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Need advice for transfer student

  1. Jul 14, 2006 #1
    I am currently attending a community college and I have completed 28 units and am taking 6 units right now in the summer. I plan on applying to the UC's but my primary choices are UCLA and Berkeley.
    Since I plan on being a theoretical physicist and getting a ph.d to study string theory perhaps, I was wondering whether it would be worth it to double major in both math and physics. I heard the double major would be really helpful for my future but what I'm concerned about is how that would work currently in the community college.
    Since I have to complete the IGETC before I transfer (unless I stayed for 3 years which I dont want to since I hate my community college), it would be impossible for me to finish my remaining physics required classes and classes for the math major as well since not all the math major requirements overlap with the physics requirements. So I was wondering whether I even still have a chance at completing the double major, and if i do, do I have to start working on it as soon as possible or wait until after the transfer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2006 #2
    When are you going to transfer? from which community college? and what will be your entering status (Soph?, Junior?)

    To my knowledge, CC's only offer lower division courses so the highest math you can take is Multivariable calc, linear algebra, and DE. All of those are necessary for a major in physics, so it would be a good idea to take them as soon as possible (why wait?).

    I recommend that you get as much done before you transfer, because once your accepted at UC, you have to finish within two years (if you enter as a junior), and you can only petition for one extra semester - at least these are the rules at Berkeley, Im not sure about UCLA.

    It shouldn't be too difficult to complete the double major, as long as you get going on it early. Could you list your schedule of classes (including the onese you've finished, and the ones your going to take)?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2006
  4. Jul 15, 2006 #3
    I am going to apply this upcoming fall from OCC and I will be entering as junior status.
    I am currently taking intro to linear algebra and DE. I will also take multivarible calc in the fall.
    I have currently finished calc I and II and newtonian mechanics for physics.
    I will take multivariable calc, E&M and modern physics, the intro computer science class, and the two Chem classes that I need for the physics major.
    But what I'm concerned about is that for the math major, according to the transfer agreements with OCC and Berkeley, I'm good in that I'm taking and will take all the needed math classes. But for the OCC and UCLA agreement, I have to take like 3 additional computer science classes.
  5. Jul 15, 2006 #4
    OCC, Is that Orange Coast College?
    I'm looking at the Articulation agreement between OCC and UCLA for Math B.S., heres the link:

    If I'm reading this correctly, the only computer science course they require is comptng 10A. From the course desrcription, it seems this is just a very basic intro to programming. These courses, which basically just introduce the language of programming, tend to be very easy especially for math and physics majors.
    Heres the description:

    If I were you, I would wait to take that class at UCLA since it isn't a requirement for berkeley, and you just need the one class at UCLA as opposed to two at OCC.

    So basically, to do a double major you would need to complete all the math and physics upper divs in the two years after you transfer. It seems doable, but it'd be tough. Alot of the people I know doing double majors started on their upper divs their freshmen and sophmore year. You also need to consider the fact that classes at UC are going to be much harder and much more competitive then at a JC, and as such are going to require more time. So its up to you to tell if its possible. I would feel it out at first, start slowly. In any event if you decide after a while that you don't want to complete the math major, the extra classes you take will still be valuable.
  6. Jul 15, 2006 #5


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    I wouldn't go for the double major. I'm a transfer student at UC Berkeley from a community college, and the difference in classes from the ones I took at community college compared to the ones at Berkeley is insane. Every transfer student I've talked to has had a hard time their first year. I would recommend focusing on your physics and taking math classes as a way to fill out your schedule.
  7. Jul 16, 2006 #6
    Thanks for the replies and advice. But I was wondering:
    "Alot of the people I know doing double majors started on their upper divs their freshmen and sophmore year."
    Really? So to best prepare, I should start self-learning some of those subjects?
  8. Jul 16, 2006 #7


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    I was just looking at the major requirements at Berkeley for the math major, and if you take maybe 4 to 5 courses a semester I think you could complete the double-major. Personally, I'd rather take more physics electives.
  9. Jul 17, 2006 #8
    I think that is sound advice for any student.

    What I meant was that many of my classmates who are double majors, had already started taking upper division classes by the time they were freshman or sophmores, mostly because they skipped courses with advanced placement tests, took summer school, or they had taken some college courses while they were in high school. My point being, is that it probably will be difficult to do all the upper division courses for both math and physics in your junior and senior years alone. Add to that, the extra rigour you'll encounter in a 4 year university among the likes of Berkeley or UCLA, and it seems unlikely. Of course, this totally depends on your capabilities, which only you know. Best of luck.

  10. Jul 17, 2006 #9
    I went to UCLA from Santa Monica with the intention of a double major. The lower division requirements for both are identical. I also completed the IGETC courses.
    The double major only added a year to my studies. Once you complete IGETC, unless things have changed, your only required classes for physics are: 105AB (mech), 110AB (EM), 112 (Stat), 115 (ABC), 131 (math methods), and 5 other physics electives. This totals only 56 units. You need a minimum 80 units moreto graduate (which is 6 additional classes). This means the difference between the number of classes you need to take and a double major is 6 classes. Also, UCLA only requires 1 CS class.

    As for whtehr to double major for your career path, definitely yes. String theory involves math at some of its highest levels. You'll need group theory, differentiable manifolds, complex analysis, and a host of others. Going into graduate level math classes of these (once you go into your phd program) will be tough without a rigorous background in the undergraduate foundations of these maths.

    BTW, I graduted from SMC June 2000 and UCLA June 2003. I double majored while working full time. It's tough, but doable.
  11. Jul 17, 2006 #10
    ok thanks for the replies and advice!

    "BTW, I graduted from SMC June 2000 and UCLA June 2003. I double majored while working full time. It's tough, but doable."

    Are you kidding? I'm assuming that required you to spend all day either studying or working, with absolutely no free time. Did you still get good enough grades to get into a decent graduate program?
  12. Jul 19, 2006 #11
    I luckily had a job that allowed some free time to do homework. I studied very little and still managed to get a 3.6 gpa. Since I'm an older student (44 now), I didn't want to live the life of a Ph.D. student, so found a job as an HP, and am now working towards a master's part time.
  13. Jul 19, 2006 #12
    I'm currently majoring in maths (almost able to do a double major in maths) with a single major in physics.

    So essentially it is almost a triple major, not that hard as i find the maths overlaps with the physics alot...
  14. Jul 19, 2006 #13
    so i'm assuming that the double major isnt too hard as long as you really understand the concepts in the lower-div classes and start studying the upper-divs before transferring.
    oh by the way, for those of you who took an intro to linear algebra/DE class before taking multivariable calc, did you have to spend about 4 hours after each class and about 8 hours on the weekends to study or about 16 hours/wk studying for linear alg/DE?
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