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Need an extra course, any ideas?

  1. Jun 24, 2014 #1
    In the fall I currently only have 11 credits and no physics courses will fit in my schedule with the way the times are set up. I was going to either take a math or a computer science course(leaning towards math).

    Besides PDEs/intro linear algebra course, which math courses would generally be the most useful in physics?

    Some of the options I was looking at include:

    Abstract Algebra
    Advanced Linear Algebra(Edit: this is only offered in spring so I can't do this)
    Probability Theory
    Complex Variables
    Combinatorics
    Topology
    Number Theory
    Real Analysis
    Numerical Analysis (I have 2 programming courses so this wouldn't be over my head)

    My problem is I'm not too sure which ones will actually be useful and applicable to my physics courses.

    Currently I have Calc1-3, ODEs, PDEs, some self-studied complex variables, and an introductory Linear Algebra course
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2014 #2
    I found some of topology (but not the course itself) useful for some classical mechanics. Notions of open balls and compactness are nice. I took topology without real analysis, but I wouldn't recommend it; it was rougher on me than the other students who had seen a lot more proof-based math. Numerical analysis was definitely a fun course as a physics major.

    Group theory (abstract algebra) is useful. In solid state you have symmetry groups and it's also used in particle physics. Complex analysis is just plain useful, and you'll see the material come up again in graduate school. I'd say to pick one of these two.

    Another option, depending on how your school/department does these things, is an independent study in physics.
     
  4. Jun 24, 2014 #3

    SteamKing

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    It's not clear how many years you have been in college already. Sooner or later, you should take the courses listed below:

    Probability Theory
    Complex Variables
    Combinatorics
    Real Analysis
    Numerical Analysis

    Depending on you physics concentration, you might want to squeeze in topology and group theory as suggested by JEB, but the courses listed above have pretty general application across the STEM spectrum.
     
  5. Jun 24, 2014 #4
    I noticed you didn't include Advanced Linear Algebra, is just one course on it good enough?
     
  6. Jun 24, 2014 #5

    esuna

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    Numerical Analysis wouldn't be a bad idea. It'll give you skills that will be useful for research and possibly employment.
     
  7. Jun 25, 2014 #6

    SteamKing

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    You said it didn't fit your schedule. Also, not sure that the course would contain.
     
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