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Courses Planning my degree - Need some advice

  1. Jul 8, 2016 #1
    Hey guys. On semester break here at the moment and I've been trying to plan out some of my undergraduate course as a way to cure my boredom. Basically I'm stuck on deciding on certain math units I should complete.

    A bit of back story first. I'm only a first year undergrad at the moment, just finished my first semester. I'm planning on majoring in physics alongside mathematics, since in my degree we need to complete two majors (or an extended major and a minor). This semester I've completed what is the equivalent of Calc 2. Next semester I'm completing Calc 3 and Differential Equations and also a unit in Linear Algebra semester 1 next year (I'm from Australia). Calc 2 & 3 and Differential Equations cover all the formal physics units pre-requisites I need and Linear Algebra is core to the maths major. I can basically choose the rest of the units to complete the major.

    For second semester math units, my university only really has Complex Analysis and Advanced Ordinary Differential Equations on offer. This isn't a problem though, just thought I would mention it. Most likely I am going to take both of these units.

    Now the problem is I only have 3 spots open for semester 1 units across the rest of my degree. BUT the university has an option of 6 different units to choose from. Unfortunately I can't choose all of them and I wanted some help to prioritize which units will be best to do to aid my physics major. I'll just list all of them out.

    • Algebra and Number Theory - Groups in geometry, linear algebra, and number theory.
    • Real Analysis - An introduction to real analysis with a special focus on sequences of real numbers and functions.
    • Partial Differential Equations - Introduction to PDEs; first-order PDEs and characteristics.
    • Introduction to Computational Mathematics - The unit offers a practical introduction to numerical computing. It begins by introducing the computing package MATLAB which is widely used in science and engineering
    • Differential Geometry - This unit will explore the metric structure of curves and surfaces, primarily in 3-dimensional Euclidean space.
    • Fluid Dynamics - The continuum hypothesis; notion of a fluid particle; pathlines and streamlines. Eulerian and Lagrangian frameworks.

    If I could I would want to take all of these units, but unfortunately I need to choose between them. I would just like some feedback and opinions about the units. Thank you for reading!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2016 #2

    Dr Transport

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    Fluid Dynamics
    Computational Mathematics

    in all my years in physics, I have not used real analysis, or algebra and number theory. Differential Geometry comes up in relativity etc, but I have not used in in my field.
  4. Jul 9, 2016 #3
    Thank you for the reply. Do you think applied maths helps out more with physics rather than pure maths? Does this depend what field of physics you end up going into?
  5. Jul 9, 2016 #4

    Dr Transport

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    yes, I find that applied math is more useful to me as a physicist. It dopes depend on your field, but remember, most people who get a graduate degree do not end up in academia, so if you decide to get a degree in an esoteric area of study, you'll be looking to change skill sets when you look for a job, skill transfer, but I find that employers that I know don't really care if you know differential geometry, for example, it doesn't come up in my line of work, we have no need for it, but a really good background in computational math and programming is really helpful.
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