1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Not leaving Math Behind in Physics Grad School

  1. May 25, 2013 #1
    I'm an undergraduate who finished up my junior year this past Spring.

    I've been looking around at grad schools for physics. However, I find myself about as unwilling to study physics in grad school and leave pure math behind, as I am unwilling to do things the other way around. Math so far has been just that fun, and indeed, I may have more of a natural knack for it than physics. (Since I wanted to contribute to the field of physics much more than I wanted to contribute to the field of math and since I find myself a tad more interested in physics than math, I figured it would be better to do physics in grad school) So far, it's been possible to just take the math classes at the math department (indeed, I've taken so much that I could be considered a mathematics major) or to self-study the math that's interested me most. Considering the increased difficulty of the physics and of the math in grad school, I'm not sure the same solution will work in grad school.

    I doubt my situation is unique. So my question for those who have been in a similar situation: How did you solve this problem? Did you actually take lots of math grad classes? Did you self-study in the math you were interested in? Did you wait to sort this out in grad school, hoping that you would lose your interest in one or the other enough to leave one behind? (e.g., it is possible one enjoyed undergrad math, but found grad math tedious) Or something else?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2013 #2

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I did both.

  4. May 26, 2013 #3
    Not a grad student yet, I plan on doing both coursework and self-study when I'm there.
  5. May 26, 2013 #4
    I did what Greg (and I'm guessing George) did: took about four grad. level pure math courses on top of the standard physics curriculum. (I wanted to take more, actually, but ran out of time; my adviser actually had to tell me to stop taking courses so I could focus on research.)
  6. May 28, 2013 #5
    Thanks for the responses. I shame that more than 3-4 grad courses would probably be difficult to do, but I suppose that is expected. I guess I'll have to choose those classes wisely (assuming I'm allowed to take them in whatever school I end up in).

    Funny! Just knowing myself, I wouldn't be surprised if the same happened to me...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook