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!

Numerical analysis vs functional analysis vs statistics for engineerin

  1. Mar 23, 2013 #1
    Hey all, back with another question.

    I have the opportunity in the fall to choose 1 (maybe 2 if i'm lucky) of the following classes: Numerical analysis (undergrad numerical linear algebra, using matlab), Functional Analysis (as a directed study course with a prof), and the other is doing a research project in statistics. The stats prof hasn't decided on the project, but I may convince her to let me work on Monte Carlo methods. If I want to go to graduate school in nuclear engineering, what order of importance would you place these classes? (I am working on the engineering pre reqs on the side as well).
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In my opinion, the top choice hands down is the research project. In order to get into grad school you will need good recommendations - the most useful ones would be from people that you did a research project with! That is likely more important than what elective courses you took as an undergrad - you can make up coursework in grad school as needed. I am not a nuclear engineer so will refrain from any recommendations beyond this. I wish you the best.

  4. Mar 23, 2013 #3

    Thanks for the response. It is something I am carefully considering. It is only tentative as of now, but it does seem like it could be a promising project. I am just unsure about it because it may or may not be related to my ultimate research interest in graduate school, nuclear fusion.
  5. Mar 23, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    If one is considering engineering, particularly nuclear engineering, and if one is interested in R&D/analysis/simulation, then go with numerical analysis and learn C++ and/or Fortran. I recommend engineering students get as much physics and mathematics as possible.
  6. Mar 24, 2013 #5
    Monte Carlo methods are used all over the place. Sounds like a good project. Absolutely make sure you learn C++ and Fortran before you graduate. You'd be amazed how many Fortran codes are still running out there and you may be asked to maintain one.
  7. Mar 24, 2013 #6
    Thanks astronuc and carlgrace for the input. So best case scenario, I do the project and numerical analysis, and dump functional analysis? Maybe later on I will take it.
  8. Mar 24, 2013 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    For engineering or applied physics, I'd recommend the project and numerical analysis (with learning to program C++ and Fortran).

    Rather than dump functional analysis, defer it. Functional analysis seems more appropriate if one is doing theoretical physics or mathematics.

    Meanwhile, see this text - https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=665468 - and others in the mathematics textbook discussion forum.

    In control theory, an aspect of engineering, functional analysis would be useful.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook