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Math and physics

  1. Nov 21, 2008 #1
    What is generally the highest level of math required to earn a theoretical physics major? I've been going to school for about a year and and took precalc 1&2, calc A and i just finished calc B. However, the 2 physics courses i took only really applied precalc 2 and calc A to the courses. I'm sure as i continue physics the math will get more advanced. I just want to know how much more advanced the math will get.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2008 #2
    You will invariable need the entire calculus series, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, linear algebra, and complex analysis, at the very least. If your school offers a class on special functions, take it! Also, many theory students (wrongfully) disregard the importance of numerical analysis. Even if you think you are only going to do analytic work, there's no harm in learning numerics.
  4. Nov 22, 2008 #3
    As advance as it gets... it really depends on what field you are in. Of course, the typical undergraduate courses involve all the calc stuffs + ODE, PDE, complex analysis...etc

    If you are into theoretical stuff however, things like differential geometry, group theory, lie algebras, and even topology are necessary. At the cutting edge... the difference between mathematics and physics really isn't clear anymore.

    I heard from my professor that one usually just picks up the math as he/she goes along. It certainly helps to study them before hand, but sometimes you don't really need all the glory details in the mathematics. Usually, you just need to know some useful facts and be able to apply them (and make sense out of them).
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