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Physics Graduate with Mathematics degree

  1. Mar 15, 2015 #1
    I'm about to enter University for a Chemistry major, but I've been throwing around the idea of a double major and also taking Mathematics. They do not offer a physics major, but it's my understanding that physics is heavily reliant on advanced math and that physics itself is so hard because many lack the mathematical understanding.

    If I were to take this road, would there be a significant learning curve if I tried to pursue a graduate education in physics? I'm currently reading through the Feynman lectures to get an introduction to a physics undergrad, but I'm unsure of what standards have been set for a student pursuing graduate school. I've heard of the physics GRE, but I'm not too familiar. I understand that it involves Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, and many other areas of Physics. Areas that neither a Chem or Math major would cover. Which is why I'm concerned about taking my current path.

    Anyone have some insight?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2015 #2


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    If you're just starting out and your goal is to get into physics graduate school, the best route would be to attend an undergraduate institution that offers a degree in physics rather than trying to take a chemistry and mathematics route and hope that will be good enough.
  4. Mar 15, 2015 #3
    I agree with Choppy. Does your university not offer at least some elective courses in physics? It's worth mentioning that minoring or double majoring in mathematics could definitely be useful if you were perhaps planning on studying physical chemistry, or perhaps chemical physics (the names refer to which side of the line you fall on).
  5. Mar 15, 2015 #4
    They do offer a minor program in physics. Though again my concern is that it wouldn't be sufficient enough for a graduate education. I understand what you are both saying, and I'm intending on speaking to the guidance to see how to remedy the situation. I may end up transferring to a place that offers a physics major, if that's what it takes. It would cost more money and resources then I would like, however. But I guess sacrifices must be made.
  6. Mar 15, 2015 #5
    So called "minors" courses are very junior introductions to physics that probably won't not be to the standard as a theoretical particle physics graduate programme, but would most certainly be of help in say a condensed matter or atomic/molecular/optical programme. It depends on what you want to do. People with chemistry degrees do in fact take on graduate study in physics - it just depends on the area. The converse is also true. There is a physics undergrad major at my institution who is now doing work in a chemistry masters programme focused on multifunctional materials.
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