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Pros/Cons of the Honors Math/Physics program?

  1. Apr 14, 2010 #1
    So, its kind of a hard decision, just looking for opinions. I assume its more suited to theoretical stuff than Honors Physics, but if you just take Honors Physics will it still teach the mathematical methods necessary if one decides to go into theoretical physics? One major difference I've noticed in the Math/Physics program at my school, is that they don't have to do the same degree of laboratory classes, or the "Honors research thesis" that seniors would do in the pure physics path.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2010 #2
    In my experience, Math/Phys programs tend to be the same as physics programs, however they add a few courses that use mathematics beyond what the average physics student might need to know. For example, not all PhD physicists are entirely familiar with the math that lies at the core of general relativity, such as tensor analysis. Math/Phys programs also seem to generally require an additional course in more advanced classical mechanics. It's also typical for them to require you to take all calculus, algebra, and analysis courses in the honors course stream (i.e. you'll be in the math courses with all the honors math students) rather than the typical stream. These courses normally cover the same things, but just contain a more theoretical development of the concepts, and are nearly always more proof-based.

    Aside from that, the rest is quite similar. You will find yourself at an advantage in electrodynamics and quantum mechanics courses though, as the math used is normally the biggest stumbling block for physics students, and having the extra math knowledge is very beneficial.
  4. Apr 17, 2010 #3
    Why? Quarky has provided an answer to your question and, in any case, I think the pros and cons are fairly obvious.

    Pros: You do more maths and so end up with a wider range of math knowledge, probably in a bit more depth.

    Cons: You do less lab work and so miss out on the practical experience and report writing etc.

    It's a personal choice that, at the end of the day, I don't see having much of a bearing on your career options afterwards. There's little difference, and you'll have roughly the same skillset that you would have otherwise.
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