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Physics/Math double major, or take the math minor?

  1. May 23, 2012 #1
    Hello all,

    I've seen variants of this question posted, but I have a few different circumstances I'd like to ask about, so thank you for your patience in allowing me to post it again :)

    In the fall, I will be a senior physics major and will have 3 semesters (will probably be taking an extra one so that's why the 3) to go until I graduate with a BS in physics and mathematics. My question is this: should I go after a double major, or will minoring in math be sufficient?

    I am not sure of my future plans, but I know I would like to at least attempt to get a masters in some type of physics. I do know I am not interested (at this stage of life anyway) in going into a teaching career. How much good would double majoring do on an application for grad school? I have asked numerous people in (and outside of) the physics and math departments, and can not really get a straight answer as to how much good the double major would do.

    I have already satisfied all of the math minor requirements; to get a major I would need 5 additional courses as follows:

    Abstract algebra (re-take)
    Real Analysis
    3 electives
    (most likely Complex Analysis, Discrete Mathematics II, and an upper level Statistics course)

    Doing the math major would just really cramp my schedule, and I honestly don't enjoy most of the upper level math. I have good grades in physics (nothing below a B) and good grades in core classes. I have varying grades in math. If it's physics-ish math, I do alright. If it's the so called "pure math", not so much. Abstract algebra is the only course I've ever failed (I escaped that one with a D).

    So in short , I could make the math major work, but it would really make for an awful last 3 semesters, and it could potentially hurt my GPA (which Is right at a 3.0 right now. I know, I need to bring it up.)

    Any help or insight is extremely appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2012 #2
    A math minor is sufficient. I'd only do a math major if there is an actual interest in the material. Taking relevant math courses wouldn't hurt (don't think it would help with admissions, though), but that is up to you.
     
  4. May 23, 2012 #3
    It might be a good idea to just take the math minor if you don't want your GPA to suffer anymore. The analysis courses are also "pure maths".
     
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