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Precisely What Is It That I should Be Majoring In?

  1. May 14, 2012 #1
    Well, I'll first start off by expressing that I unequivocally love mathematics and physics. I know I could not choose between just one--that is, if somehow circumstances would make me choose between the two. If I were to major just in physics, I would have unsatisfied feelings knowing there was a lot of math courses I would miss out on; and the converse is true of me just majoring in mathematics. What about a dual major? Yes! what about it? How long would it take for me to get a masters or a Ph.D? And what about mathematical physics? How much math and physics courses would I be looking at if I were to pursue it? Such a hindrance is school that sometimes I feel like leaving and studying the two subjects myself; after all, I would get much more done and in a quicker time.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2012 #2
    Some schools have a Mathematical Physics major and some don't. If two schools both have Mathematical Physics, the details of the program will most likely differ. Definitely look into different colleges that you're interested in to see their program. You should be able to get an idea of what you're looking for.

    The answers to your questions themselves would likely take pages to answer while looking up different programs would do the same job with much less effort.
     
  4. May 14, 2012 #3
    Major in both, it's doable with motivation.

    I disagree, for multiple reasons. To state two: 1) a program offers direction; when studying on your own you can easily get paralysed by all the possible options and you would likely go into too much depth too soon, whereas a school has a program that goes layer by layer (for good reason; maturity takes time) and also orders all the subjects logically and you don't have to spend time thinking out what to do first
    2) You can learn an immense lot from simply hearing somebody proficient at it explaining it. A lot of subtleties are not put into books yet are so easily said as side-remarks by a professor teaching it. And it's hard to ask a book questions (well, getting an answer is the hard part)

    Sure, you might have a lot of complaints about the specific details (some professors can't explain well, certain books could be better, no interesting extracurricular lectures organised or whatever), but all in all, the dictum is: schools are a really good place to learn things (at least to lay a basis, and for physics a basis extends at least to the master's levels)
     
  5. May 30, 2012 #4
    I've known a couple math/phys double majors. It appears to a lot of work--one of my friends who's doing that pretty much never sleeps--but it's my understanding that you need a fair amount of math coursework to be a physics major anyway.
     
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