1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses Physics/Math Course Diagram; Opinions please?

  1. May 23, 2009 #1
    Hello again everyone. I just finished making a diagram to plan out a possible physics major/math minor and I would appreciate any advice anyone can give me. The courses are arranged with math on the left and physics on the right, with arrows pointing out the flow and pre-reqs and such. Each row is a set of courses in a given semester, roughly. The only part that I'm doubtful about is the 6 in the third row. Granted, it's not exactly as bad as it appears, since Thermal Physics and Quantum Physics are both half-semester courses, one in the first half and one in the second, but that much math is giving me a preemptive headache. Currently, I'm at the top of the diagram for this fall semester. Thank you!

    P.S.: The light green circles are part of the 'honors sequence' in our math department and you may have to click on the thumbnail to zoom in to original size, or else the course names are indecipherable.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2009 #2
    Just curious, So in theory, you can finish your major in, 2 and a half years?
    I am not sure how this pre-reqs work. Because in my school, while, say class A is pre-reqs of class B, one could probably take both A and B together.
    If this is also true in your school, then I'll suggest to take math 285 at the second row (second semester, or year? I am a bit confused)
    And I am a bit confused by your classes too. Because where is the corresponded linear Algebra in the honor path for math?
    Another suggestion, since thermal is kinda independent to other courses, you can probably leave it to the end of your college career (I guess this is also due to my bias view on the subject. I am really dumb in this field and don't really like it much ;P). And that will sharply decrease your course load for 3rd row down to 3 classes.
    Just another wonder, does your math department offer some other upper math courses? Because that doesn't sound quite enough for a pure math major. I think normally universities would require something like Modern Algebra, Topology, etc for a math major to graduate. Take some of them, they could be really helpful (Although I certainly have heard of some people saying that learning math screwed their sense of physics. But my personal experience is that it actually enchants physics, in some way, at least.)
  4. Jun 25, 2009 #3
    I see that you are from UIUC ;)

    Isn't PHYS 325 (Classical Mechanics) usually taken concurrently with PHYS 213 (thermal) and 214 (quantum) and MATH 285 (Diff Eq)?
    I believe that is definitely a course load that is easily undertaken..
    MATH 415 shouldn't be much of a problem..but I'm not sure about your Honors Analysis class..

    I believe you should see how well you can cope with 347 because it isn't like any of your previous MATH classes..If you are struggling in 347, I believe Honors Analysis would be much tougher for you.

    At UIUC, even if you do not have the pre-reqs, u can still register for the course and survive them pretty well.
    Besides, you still have the EM sequence (435/436), QM II (487), Stat Mech (427) and a lab class (401 or 403) before you complete a real physics major's requirements
    With respect to math classes, taking complex analysis (446 or 448) (I recommend the former), Differential Geometry (423) and Tensor Analysis (481) would be useful for a physicist.
  5. Jun 26, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    How far mathematically do you want to go? For example if you took a course in stats and in information theory that would help you with statistical mechanics and black holes and thermodynamics.

    If you wanted to go deeper into quantum mechanics functional analysis sounds like a good area to get into.

    Also the calculus of variation comes up a lot in physics as well.

    If you're interested moreso in QM (and even things not QM) a course in graduate algebra is highly recommended especially if you want to do particle physics.

    Theres also math that a poster above me has mentioned such as differential geometry and tensor analysis.

    I guess your standard calculus sequence and linear algebra along with diff equations and other "math methods for physicists" should suffice but the higher physics usually demands equally higher math.

    I guess the more math the better but I guess the question that remains is which specialization of physics/math/whatever would you like to end up in?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook