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Physics Specializations

  1. Jan 15, 2007 #1
    I am currently attending a community college in San Diego working through the lower-division physics and mathematics courses. I have a transfer contract with UCSD, which means after I have attained 64-credits, I will transfer into their university. I am working independently on my physics and maths using several different texts and constructing binders filled with detailed notes, related to specific courses. I am working really hard so that I can hopefully be considered a top math and physics student once I transfer (although, I have no idea what the competition is like once I transfer -- it's extremely poor at the cc level).

    I have looked through UCSD's physics major but I am still not sure what I should be working towards. I have an interest in theoretical high energy quantum physics (although my knowledge of it is completely basic and vague) but I have a passion and desire for mathematically heavy theoretical physics. I can't seem to find a 'specialization' that describes the style of physics that I want to do so if anyone is willing to take a few minutes and look through this course outline and possibly give me some advice, that would be tight.

    I had considered possibly majoring in computational physics to ensure employment security if I can't find a solid post-doc position (assuming I am retained through graduate school after undergrad) and then doing theoretical high energy in graduate school.

    Here is the link to the course outline:


    Any other advice regarding my questions or corrections about any misunderstands that I may have, would also be appreciated.

    Peace homies!

    -BonG RiPPP-
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2007 #2

    Chris Hillman

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    Science Advisor

    Hi, complexPHILOSOPHY (bonG RiPPP?)

    Well, you're lucky: UCSD has one of the leading math departments in the U.S., but I'd guess that few students exhibit as much discipline as you have done, so you'll probably really hit your stride once you start attending higher math courses at UCSD.

    These days mathematicians do theoretical physics and vice versa, so it might help to recognize that to some extent it might not matter whether you wind up aiming at a graduate program in math or physics. Studying mathematics of course allows you to more easily broaden your horizons should you wind up getting interested in say economics or biology.

    Something didn't quite make sense there, but in any case you are probably getting a bit ahead of yourself. Still, having a rough plan of what you might do after graduating (we hope!) with an undergraduate degree in math/physics is not a bad idea, and something related to applied mathematics or applicable physics (biophysics seems to be getting hot--- see "protein folding") is probably a good career move. But I'd warn you that nothing can guarantee success, so you should expect to take it day by day.
  4. Jan 15, 2007 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I would like to second Chris's comments. Based on the tone of your OP, you have the intelligence, presence and motivation to do well at a 4-year college. Keep it up!
  5. Jan 16, 2007 #4
    What I was trying express was a question concerning the possibility of majoring in computational physics and mathematics and then continuing to graduate school for theoretical (mathematically heavy) physics. If this is a possibility, would this be a better selection then doing a mathematically based physics program (assuming UCSD has one) engineered more for theory or would the former benefit me more?

    The reason that I had considered computational physics was incase I completed my PhD and was unable to receive a job afterwards, I would hopefully atleast be regarded as a resource in the industry for my modeling abilities.

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2007
  6. Jan 17, 2007 #5

    Chris Hillman

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    Science Advisor

    I think that once you get to UCSD you should seek out a mentor and get advice from someone who is familiar with opportunities at that university.
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