Math and Physics courses suggestions?

In summary, the person is planning on taking online courses to prepare for university and is unsure of which courses to take. They are planning on doing the math sequence in order to maximize their chances of success in university, and to have a more coherent program. They are also open to changing their decision if they find that the courses they are taking are not adequate.
  • #1
I currently work full time and I am planning on taking some online courses prior to getting into university in a Physics pogram.

I am starting with Calculus 1 (already enrolled). I basically need to take 4 courses overall (not my choice), but which courses i take are my choice.

Here are some courses that I am interested in taking;

Calc 2
Multi variable Calc
Linear Algebra
Phys 1 (Intro Mech. - calc based w/rental experiment kit
Phys 2 (E&M - calc based w/ rental experiment kit)

Basically i would pick three of these. I can take one at a time. I am just not sure which one to pick and in what order to do it..

Am i better off to just do all the math? I have a feeling the physics courses would be pretty challenging without people to talk to when working through problems.. which i am ready to do anyways, but either way.. maybe phys courses are better / more in depth inhouse?

I guess two samples would look like this:
1) Calc1 > Calc2 > MultiCalc > Linear
2) Calc1 > Calc2 > Phys1 > Phys2

Any suggestions?

Thank you!
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  • #2
CrunchBerries said:
Any suggestions?
I'd do the math sequence for three reasons: 1) physics labs are best done in a real lab; 2) physics is more quickly and easily understood when you have a more complete mathematical background; 3) in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, a coherent sequence is better than a mix. Of course re-evaluate at each decision point to determine whether something important has changed.

Another reason is that in your eventual university program, you might discover a better physics sequence for students with a better math background. And another reason is that the math background enables more interesting choices outside your main physics sequence.

The main reason to not go too far with math is if you find you are not learning it well using an online course. That would be one reason for re-evaluation. Another reason would be if the math courses you are taking turn out to be low quality, insufficient for your needs.
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  • #3
Your first guess is better. The problem with your second guess is that Calculus 2 might not be enough for Physics 2. More Math done before the Physics is better.

Another sequence might be Calc1>Calc2>Calc-Multivariable>Physics 1.
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  • #4
Thanks for the advice guys. I think I will do all math.

There is also a diff equations option, but I'm pretty sure linear alg is best done first.

What are the most important math and physics courses to take in college?

It is recommended to take calculus, linear algebra, and multivariable calculus as the foundation for mathematical understanding in physics. In terms of physics courses, introductory courses in mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics are essential.

Do I need to have a strong math background to study physics?

While a strong math background is beneficial, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge in advanced math before studying physics. However, a solid understanding of algebra and trigonometry is important for success in physics courses.

What is the difference between theoretical and applied physics?

Theoretical physics focuses on developing and testing theories and models to explain and predict natural phenomena while applied physics applies these theories to real-world problems and technologies. Both are important in advancing our understanding of the physical world.

Can I take math and physics courses simultaneously?

Yes, it is common for math and physics courses to be taken simultaneously as they complement each other in understanding and solving complex problems. It is recommended to consult with your academic advisor for a balanced course load.

What career opportunities are available for those with a background in math and physics?

A background in math and physics can lead to a variety of career paths, including research and development in industries such as aerospace, energy, and technology, as well as careers in data analysis, finance, and education.

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