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Programs Math or Physics, searching for a major that will prep me for PhD.

  1. Feb 7, 2013 #1
    So I'm looking to go back to school and major in either math or physics. actually, im pretty set on majoring in math. cause i love math. but I do want to go on to a graduate program, and the math graduate programs hold little interest for me. All of my research interests are physics related.

    So I am torn. can I major in math and do really well on my undergrad classes and read up on physics in my spare time (i love it its not work for me). Or should I major in physics (which stresses me out cause i feel like i'd miss out on some much needed math).

    I feel like I know very little about anything and i don't want to go skipping down a road that will only lead me to doing research in an area that bores me to friggin tears.

    any referals to threads dealing with this would be great too. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2013 #2
    Why not both?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2013
  4. Feb 7, 2013 #3
    Because I have a family and limited funds and I can't really spare more then three years to get this done. I have to work, so school will be part time. I can only do one degree, atleast thats how I am seeing it.
  5. Feb 7, 2013 #4
    You should major in physics and study math on your spare time. Taking the entire introductory calculus sequence, differential equations, and linear algebra will go a long ways. Other than that you will be introduced to the necessary math as you go along in your physics studies. Either that or self-study it.
  6. Feb 7, 2013 #5
    What mmm pasta said. You will learn whatever "necessary" math that you need for physics in your physics classes. If you have other interests, maybe in more "pure" math, then you can learn that in your spare time, or wait until graduate school and just sit in on some classes.
  7. Feb 8, 2013 #6
    That makes good sense.
  8. Feb 8, 2013 #7
    Unless you're familiar with what a degree in math involves nowadays, I also think you should go for physics. The higher courses in math are often very abstract, and what you learn isn't always possible to correlate with reality... so if you're interested in physics-related reasearch you might have a very unpleasant time..
    There are loads of amazing books on both topics, but personally I think it's easier to learn mathematics from books than physics, because math is way more axiomatic.
    Good luck!
  9. Feb 8, 2013 #8
    Well I'm reading as much as I can and doing as much research about it as I can in order to make an informed decision. For me I know I learn really well in a classroom and I want to make sure I get the basics of mathematics down really well. If I learn a concept well it will stay with me forever, I don't want to "pass a test", I want the knowledge locked in my head. I enjoy mathematics, even the abstract stuff, but for my own research I think (I do not know, maybe I will love it) I will not enjoy that.

    I have been digging into physics since I learned how to read. I understand very little its just bits of info floating around in my brain and it needs the math to glue all the stray bits together.
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