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Linear Algebra vs Applied LA

  1. Feb 29, 2012 #1
    I have to register for Fall classes in the next few days, and my advisor is not responding to emails, so I figured I would ask this question here.

    I am pursuing a Mathematics BS, and have the choice to take either Linear Algebra or Applied Linear Algebra. I initially was going to take Linear Algebra, but I found out that my favorite professor, and one that I've become quite close with, is teaching Applied Linear Algebra, so I want to take that instead.

    These are the course descriptions:

    LA: Linear equations, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, bases, linear transformations and similarity, inner product spaces, eigenvectors, orthonormal bases, diagonalization, and principal axes.

    APPLIED LA: Solving linear systems, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, bases, linear transformations, eigenvectors, norms, inner products, decompositions, applications. Problem solving using MATLAB.

    If my end goal is to go to grad school, would taking applied put me at any disadvantage? This might seem like an extremely silly question, but I honestly have no idea, and better safe than sorry. :P
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2012 #2
    Grad school in math or physics or...?

    If physics, definitely take applied if you like the professor so much.
  4. Feb 29, 2012 #3
    In math, sorry for not specifying.
  5. Feb 29, 2012 #4
    If you want to study math, take the linear algebra.
  6. Feb 29, 2012 #5
    Definitely take the linear algebra class.
  7. Feb 29, 2012 #6


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    If you take the applied linear algebra class you're going to spend the whole time calculating things without understanding why you care about them. Furthermore, linear algebra is absolutely a prerequisite to do graduate level math in any field
  8. Feb 29, 2012 #7
    Every university functions differently, so it's hard to give you an answer. At my undergrad university, the math linear algebra was much easier than the applied math linear algebra. In applied math, we did the same proofs, the same general material, mostly the same, except we actually had to say what eigenvalues and eigenvectors could be used for -- how to apply the proofs and theory. All the pure math guys had to do was prove some eigenvalue stuff and then find them. However, I will suffice by saying that the applied math LA was an upper division course and the pure math LA was lower division.

    Again, it will vary by university and department, but this thread was heavily biased towards pure math so I couldn't resist throwing in my opinion.
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