Need help deciding on one of my classes for my last semester

  • #1
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These are the classes I have decided so far for the next semester. Every prerequisite listed is a class I have already taken:

Statistical Inference Sampling and parameter estimation, tests of hypotheses, correlation, regression, analysis of variance, sequential analysis, rank order statistics. Pre: Advanced Probability or consent.

General Physics II Lab Lab with electricity and magnetism and geometric optics. Pre: General Physics I and Lab, and Calculus II.

Senior Seminar Seminar for senior mathematics majors, including an introduction to methods of research. Significant portion of class time is dedicated to the instruction and critique of oral presentations. All students must give the equivalent of three presentations.

Right now, I am deciding which one of these four classes will be my last math elective:

General Physics III Relativity, introduction to quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and physical optics. Pre: General Physics II and Calculus III.

Combinatorial Mathematics Finite configurations. Topics may include counting methods, generating functions, graph theory, map coloring, block design, network flows, analysis of discrete algorithms. Pre: Elementary Linear Algebra or consent.

Introduction to Abstract Algebra Introduction to basic algebraic structures. Groups, finite groups, abelian groups, rings, integral domains, fields, factorization, polynomial rings, field extensions, quotient fields. Emphasis on writing instruction. Pre: Linear Algebra and Proof-writing; or consent.

Introduction to the Theory of Numbers Congruences, quadratic residues, arithmetic functions, distribution of primes. Emphasis is on teaching theory and writing, not on computation. Pre: Proof-writing.

I'm kind of leaning towards General Physics III and Combinatorics, mostly because they don't seem to involve proof-writing. The other two classes are on there mostly because they fit nicely enough within my school schedule to allow me to work the maximum hours at my job. Anyway, in my General Physics II class I took last year, I kind of got lost trying to learn about light, reflection, refraction and the like, so I think I would have kind of a rough start at the beginning the General Physics III course. As for the senior seminar, I'm a bit hesitant on taking it with a certain professor, since he's teaching one of the classes I am taking right now. I'm not getting so good a grade in his class. On my last midterm, I am very sure that I got between a seventy and an eighty-percent, possibly even lower; and my homework scores average to a B-. So I'm a bit afraid of how he will judge my performance in the seminar.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Infrared
Science Advisor
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Which class you should take depends a lot on your interests/goals (that you have not told us). That said, I'm assuming you're a math major since you're planning to take the senior seminar for majors. If so, I'm surprised that abstract algebra is not required for the major and I think that a math major is incomplete without it.
 
  • #3
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That said, I'm assuming you're a math major ... and I think that a math major is incomplete without it [abstract algebra].
And in case it is not math but another STEM area, then the statistic course will be of great use (and usually and unfortunately widely disregarded. After it, you will never ever be able to listen to a politician (or someone else) reasoning with statistical numbers again!).
 
  • #4
Dr. Courtney
Education Advisor
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Take that 2nd semester physics lab. I can't imagine you'll be of much use with only one semester of college physics labs.
 
  • #5
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Which class you should take depends a lot on your interests/goals (that you have not told us).
The only interest I have that can be applicable to a job in the workforce is Microsoft Excel.

As for my goals, I don't have any, besides to find work. It was the case until a few months ago, that I wanted to become an actuary, which is why I wanted to take the statistical inference class. But as I see it, I am unable to form any efficient study habits to better my performance in class, so I am confident that I wouldn't be able to study well enough to take the actuary exams. That being said, I haven't ruled it out completely as an option. I do intend to try to study for one exam and see if I am truly capable, after I graduate. Otherwise, I don't have any plans other than to find work with my math degree. I am not looking towards graduate school at the moment. People always ask me if I am planning on it, and it always makes me think if I am wasting my "intelligence" by not following that route. But the fact is, that I'm kind of sick of school right now, and would not like to attend two more years of it for some master's or PhD in a subject that I haven't even decided on yet.

And just for everyone's information, the first three classes are classes that I already have decided on. I need a fourth to add, from the last four classes listed.
 
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  • #6
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That's a bit sad to hear and Excel isn't really a qualification. So if you ask which of the last four is most likely useful in a job, then it will be combinatorics. Outside university you probably never will need number theory, abstract algebra, relativity or quantum mechanics other than to prove that you have the ability of abstraction. But for most common people, anything with mathematics in the title is already abstract enough.
 
  • #7
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My vote is for Physics lll. Relativity is extremely interesting and fun to learn.
 
  • #8
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Combinatorics, it is, then. Thanks, fresh, and everyone else who posted in the topic.
 

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