Ohio State: Choose Physics Concentration for Sophomore Year

In summary, the conversation discussed the difficulty of choosing a class schedule at Ohio State University without consulting an expert. The school offers two physics options: Applied and Advanced. Both options have the same core courses, but the Advanced option includes additional courses in physics while the Applied option allows for 15-18 additional credit hours in an area of interest. The conversation also touched on the possibility of switching to an engineering graduate school and the potential impact of choosing the Applied option on admission to a physics graduate school. The conversation also mentioned the courses' descriptions and the lack of an academic advisor at the moment. The conversation concluded with the suggestion to wait until meeting with an advisor to make any final decisions.
  • #1

I am starting my sophomore year at Ohio State university this upcoming Fall. I was recently trying to come up with a class schedule that fits my needs. Unfortunately, my school has many options that are really confusing to choose without consulting an expert, so I figured someone here might help me.

My school offers two physics options(concentrations), Applied option and Advanced option. Here are sample schedules for both options:

Both the applied and advanced option have the same core courses. In addition to the core courses, the advance physics option includes Phys 5501H, Phys 5401H, Phys 5600, and Phys 5300. The applied option won't include Phys 5401H, but it will include one of the following courses:
Phys 5501H, Phys 5300, Phys 5600.
In addition to that, the applied option will require 15-18 additional credit hours in an area of interest.
Phys5501 is the second part of Q&M sequence(with Phys 5500 being the first part).This is also the case with Phys5401H which is the the second part of E&M course sequence(Phys5400 being the first part).
Currently, I am not sure if I will stick with physics in the long haul. I feel like I am leaning toward the applications of physics. Therefore, I was wondering if I choose the applied physics option and focus the additional 15 credit hours on engineering(Mech E, EE, or material science) courses would it make it easier for me to switch to engineering graduate school and what courses should I take? Also, would the applied physics option harm my chances of getting into physics graduate school since it lacks some of the courses mentioned above(specifically Phys5501H and Phys 5401H)?Here are the courses' description from Ohio State's website:

1. Physics 5400
Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism
Introduction to the description of electrostatic fields; dielectrics; boundary-value problems; magnetic fields of steady currents; induction; Maxwell's equations; plane waves. Math prerequisite: Calculus 3(Vector Calculus)

2. Physics 5401H
Honors Advanced Electricity and Magnetism 2
4 credits.

Plane waves, plane waves in matter; physical optics; coherence, interference, diffraction, and dispersion. Prerequisites: passing Phys 5400

3. Physics 5500
Quantum Mechanics
4 credits.

Introduction to quantum mechanics, including its historical background, the Schrodinger equation, solutions of one-dimensional scattering and bound state problems. Math Prerequisites : Differential Equations Intro class and Calculus 3

4. Physics 5501H
Honors Quantum Mechanics II
4 credits.

The Schrodinger equation in three dimensions, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom; time-independent perturbation theory.time-dependent perturbation theory, scattering theory and the Born approximation, multi-electron atoms. Prerequisites: Passing Phys 5500

5.Physics 5600
Statistical Mechanics
4 credits

Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; applications to noninteracting classical and quantum systems. Interacting systems, special states of matter, critical phenomena and phase transitions. Math Prerequisites : Differential Equations Intro class and Calculus 3

6.Physics 5300
Theoretical Mechanics
Development of Lagrangian mechanics, inertia and stress tensors, rigid body rotations and introduction to the mechanics of continuous media. Math Prerequisites : Differential Equations and Calculus 3More details about the course description can be found at
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  • #2
NegativeProbability said:
my school has many options that are really confusing to choose without consulting an expert

Do you have an academic advisor? What did he or she say?
  • #3
Unfortunately, I have not fully enrolled yet since I am currently waiting for the orientation. So I do not have any advisor assigned.
  • #4
So what's the hurry then? Deciding on which courses you will take three years from now can surely wait until you've met with an advisor.
  • #5
I agree. The two options have you taking the same courses for the first two years. I don't know how the academic bureaucracy at OSU works, but you probably don't need to declare officially which option you've chosen, until the end of your second year. You probably don't even need to declare your major until then; that's how it is at the college where I work.
  • #6
For administrative reasons, this thread is now locked.

1. What is the benefit of choosing a physics concentration for my sophomore year at Ohio State?

Choosing a physics concentration for your sophomore year at Ohio State allows you to dive deeper into the field and gain a strong foundation in physics principles. This can prepare you for a variety of career paths in science, engineering, and research.

2. Do I need to have a strong background in physics to choose this concentration?

No, you do not need to have a strong background in physics to choose this concentration. However, having a basic understanding of math and science concepts will be helpful in succeeding in this concentration.

3. What courses will I take as part of the physics concentration at Ohio State?

As part of the physics concentration, you will take courses such as classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics. You will also have the opportunity to take elective courses in specialized areas of physics.

4. Will I have opportunities for research or internships in physics at Ohio State?

Yes, there are many opportunities for research and internships in physics at Ohio State. The department has a variety of research labs and collaborations with industry partners. You can also participate in summer research programs or internships through the university.

5. Can I switch to a different concentration if I change my mind?

Yes, you can switch to a different concentration if you change your mind. It is important to speak with your academic advisor to ensure that you meet all the requirements for the new concentration and to plan your course schedule accordingly.

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