Physics grad classes or math with honors

In summary, taking more graduate courses in math may help you more for your grad school application, but it's not a requirement. You should also take a general relativity or particle physics course if you want to be proficient in your field.
  • #1
LBloom
172
0
Hey guys,

So I'm a physics major who wants to go to grad school in theory. My current preference is high energy theory but I'm open to other fields of course. My question is, if I want to go into theoretical physics or any very mathematical field of physics is it better for my grad school application and for building up my own knowledge to take graduate classes in physics or to graduate with honors in mathematics (along with Physics).

Right now I'm only planning on taking one grad physics class, first semester QM, but I thought it would be better to take more to prepare. OTOH in grad school I would probably have to retake those classes anyway so that kind of seems like a waste to do them now.

To get into the honors program I'd have to take a class about "analysis in several dimensions", a seminar course in math that changes topics each semester, and write an honors thesis. So far I've enjoyed my math classes and do want to learn more, but I don't want to sacrifice my physics classes. I probably wouldn't have time to take solid state or other grad classes if I try to complete the honors program.

To sum up: For HET, would more advanced math or grad physics classes help me more?

PS: the syllabus to the class is:

Continuity, differentiation, and integration in Euclidean n-space. Differentiable maps. Implicit and inverse function theorems. Differential forms and the general Stokes's theorem.

and if i don't enter the honors program i'd still be taking classes in topology and geometry, differential geometry, and analysis.
 
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  • #2
Looks like you've got a pretty good system of math courses planned out already.

I don't know much about HE, but for theoretical physics in general, I'd recommend grad-level mathematical physics (math methods for physics at some schools), QM, and perhaps some sort of computational class. I took numerical PDEs in the math department, but I was also doing an MS in math. Computational physics would probably be more useful.

You also might want to take a general relativity or particle physics course, depending what's required of your field. Are there any HE theorists at your current school? If so, talk to them. If not, look for resources at other schools. If you're a senior and currently applying to grad school, talk to people at the schools you're applying to.

All of that said, you'll have plenty of time in graduate school to take all of those courses. It's certainly not a bad idea to take a few grad courses as an undergrad, but don't make your schedule too beastly. In grad school, there is a basic set of core courses that all physics grads take, and then you're generally expected to take a few "electives" that are more specific to your field. If you do some of that as an undergrad, those courses _may_ transfer -- but check with the graduate school that you end up at.
 
  • #3
Thanks for the advice, I was hoping to take a grad class in mathematical methods for physics but it wasn't offered this semester. I don't know about any computational class though beyond what we did in our programming class. I'm hoping to take a GR and particle class next spring granted there's no time conflicts of course.

There are plenty of HE people at my school and I was planning on asking a professor I'm working with for independent study, but there's a big conference going on so I figured I'd wait before asking him.

What I was worried about was the courses transferring too. I don't want to take a class here and then have to retake it later anyway (granted it would be easier). I'd rather learn something new even if its on the undergrad level while I can. OTOH it may transfer and it does look good on an app.
 

Related to Physics grad classes or math with honors

1. What is the difference between a physics graduate class and a math class with honors?

A physics graduate class focuses on advanced topics and research in the field of physics, while a math class with honors typically covers more advanced topics in mathematics and may involve independent research projects.

2. How can I prepare for a physics graduate class or math class with honors?

To prepare for a physics graduate class or math class with honors, it is important to have a strong foundation in both physics and mathematics. This may involve reviewing key concepts and equations, practicing problem solving, and familiarizing yourself with the research interests of the professors teaching the classes.

3. Are there any prerequisites for taking a physics graduate class or math class with honors?

Yes, there are usually prerequisites for these types of classes. For a physics graduate class, a strong background in undergraduate physics courses is typically required. For a math class with honors, prerequisites may include advanced calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.

4. What are the benefits of taking a physics graduate class or math class with honors?

Taking a physics graduate class or math class with honors can be beneficial for those interested in pursuing careers in research or academia. These classes provide a deeper understanding of advanced topics and often involve hands-on experience with research projects, which can be valuable for graduate school applications and future career opportunities.

5. What type of career opportunities are available for those with a background in physics or math with honors?

A background in physics or math with honors can lead to a variety of career opportunities in fields such as engineering, teaching, research, finance, and data analysis. Graduates with these backgrounds are highly sought after for their analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to think critically and approach complex problems with a scientific mindset.

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