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Order of Math and Physics Courses

  1. Mar 13, 2015 #1
    Hello, I am preparing to start college and I'm looking for assistance in how to order my courses. Before taking any Physics courses, my school requires you complete Calculus 1. After taking Calculus 1, I will be eligible for Physics 1. Would it be wise to complete Calculus 2 before beginning Physics 1, or should succeeding in Calculus 1 adequately prepare me for Physics 1?

    A description of Physics 1: This course is a calculus-based study of the mechanics of rigid bodies, emphasizing Newton's laws and its applications. This course includes an introduction to fluids. It is designed for engineering, physical science, and computer science majors.

    Also, after Calculus 2, I'll need to take Ordinary Differential Equations, Multivariable Calculus, and Linear Algebra. What would be the preferable order to take these classes?

    My planned major is Aerospace Engineering. I'm starting at a community college and expecting to spend 3 years competing prerequisite transfer classes, so taking extra time to get everything done doesn't worry me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2015 #2
    Calculus 1 should adequately prepare you for an introductory, calculus-based physics course. As for ODEs, multivariable calculus, and linear algebra, I don't think order should be important. I did multivariable calculus first, and then ODEs and linear algebra concurrently, which worked out well for me.

  4. Mar 13, 2015 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Assuming your Calc 1 covers both basic derivatives and basic integrals, you'll be OK. This is a common prerequisite for Physics 1 at many colleges/universities. You probably won't actually use much calculus in Physics 1 for working out problems, and when you do, it will probably involve only simple derivatives and integrals like polynomials and maybe sines, cosines or exponentials. The calculus is mainly used to make basic relationships between physical quantities simpler or more general, i.e. acceleration is the derivative of velocity, etc.
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