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Mathematics foundation for degree in Physics

  1. Mar 8, 2014 #1

    After looking at future requirements for my program (Medical Physics), I realized it doesn't have as many specific math requirements as pure Physics module, but still has all the Physics requirements. I was just wondering, beyond first year Linear Algebra and second year Calculus, what mathematics courses would be specifically of benefit in pursuing a studies in Physics? I know more is always going to be helpful, but are there any that are particularly interesting or useful for a Physics major, whether for research- or course-related tasks?

    I have the same question regarding Computer Science courses as well. I've also been looking online and does anyone have any online tutorials they would advise to beginners (no prior experience) for programming and general computer science knowledge? I have heard that learning the basics and learning them right is crucial, and any recommended programs would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2014 #2
    Physics is a broad field. It ranges from experimental physics to mathematical physics. So the amount of math you'll need in physics will depend greatly on what kind of physics you would like to do.

    I think you should at least do Calculus I,II,III, Linear algebra and differential equations. Other than that, there are a lot of mathematical tools that physicists need, however they don't necessarily need to take the mathematical (proof-based) course for it. Usually, there will courses like "mathematical methods for physics" which cover the necessary material. So unless you're into mathematical physics or very mathy theoretical physics (or just enjoy math for the sake of math :smile:), you should just take those.

    Other than that, many physics courses will usually teach the math necessary. For example, you usually don't need to take a PDE course for QM, because they will teach you how to solve the Schrodinger's equation in QM.
  4. Mar 8, 2014 #3
    What about a course in complex analysis?
  5. Mar 10, 2014 #4

    I enjoyed this as a total no0b.


    Likewise, the first 'Invent' PDF. It's written for kids so it might be simplistic but whatever, I learned something from it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Mar 10, 2014 #5


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    Gold Member

    I believe that's calculus III (3). Atleast, it's from what I'm from.
  7. Mar 10, 2014 #6
    I don't think many Calc III courses cover complex stuff. You'll rather see it in a math methods class or a specific complex variables/analysis class.
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