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My aspirations would like some flavor from seasoned Pros

  1. Sep 19, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I am a student in community college. I fell behind in math in high school, so even though it is my softmore year I am just starting college math now. I am 21 so I am also a bit old but I believe I can achieve my dream which is to become a theoretical physicist in some field... I believe I can catch up in my math this year and over the summer before next year. I was wondering if anyone can please enlighten me as to some good classes to take before I transfer to a four year school this year (or any of the later years) that apply to what I want to do? I was thinking that people on these forums would have some good advice who have already gone through the process
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2013 #2
    This website describes in detail the coursework normally required for aspiring physicists. If you are just starting out, I'd say the most important math classes for introductory physics are calculus and linear algebra.
  4. Sep 19, 2013 #3
    First, you don't have the right to say "I'm old" at 21. Sheesh. :)

    Different 2 year colleges have different classes and different 4 year colleges have different requirements, so I'm not sure anybody can tell you exactly which classes to take. You should check with the school or schools you wish to transfer to.

    Does the two year institution you are offering offer an associates in math or physics? Having that little credential is likely to save you from having to take non-major classes at a four year school.

    Otherwise, I would say take as much math as humanly possible. Dare I say even at the expense of physics classes, which you can take from the more experienced (usually ) professors at the 4 year school?

  5. Sep 19, 2013 #4


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    Check to see if your community college has a "transfer agreement" with your local university1. Such agreements will usually outline which courses will transfer and which will not. In most cases a two-year associates will cover the first two years of study at a 4-year university, but you really should coordinate with both institutions to make sure you're not wasting time.

    As Dave mentions, mathematics is probably your biggest priority at the moment. Figure out exactly what you're going to need and go after it. Your age is inconsequential.

    1 If you aren't planning on going to a nearby university, you'll probably have to verify transferable courses by some other means.
  6. Oct 3, 2013 #5
    thanks I am now going to to test into calculus so I can start to learn physics... I have heard that it can be difficult to get jobs after becoming a phd... I was wondering about another option which is to become a quantitative analyst... What steps should I take to become one? Does it matter where I get my bachalers? What If I cant get into a prestegiouse college for my graduate school does that happen often and how will it effect my career? If I choose to continue with physics what good jobs outside of academia are available for theorticalists I hear professorships are small percentagewise... Also how can I change my username lol I was naming it after the Greek God who created Gya or Gyas father didnt realize it was well you know..
  7. Oct 3, 2013 #6
    If I get my phd in say nine years I will be around thirty three or so will quant jobs still be in existance at that time?
  8. Oct 3, 2013 #7


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    There's no telling what jobs will be available next year, much less nine years from now. But that's true no matter what path you take.
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