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Courses Math and Physics courses suggestions?

  1. May 23, 2016 #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!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2016 #2


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    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.
  4. May 23, 2016 #3


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    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.
  5. May 23, 2016 #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.
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