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Courses MORE Math Course questions

  1. Mar 29, 2009 #1
    MORE Math Course questions!!!

    I am a second year physics major at Santa Clara University with a minor in philosophy and I am strongly considering another minor in Math. The physics program here is very small, and I decided to be a physics major after I had decided to come here, but the good thing is I get to know the professors quite well and I learn a lot because of that. I am planning for grad school but not sure which field (I am interested in cosmology, QM, astro, nothing specific...) or if I want to go for theoretical or experimental study (I am leaning towards theoretical but not sure).

    Anyway, I am pretty oblivious to how much math or which math courses I may need. Because its a small school in general, the more advanced courses are offered every other year for only one quarter, and I am studying abroad next fall so my options are limited. But here are the courses that I will probably be able to take:

    Linear Algebra (lower division)

    Advanced Calculus, Linear Algebra II (upper division), or Probability and Statistics I but only one.

    Partial Differential Equations

    Ordinary Differential Equations

    Differential Geometry

    I don't know when the following will be offered, but they are in the course catalog:
    Theory of Functions of a Complex Variable
    Set Theory
    Intermediate Analysis I
    Numerical Analysis

    I have already taken Calculus i-iv (includes differential, integral, vector, and multivariable) and Differential Equations. I have intro physics i-iv (includes intro to modern) and circuits, and am taking EM I and Computational Mechanics this quarter.

    Any advice on this somewhat unique situation is much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2009 #2
    Re: MORE Math Course questions!!!

    If you're interested in QM, linear algebra would be good to have a lot of. It's a useful subject in general.
  4. Mar 31, 2009 #3
    Re: MORE Math Course questions!!!

    if you want just math that's useful for physics take the pde, ode, lin alg sequences. and if you have time complex vars, numerical analysis.

    if you want to know math take all of them. the only two don't personally interest me are combinatorics and probability and statistics but are still fun.
  5. Mar 31, 2009 #4
    Re: MORE Math Course questions!!!

    It goes without saying that PDEs IS physics. Linear algebra is also a must. These two subjects are absolutely fundamental for future study.

    Complex analysis is a good subject, it will help you evaluate integrals and introduce you to a very analytic mathematics; it has some applications in physics. Topology isn't really useful for physics unless you get very theoretical. Set theory is almost as useless, its just a rigorous formulation of facts you already likely know (regarding numbers, functions, and... well, sets). Analysis is rigorous calculus; some of it is quite useful to the scientists. Numerical analysis is another one you should consider, as most problems in the real world will require numerical methods and not analytic ones. Combinatorics is fun as hell, though beyond maybe statistical mechanics I dont see it being used anywhere.
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