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Other Major change of mind about my Major...

  1. Jan 28, 2017 #1
    Hello friends. I'm an economics major who felt too unconfident in his math skills to enter physics. Two semesters into college, I realize that I know enough math for intro courses.

    So, to be honest, I'm considering returning to physics. However, I have taken (and will take) NO math or physics courses this semester, and I must take eight general education courses over the remaining three years, which is insane. I'm not a fan of that. With all that said, how could I ever major in physics? How could I get a better background in math while I'm at it? This is stressful.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2017 #2

    Student100

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    Why're you stressed? You already know what you have to do it sounds like.

    You should go ahead and get on the track for physics majors. This means doing the calculus series, linear algebra, lower division differential equations if offered, along with basic mechanics/E&M/waves/optics with any other requirements like chemsitry. Then complete upper division coursework.

    If you declared an econ major change it and talk to your advisor about your desires.

    If it takes an extra year to get back on track that's what it takes. Some of your econ classes should count towards GE's though.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2017 #3

    symbolipoint

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    Three years is longer than necessary to get done with your general education course requirements. They should be finished in two years OR LESS. Once nearly done with them, load-up on the Mathematics and Physics courses as best you can and focus intensely on them.
     
  5. Jan 28, 2017 #4

    Choppy

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    Well, to major in physics, you would start by changing your major to physics. I suspect that part of the stress is due to you trying to optimize the problem so that you'll finish in four years. That might be possible. If you switch your major to physics, then your economics classes will likely become your general education classes. But you might have to bite the bullet and tack on another year to fit in everything that you need to learn if you really want to major in physics. This is where consulting your school's academic advisor will come in handy. That person will best know how to navigate your system.

    The other thing to consider is changing schools if you're not happy with the specifics of the program you're taking. Assuming you're in North America there are a lot of different educational options with varying degrees of general education requirements. That said, don't discount the value of a diverse education.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2017 #5

    jtbell

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    Have you talked to anyone in the physics department about this yet? They've probably dealt with students switching into physics in sophomore year before, and can advise you about how to arrange your courses.
     
  7. Jan 28, 2017 #6
    Thanks everyone! I should've mentioned that all eight remaining GE courses are "fixed," per se. I know what all of them must be. You see, I'm in a special program within Boston University (the College of General Studies, but there's no need, of course, to look into that), which loves GE to death. Transferring does sound good, but I'd rather not lose what's almost a full ride.

    I'll talk to a CGS advisor who understands the insane system, then a physics advisor who understands all the rest.
     
  8. Jan 28, 2017 #7

    StatGuy2000

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  9. Jan 28, 2017 #8

    Choppy

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    For what it's worth, a free ride to San Francisco is great, but if your goal is to get to New York it's not going to help you much. (I know that's an extreme analogy - just something to consider from an outsider's point of view.)
     
  10. Jan 30, 2017 #9
    How long do you keep your almost full ride? Does it only go for four years, or would you be able to add another year? If not, how much is your cost of attendance, and what other financial aid options would you have for a fifth year?
     
  11. Jan 30, 2017 #10
    Unless I am granted a special appeal (no guarantees), four years. Otherwise, the fifth year would cost at least $60,000, and I would have to look into outside scholarships.

    On the bright side, a physics degree can be completed at BU in three years. I learned that earlier. However, there would be little room for math (or even chemistry) courses. The latter is problematic because I want a PhD in atmospheric science, and, well, chemistry is quite important in that field.
     
  12. Jan 30, 2017 #11

    Student100

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    You can't, or shouldn't, be able to do a physics degree with little math. What did you mean by that? (What courses are required for the major?)

    Not all schools require chemistry, it's kinda sorta nice to have for some early physics courses a basic background in chemistry, but is by no means a show stopper. You'll pick up a lot of chemistry in physics.
     
  13. Jan 30, 2017 #12
    For math, BU requires nothing more than multivariate calculus and one additional higher-level elective. Thus, although I can choose between, say, differential equations and linear algebra, taking both would be quite difficult for scheduling purposes.
     
  14. Jan 30, 2017 #13

    Student100

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    I would take linear over differential equations.

    Do your physics courses include a mathematical methods course? If not: definitely going to want to pick up a copy of http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/mat...Google_&sourceId=PLGoP20456&k_clickid=3x20456 and work through it.
     
  15. Jan 30, 2017 #14

    Student100

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    Just looked it up myself since I assume you're new to this. The answer to the above is yes it does:

    Which sounds like a methods class.

    Make sure you're on the graduate track, and not that other one/teaching one.

    https://edit.bu.edu/files/0/ugrad-graduate-form.pdf

    It gives you some recommend electives and what not. Your adviser should be helping here.

    Make sure you also add some basic programming experience in there somewhere.
     
  16. Jan 30, 2017 #15

    symbolipoint

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    That much and kind of mathematics is a minimum for Physics people. They often WANT or need more.
     
  17. Jan 30, 2017 #16
    Yeah, I'll have to ask the department what's up with that.
    Thanks! I own something similar (Riley). And regarding the methods course, thanks for that too. It almost evaded me!

    So I dropped this semester's economics course and replaced it with Calculus I. Let's see if I can learn over a week's missed material.
     
  18. Jan 30, 2017 #17
    I did one semester of economics and got out with basic calculus and game theory, along with management. I don't know what courses in math you have taken so far, but I feel You are ready to do the intro physics courses. The thinking in economics is also similar to physics in a sense you have modelling and you need to apply the theorems and etc...so I wouldn't worry. It's all mental, have faith in your abilities and work hard. Everything else will follow, no need to stress..good luck.
     
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