1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

My Physics Course Schedule I need much help please

  1. Dec 22, 2014 #1
    I am currently a freshman at Purdue University. Recently, I've just switched from First Year Engineering to the College of Science so that I may double major in Physics and Mathematics. I've taken the liberty to concoct a 4 year schedule that I will take. (As of right now, I plan on getting a PhD when I graduate).

    I need help planning my math courses...

    Freshman Fall:
    Differential Calculus & Analytical Geometry

    Freshman Spring:
    Integral Calculus & Analytical Geometry

    Sophomore Fall
    Multivariate Calculus

    Sophomore Spring:
    Elementary Linear Algebra
    Ordinary Differential Equations

    Junior Fall:
    Linear Algebra II
    Real Analysis

    Junior Spring:
    Multivariate Analysis I
    Vector Calculus

    Senior Fall:
    Differential Geometry and Topology

    Senior Spring:
    Partial Differential Equations
    Abstract Algebra

    Is this good enough? I plan on going into theoretical physics and this schedule contains the math core courses that I'll need to graduate Purdue with a double major in both Physics and Math. The upper-level selective courses I'll need to take are italicized. Should I change these selective courses to others that will help prepare myself for my intended future? Other courses include...

    Elementary Topology
    Numerical Analysis
    Algebraic Topology
    Functional Analysis
    Complex Analysis
    Functions of Several Variables
    Galois Theory

    (Note: the course "Algebra" is literally just the first half of "Abstract Algebra." I need to take the former, but I can switch out the latter.)

    What would you do?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Without knowing the schedule of when these classes are offered at Purdue, it's hard to say if this is a good schedule or not. Your math classes should be taken so that you are prepared for whatever physics classes might also be on your plate. For example, if you haven't taken intro integral and differential calculus, then a course in rectilinear or circular motion is going to leave you scrambling to understand the math you haven't taken, while also trying to master the physics.

    Since you have recently switched your major, perhaps it would be worth your while to discuss your new academic schedule with your faculty advisor. It seems to me that for certain majors, schools like Purdue have a standard curriculum of courses for the students to follow, rather than taking courses a la carte, as it were.
  4. Dec 22, 2014 #3
    I'd move vector calculus as far up the list as possible. It's extremely important in understanding physics problems. Also move PDE's up sooner. The linear algebra II could probably be pushed back. And the (abstract?) algebra course in senior year could be pushed back. You'll probably learn whatever group theory you need in your quantum class.
  5. Dec 22, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    As already mentioned, it's hard to plan this far in advance. Sometimes the ideal sequence as perceived by you may not be possible due to course offerings and scheduling conflicts. A physics/math double major is fairly common though, so I'd imagine the academic advisers in those departments have some experience with working out academic plans and schedules that will accommodate both.

    If possible, try looking up schedules from previous semesters. Courses are often offered on the same days/times in corresponding semesters. If you have the patience for it, you can look up the actual course times and see if they'll line up with what you have in mind, as well as seeing if they'll work out with your physics courses.
  6. Dec 22, 2014 #5
    The schedule that I have created presents no conflicts nor contradictions. It is a legitimate plan of study for my interests. The reasoning for my ambitious need to create such a schedule is a long and, if you may ask, I could explain.

    The situation that I am in is this: I have to choose three courses from this list...

    Introduction to Differential Geometry and Topology
    Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
    Function Of A Complex Variable I (Complex Analysis)
    Introduction to Abstract Algebra (The Algebra course listed earlier is the first half of this course)
    Probability Theory
    Elementary Topology
    Functional Analysis
    Numerical Analysis
    Functions of Several Variables (I don't know what's so special about this; the title and description is vague)

    As of right now, I plan on going to graduate school and becoming a theoretical physics. I, perhaps, may focus on General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory in my future endeavors. I lo-lo-lo-LOVE Special and General Relativity, so I may take differential geometry as one of my courses.

    I know that partial differential equations are important and fundamental in physics, so I'm also leaning on taking that as well.

    As for the third course, I'm considering Abstract Algebra or Complex Analysis. However, if any of the courses listed above would be more useful as an undergrad, I would be willing to consider them too.

    What I'm asking is this: what would you do in this situation? Many people on this website would have plenty more experience on the matter than myself so I would love to hear any input.
  7. Dec 22, 2014 #6


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Just keep in mind that whatever plan you work out now will almost inevitable have to be adjusted at some point. Classes get canceled and schedules get shifted around at times. Just be prepared for that.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: My Physics Course Schedule I need much help please