Some of them stick around the math dept in 3rd year for Differential Geometry, or Lagrangian/Hamiltonian Dynamics (as an applied mathematics course) or Dynamical Systems courses, but that depends on what they are doing in physics.

So other Uni's should also have these topics spread out like that.

Last thing: It's better to have 1 class too little than 1 class too many. Try this semester with your current work load - if you think you can add on another class next time, without dropping your performance in the other classes, then go for it, but try it out with this load for now.
 
  • #19
Hmmm, at my uni, Calc II is a prerequisite for Introductory Linear algebra. If I were interested in going on in theoretical physics, what math would I pursue after the ODE/PDE courses? Also, my uni offers 2 semesters of a class called Mathematical Techniques in Physics(the second semester being titled Methods of Mathematical Physics). Would I take these classes instead of further math classes past the standard string, or perhaps in conjunction with further math classes?
 

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