My Physics Course Schedule I need much help please

In summary, the freshman plans to get a double major in Physics and Mathematics at Purdue University. He has recently switched from First Year Engineering to the College of Science, and has devised a 4 year schedule that he will take. He needs help planning his math courses and is asking for advice.
  • #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?

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  • #2
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.
  • #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.
  • #4
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.
  • #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.
  • #6
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.

1. What topics will I cover in my physics course?

In a typical physics course, you will cover topics such as mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics.

2. Will there be any hands-on experiments or labs in the course?

Most physics courses include hands-on experiments or labs to help you understand and apply the concepts you learn in class. These can be done in a physical lab or through virtual simulations.

3. How much math is involved in a physics course?

Physics is a highly mathematical subject, so you can expect to use algebra, trigonometry, and calculus in your coursework. A strong understanding of these math concepts is essential for success in a physics course.

4. What study strategies can I use to succeed in my physics course?

To succeed in a physics course, it is important to attend all lectures and take thorough notes. Practice solving problems and seek help from your professor or classmates if you are struggling. It is also helpful to make use of online resources and study groups.

5. Can I still succeed in a physics course if I am not naturally good at math?

While a strong foundation in math is important for physics, it is not the only factor in determining success. With hard work, determination, and seeking help when needed, anyone can succeed in a physics course regardless of their natural ability in math.

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