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Needing serious advice on what to add to my Math major.

  1. Apr 14, 2009 #1
    In need of some serious advising.

    I'm a math major at the UI-Chicago. I have been trying to decide what I could add as a second degree to help improve my chances of getting into a decent graduate engineering program. You say it depends on the field? I figured. The thing is, I'm interested in these fields of engineering in order of importance: chemical, materials, and environmental. I'm sure adding a second degree in chem. would help but is it enough? Would physics be the more practical path while taking a few chem courses on the side?

    Theoretically I want the second degree to be versatile enough to help me into engineering, or possibly other related geo-studies. Taking into account my math background many people may say physics, but truly I want whatever is going to give me the better edge. One thing I can say is that I have great interest in both (which makes this hard), pushing me to draw more logical conclusions on how far one will get me, over the other.

    I'm in need of suggestions.
    What's more practical? Is chemistry more useful in understanding the natural world, or would you say physics? What will help me get ahead of the curve when I apply to graduate studies? Major/minor/specific courses that one could suggest?

    Also, how math intensive are the upper level chemistry courses? What would be a good few courses in mathematics to help prepare me for graduate engineering/physical sciences... questions questions questions.

    I appreciate whatever anyone can offer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2009 #2
    Well, I don't know the other. But for material engineer, although there are different branches in material science, but all in all chemistry is the most important subject to the it (yes, there are some branches that are physics type. But in general it is not that helpful).
    Physics? Well, unless you are really interested in the why, or sometimes the how things work in a particular way, otherwise physics is not really a good choice (that is to say, time efficient wise). Yes, it explains many things (yet many more things to explain!), for instance, the Pauli principle. I think it is like a given statement in chemistry, but it is in physics, QM to be specific, that the principle is fully explained.
    However, personally I think that physics is focus more on understanding how, or why the universe work in this particular way. That is to say, and it is not quite the right focus for engineer, IMO.
  4. Apr 14, 2009 #3
    Aside from first year calc-based physics, most modern physics is not useful in terms of application. Your best bet, based on your interest, is taking a lot of physical chemistry courses.
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