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Potential physics Major-consfused

  1. Jan 10, 2012 #1
    I am currently in high school and am decided what career to pursue. I shadowed a medical physicist for a day and found it to be quite interesting. After doing more research I discovered that usually an undergraduate degree in physics is needed to pursue further studies in med phys. I am taking AP physics now and am doing pretty well <80%. I enjoy physics but find it to still be a bit of a challenge! It is all algebra based, and I will be doing my first calc class next semester. What i am wondering is what is first year physics in university for a physics major like? Is it insanely hard? and hard to get good grades in? I have heard that once HS students start to do calculus based physics it becomes easier. I do not want to major in physics and hate it. I believe that if I majored in physics and worked hard i could do well. Any thoughts would be appreciated.....
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2012 #2
    The first and second year of physics at my school is a somewhat more in-depth coverage of material you found in your high school class - and by somewhat I mean "significantly more rigorous", covering more topics at greater depth using more advanced mathematics. You take your mathematics and general education courses and prepare for the really hard classes.

    I can't see your first year being particularly difficult. I took the same classes the physics majors take, and they were certainly challenging, but in a very pleasant way. But if you find challenge unpleasant, then turn back, traveler - there be dragons ahead, particularly in the Land of the Junior and the Kingdom of Senior.
  4. Jan 10, 2012 #3


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    It's difficult to say how difficult you will find a first year physics course. For some students it is a lot of review, others "must unlearn."

    To become a medical physicist you have to study physics. It is possible to get in with other degrees, but these are degrees such as engineering physics or physical chemisty - which contain the core physics courses with some slightly difference options. So when I see this sentence:
    I think you'll have a hard time pursuing anything physics-related.

    One option is to take a general science first year that includes a first year physics course. If it turns out you enjoy it and do well in it, you'll be in a position to pursue physics as a degree.
  5. Jan 10, 2012 #4
    If you hate physics and do not want to major in it, you will have a VERY hard time becoming a medical physicist. Even if you decided to do engineering physics or physical chemistry, they are still, at their core, physics-based. So saying you want to do medical physics but you hate physics is like saying you want to be an engineer but you hate calculations and designing things.

    I would advise you to pick a different career. Maybe a doctor. They don't do too much physics last I checked.
  6. Jan 10, 2012 #5
    I'm thinking this was a miscommunication. I think the intention, given the rest of the post, was that he didn't want to major in physics only to end up hating it. Evidence from his post:

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