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Materials Physics Specialization(Undergrad)

  1. Nov 22, 2013 #1

    esuna

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    I'm going to try to make this as coherent as possible. I'll start with the fundamental question first:

    Would it be reasonable to take classes outside the Physics undergrad curriculum/required courses that my university doesn't require, but others do?

    Here's the nitty-gritty:

    I am currently a community college student(US) in my second year, planning to graduate and transfer to a university after summer 2014. I am planning on majoring in Physics (Most likely double-majoring in Math and Physics). I have already had a full year of University Physics and the full Calc sequence, as well as Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. I'm currently in the process of tentatively planning out my schedule for the next two years, because I find it useful to plan ahead in this way, even if it doesn't turn out exactly as planned.

    I plan on doing the "Materials and Nanophysics" specialization option. It seems like the most "applied" area of Physics offered here, and I'd like to be as applied as possible. Not to mention the research being done at the department and most of the research opportunities(undergrad assistantship & grad school) are mainly in the areas of computational materials and condensed-matter physics. The only actual class required for the Materials specialization is Solid State Physics. But I have looked around at other universities' websites and have commonly seen the following requirements for a Materials specialization option in their Physics departments:

    Physical Chemistry w/ lab
    Engineering Thermodynamics (with phase equilibrium)
    Intro to Materials Science
    Mechanics/Characteristics of Solids

    as well as Solid State Physics. My university has all of these classes (or similar classes) available, but just not compiled into any sort of Materials Science/Materials Physics degree program. So my question is, would it be useful to take any of them? They're not even listed as electives for the Physics degree here.

    The core Physics curriculum includes Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, so would it be overkill to also take Engineering Thermodynamics in the Mechanical Engineering department as well?
     
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  3. Nov 22, 2013 #2

    Student100

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    I think you should talk to a counselor at your university when you do transfer, and get a feel for these courses. They may not be required for the specialization for a good reason (covered in some other coursework), or left open ended to take as technical electives/other on approval. It's hard to say, since we aren't privy to all the information.

    While at CC, if you haven't already, I would recommend doing general chemistry and organic chemistry classes, as well as a programming course.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  4. Nov 22, 2013 #3

    esuna

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    Thanks for the reply. I was also thinking that those topics might be covered in some of the other actual physics classes. I'll definitely be talking to an advisor, since it's basically a requirement for math and physics majors to do so.

    I'm in the introductory JAVA class required for the physics major, and will be taking Discrete Structures and a second semester of JAVA next semester. Thankfully, due to dual credit during high school and my own initiative, I'm a little ahead of the game here, so I have a little wiggle room for exploration.

    Unfortunately, I'm unable to take the two-semester inorganic chemistry sequence at my CC due to JAVA and College Biology conflicting with it (both core College of Science requirements for Physics at the university). However, I will be squeezing in general chemistry during my last summer here, which is actually all the university requires for physics.

    I realize this may have been a stupid question. Why would I go out of my way to take classes that won't even count toward my major? I was just wondering if maybe, if I decided to try to seek employment in industry, if they would help at all (since the other colleges require them).
     
  5. Nov 22, 2013 #4

    Student100

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    The CC class suggestions were just an idea since you had all the core major prep done.:smile:

    I don't see how a materials specialization wouldn't require more chemistry than just general chem. The courses that aren't required to graduate are kind of worth taking if it will assist in broadening your knowledge, thats why you should learn more about these classes and decide. Normally a physics degree will offer at least some flexibility to take course outside the normal physics program, but I can't really speak on your situation specifically.
     
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