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Non-physics major's classes for physicist

  1. Feb 18, 2015 #1

    Given essentially unlimited time and financial support, what do you think would be the best courses an aspiring physicist should take undergrad to be best prepared(Other than the normal CM,EM,QM,etc.)to become a researcher in experimental physics?

    I've been working on a chemistry major for a couple of years(I've completed ochem 2 and am in analytical chem.) and it's essentially too late to abandon it(I transferred to a different school, meaning I can't minor in chem.) but I'm planning on double majoring in physics and chem and am looking for additional things to learn.

    I know math and computer science are super important, and I feel a little weak on both of those with what I'm going to be taking. With 1 additional year, I can obtain a major in applied mathematics, which would allow me to take 15 additional credits of computer science and 15 additional credits of maths.

    Do you think that would be time well spent, or would that be better spent in graduate school? Would that shorten the number of classes/things I'd have to learn in grad school(Assuming going for a Ph.D in physics.)?

    The math classes above diffy q and linear algebra are below.

    Advanced Calculus,
    Numerical Analysis,
    Senior Thesis
    2 of the following:
    Partial Differential Equations,
    Ordinary Differential Equations
    Discreet Dynamical Systems
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2015 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Well, after Ordinary Differential Equations, one would take courses in Partial Differential Equations and Multivariable Calculus, and probably Linear Analysis and Numerical Analysis. Also, for an experimentalist, a course in statistical analysis would be appropriate - and multivariable calculus would be a precursor.
  4. Feb 23, 2015 #3
    Why do you want to spend a whole extra year in undergrad? Get your Physics Major and get out into a PhD programme. IMO having spent so long to get your undergrad will more than cancel out any benefits you will get from having a more well rounded approach. By all means, take as much math and cs as you can, they'll only help, but not at the expense of a Physics curriculum. There are plenty of successful physicists who haven;t acquired all of these extra degrees.
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