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Programs Physics and Chemistry? double major?

I was wondering if anyone here at PF is doing or has done this type of sequence at their university or college. I'm into my sophomore year and it seems doable for me. I'm still in the process of taking my lower division courses so I'm not sure how hard the upper division classes will be (I have a general idea), they all seem to center around thermodynamics and quantum chemistry.

Any advice on what sequences I should take my upper division classes in, or anything in general? I would greatly appreciate it. Also, there isn't too much overlap between the courses I have to take so i will have spent 5 (or maybe 6) years in college. Will this look bad in my grad school app or on a resume for industry?

By the way I'm not doubling up because I'm trying to make my grad school app/ resume sparkle, I think the different perspectives I get from both disciplines are valuable and the topics they cover interest me. I was just wondering since this isn't a traditional kind of route.

Constructive advice or comments from anyone of any major are welcome

Thank you
 
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I doubled chemistry and physics. Feel free to ask any questions. Personally, if I could go back, I wouldn't have touched the chemistry major (I'll elaborate later... physicsforums seems to be having server issues. page isn't loading)

Before we go any further: what are your interests?
 

lisab

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I started off in chemistry. But after a year of P-chem I went to a double major, chemistry and physics. I never finished the chem degree, though...ran out of time, money, and patience (school does get old after a while!).

Although I did finish my BS in physics, most of my jobs have been more chemistry related - much easier to market those skills.

Be ready for a *lot* of lab work :biggrin:.
 
@ flemmyd I'll elaborate on why I chose this certain path. The majors offered in the college of natural sciences here at my university have certain options which are in effect minors. The majors I chose were in chemistry computation and physics computation (computation being the minor in each). It turns out that they both overlap except for their signature upper division course (physics computation and chemistry computation). My interests lie heavily in the computational modeling/analysis of macromolecules and their potential applications in nanotechnology.
I was considering doing chemistry and computer science but there is little overlap and I think the classes in physics will help me to understand more behind the mechanics going on.

@lisab I totally sympathize with you but I'm willing to do it, I like the environment in academia and i'm blessed to have a supportive family and girlfriend :). Tuition is getting pricey though.
Labwork is... well, a lot of work. At least I'm learning from it though, and it is university after all, not high school.

I would like to know what sequence you took your upper division classes. It seems like there can be some classes that are complementary to each other if taken at the same time for example quantum mechanics (physics) and quantum spectroscopy(chemistry) or physical chemistry and classical thermodynamics. I already have an idea of what I'm planning but I'm only going off of 2 sentence course descriptions.

Any insight as to how to go about thinking about atoms/bonds/molecules from these two different points of views?

Are there any math courses you suggest I take (besides differentiable, integral, and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and PDE/ODE)?

Looking back, If you knew now what you didn't know then about the major or certain courses, what would you tell yourself?

Any advice in general?

Thanks, I really appreciate this help. I'm sort of the first one in my family to go this sort of route and I don't know anyone else whose done it either.

Feel free to PM me if you want, I appreciate this :)
 
I started out chem, switched to chem and physics, then dropped chem as a major because of both scheduling conflicts with labs and I didn't like the way physical chemistry handwaved over thermo and quantum compared to the full blown coursework in physics. I still took many of the advanced courses in chemistry (like advanced inorganic synthesis), and kept chem as a minor... but dropping it also gave me time for math as a second minor, with most of the strongest physics-complementary coursework in that field (like complex analysis, boundary values /PDEs etc.).

In graduate school admissions (I was on a committee at CU Boulder), I've generally found that strong upper level coursework in a second major or one/more minors gives a very slight bump (but not much).
 
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As physics girl points out, pchem tends to hand-wave over a lot of the advance math and physics. I was originally doing a pure chem, but was unsatisfied with the treatment quantum and stat mech were getting, so I added the physics major.

Lisab is right in warning you about all the labs. Every chem major should end up taking general, organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry. And you still have a lab class for each of those classes. Most of your electives are just "advance *whichever* chemistry" (plus anything in the bio department). Labs are a lot of busy work with little creativity in write-ups aka time sinks.

The main reason I wouldn't have bother with chemistry is because physics would have given me all the tools I need to do anything I want in chemistry better then chemistry program could have. At my university, upper division physics majors are on the same level as graduate physical chemists (Both use Marion for mechanics, Griffiths for e&m and Griffiths for quantum.)
If my (or your) interests lie along a more interdisciplinary boundary, a chem major/certain classes might make more sense. Organic and inorganic could be useful. I would have trouble recommending pchem in any scenario if you were just going to take the physics version of all these classes.

I would like to know what sequence you took your upper division classes. It seems like there can be some classes that are complementary to each other if taken at the same time for example quantum mechanics (physics) and quantum spectroscopy(chemistry) or physical chemistry and classical thermodynamics. I already have an idea of what I'm planning but I'm only going off of 2 sentence course descriptions.
The problem with chemistry is that everything is related. A lot of different topics can have varying slants. I took Inorganic 1 with a synthetic chemist and we did lots of reaction/catalyst stuff. When I took Inorganic 2, it was a completely different class because it was being taught by a borderline physical chemist. We were drawing molecular orbitals and forming groups.
At some schools, analytical chemistry could have a heavy physical chem twist. At mine, they didn't even hand wave it; they just glossed right over.
It varies.

Any insight as to how to go about thinking about atoms/bonds/molecules from these two different points of views?
The views are not really all that different. Although if your systems get large enough (bio marcomolecules), then you start using classical mechanics to model them.

Are there any math courses you suggest I take (besides differentiable, integral, and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and PDE/ODE)?
How far down do you want to go? that might be enough. Or maybe I would recommend studying some functional analysis.
 
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A friend of mine is doing a physics-chemistry double major. I asked what he's going to do with that. He said, "Whatever the **** I want."

I said, okay.
 

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