Physics Major with Stats/Data Analysis Minor (Is this a good combo?)

In summary, the conversation discusses the topic of choosing a minor to complement a major in physics for an incoming university freshman in the US. The OP is considering a stats/data analysis minor, but is unsure if this would make them less competitive compared to a physics major with a different minor. Other possible minors that could offer relevant real-world skills are also mentioned. It is advised to establish a goal and consider potential paths, such as pursuing a PhD or entering industry. The importance of maintaining good grades is also emphasized. The OP shares their background in dual enrollment and AP classes, and mentions consulting with an academic advisor.
  • #1
InternalEase
4
0
I am an incoming university freshman in the U.S. who wants to major in physics but also wants to add a minor that will help build some more applicable skills. As the title suggests, I am looking for some insight into a stats/data analysis minor since a close friend of mine majored in applied math with a stats/data analysis minor and it seemed like a pretty good combo when it came to finding jobs in statistics. Would I be less competitive with a physics major combined with a stats minor, or would it still be a decent combo? Are there some other minors that combine better with a physics major that offer sought after real world skills? Thanks!
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
First, you should establish a goal. Where do you want to be in four years? After that, you can choose how you want to achieve it.
 
  • Like
Likes InternalEase
  • #3
gleem said:
First, you should establish a goal. Where do you want to be in four years? After that, you can choose how you want to achieve it.
To: OP. Following up on gleem's reply, a lot depends on whether you stop with a BS, or continue on to a MS or PhD. Have you given any thought to that? Some people (like me many moons ago) already plan on getting a PhD; others decide later on.

That said, as a physics major undergrad (regardless of whether you stop with a BS physics or continue on to grad school), taking electives in stats will certainly be useful (you don't necessarily need to get an official minor). Other good general pairings with physics are math, EE, ME, comp sci, or comp eng. If you have a specific interest in materials, chem or materials science and engineering are good options. Education and training in bio have also become useful tools in a physicist's kit bag.

When I was an undergrad, most of my fellow physics majors took their non-physics electives in math or EE. I chose materials science and engineering, because, going in, I already knew that I wanted to eventually concentrate in solid-state physics; and, in high school, I had developed a fascination with crystal growth. If you don't already have a strong preference, then at least in most US universities, you have opportunities in freshman and sophomore years to explore and find out whether you do have a preference.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes InternalEase
  • #4
Ideally I would take on a PhD but I also want to have a minor that allows me to merge into industry if I need to. I'm unsure of what exactly I would want to do in industry, but comp sci is also a smaller interest of mine.
 
  • #5
So you need to prepare for grad school. But you still need focus down on an area of physics that you are interested in that has pertinent industrial applications. As ChrisPhys pointed out you have a couple of years to determine what that might be. It is still early in your education.

Be solid in your major though. Your minor should complement and support your major as much as possible.
 
  • Like
Likes InternalEase
  • #6
InternalEase said:
I am an incoming university freshman in the U.S. who wants to major in physics but also wants to add a minor that will help build some more applicable skills. As the title suggests, I am looking for some insight into a stats/data analysis minor since a close friend of mine majored in applied math with a stats/data analysis minor and it seemed like a pretty good combo when it came to finding jobs in statistics. Would I be less competitive with a physics major combined with a stats minor, or would it still be a decent combo? Are there some other minors that combine better with a physics major that offer sought after real world skills? Thanks!

So how smart are you?

Do you think you have the capability to tackle such programs, considering that you are an incoming freshman without any knowledge yet on a college workload?

Have you talked to an academic advisor about this?

There is no point in having a major and a minor but your grades are mediocre. Quality over Quantity.

Zz.
 
  • Like
Likes InternalEase
  • #7
I don't think I'm smarter than most people pursuing a physics major so that's definitely something I will consider when adding more coursework. I have done dual enrollment and took AP classes throughout my time in high school so that's all the experience I have with college coursework (I should have mentioned this in the original post, sorry!). I did have some talks with my academic advisor about some minors to consider. I am about 50% done with the required coursework for the college GEs + physics major (after this upcoming semester) so I believe I may be able to fit in a minor as well. Thanks for the good considerations.
 
Last edited:
  • #8
InternalEase said:
I don't think I'm smarter than most people pursuing a physics major so that's definitely something I will consider when adding more coursework. I have done dual enrollment and took AP classes throughout my time in high school so that's all the experience I have with college coursework (I should have mentioned this in the original post, sorry!). I did have some talks with my academic advisor about some minors to consider. I am about 50% done with the required coursework for the college GEs + physics major (after this upcoming semester) so I believe I may be able to fit in a minor as well. Thanks for the good considerations.
I would focus more on the subject matter and experience (through elective courses and projects), rather than getting an official minor. I don't think there's much to gain from having "Major in X, Minor in Y" listed on your transcript. If you stop with a BS in X, and look for a job that's primarily related to Y, then the job posts will state either (a) "BS in Y required"; in which case, the HR software filters will trash your application, or (b) "BS in Y preferred. BS in X will be considered, with appropriate experience in Y"; in which case, your resume and cover letter can highlight your education and experience in Y, regardless of whether or not you have an official minor in Y listed on your transcript. Since you're not going in with a strong personal preference, sampling different electives would be definitely worthwhile, rather than picking a minor in Y (even if you don't have a strong personal preference for it) primarily because you think it might help land you a job four years from now (no one can reliably predict which Y will be in demand then).
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes InternalEase

Related to Physics Major with Stats/Data Analysis Minor (Is this a good combo?)

1. Is a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor a good combination?

Yes, a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor is a great combination. Physics and statistics are highly complementary fields, and having a solid understanding of both can open up a wide range of career opportunities in fields such as data science, finance, and engineering.

2. What skills will I gain from a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor?

As a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor, you will develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as a deep understanding of mathematical and statistical concepts. You will also gain proficiency in programming languages and data analysis tools, which are highly sought after in many industries.

3. Are there any specific career paths for those with a physics major and stats/data analysis minor?

There are many career paths that are open to those with a physics major and stats/data analysis minor. Some common options include data analyst, financial analyst, research scientist, and engineer. However, the skills you develop in this combination are highly transferable and can be applied to a variety of industries.

4. Will I need to take a lot of math courses for this combination?

Yes, a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor will require a significant amount of math courses. However, these courses will provide you with a strong foundation in mathematical concepts and will greatly enhance your problem-solving abilities. Additionally, many of these courses will overlap with both the physics and statistics curriculum, making it a manageable workload.

5. Can I switch to a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor if I am already in a different major?

It is possible to switch to a physics major with a stats/data analysis minor, but it will depend on your school's specific requirements and policies. Some schools may have restrictions on switching majors, while others may require you to complete certain prerequisites before officially declaring the new major. It is best to consult with your academic advisor to determine the best course of action.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
908
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
11
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
9
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
2
Replies
41
Views
7K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
1
Views
945
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
17
Views
3K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
2K
Back
Top