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Prospective Physics/Math Schedule

  1. Nov 5, 2008 #1
    I am a sophomore that just got accepted into Upper Division for both Mathematics and Physics (I am double majoring, and plan to go for a PhD in physics), and now I have to plan out what to take for the next couple of years, I don't think I want to graduate in 2 years because I want to take as many advanced math courses as possible before going to grad school, it seems to me like I should exhaust most upper level math courses so that I can focus on learning the physics later without worrying about my math background, now I have to fill out what I want to take for the next year and turn it in to my new advisor, what do you guys think of the following?

    by the end of this semester, I will have taken calculus 1-4 and physics 1-3, for next semester I plan on:
    Quantum Physics & Quantum Physics Lab (required and fixed for spring sophomore year)
    Fourier Analysis
    Complex Analysis

    Fall junior year:
    Methods 1
    Quantum Mechanics (undergrad)
    Honors: Fundamental Structures of Algebra
    Honors: Introduction to Analysis (both math classes are grad level)

    Spring junior year:
    Methods 2
    Electricity and Magnetism (undergrad)
    " " Algebra 2
    " " Analysis 2
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2008 #2
    You take complex analysis before introduction to analysis? o_O
  4. Nov 6, 2008 #3
    What might help is some (truncated please!) course descriptions?
    And a four-year plan in math/physics?

    with regards to math:
    What I'm not seeing as one of your intermediate classes is a linear algebra class (and I don't THINK that's in your "Fundamental Structures of Algebra" is it?). I'd recommend this course if you haven't taken it (Lin. Alg. should be complementary to parts of undergrad Quantum Mechanics.. I think I took it simultaneous with some calculus though... so maybe you've taken it too :smile:).

    Taking the "Fourier Analysis class is a huge plus (it's complementary to both Quantum and E&M. I took this right after "Diff. Eq./ Calc 4" (although I was the youngest in the course), so it seems spaced fine.

    Analysis courses: Your "Honors: Intro to analysis" is at the grad level, so I'm thinking it is perhaps like what I had as a "Real analysis" class that was simultaneously a 400/500 level course for undergrad/grad (I'm assuming Analysis 2 is a follow-up to this). I'm not sure which I took first (complex analysis or real analysis... and I don't know that one HAS to be before the other, but it probably depends on the text and how things are taught; I'm not sure... my complex class was independent study with the chair of the math department, so my perspective might be funny). I took these both at the second semester Junior and first-semester senior level (but I forget the order). You have these at second semester sophomore and first-semester junior... So I wonder too if these both might be pushed up too early... what are your math courses left for senior year? :confused:

    also -- with regards to physics...
    What's quantum physics and lab, and how does it compare to Quantum (undergrad)? I'm thinking it was like a holding ground "modern" course (that I skipped because I actually transferred to our department late from a chemistry major, and it wasn't required :wink:).

    But of particular note: Where's second semester Quantum (undergrad) and E&M (undergrad)? Thermo? and Classical mechanics (undergrad? -- typically there's a possible two semesters of this, and I'd recommend both) You should probably be taking a Thermodynamics (both bulk thermo and statistical thermo) and Classical mechanics about this time. And have you taken an electronics couse? upper level labs?

    then: important!: start looking into research opportunities (both in your institution and at others)! This is critical to your application into physics programs.
  5. Nov 6, 2008 #4


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    I'm assuming you go to umn from the title of the courses.

    The analysis and algebra courses aren't really grad courses. They're really junior/senior level ugrad classes that can count as grad credit for entering grad students who need a refresher or just didn't take them as an ugrad. They have the same content as classes pretty much every math major at every major university takes.

    Judging from that course list that won't be a problem. There are plenty of electives on the list or he could take a grad class or two. Not to mention plenty of people take analysis or algebra classes in their freshman or sophomore year.

    It seems like you are missing out on quite a bit of physics classes that most physics majors take. Though, I'm not a physics person.
  6. Nov 6, 2008 #5

    George Jones

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    I'm guessing that Dahaka14 has already taken linear algebra, and that Fundamental Structures of Algebra is a rings, fields, groups course for which linear algebra is usually a prerequisite.
  7. Nov 6, 2008 #6
    Yes, I am in my last calculus class this semester (Calculus 3: Linear Algebra and Diff Eq). George Jones was correct in describing the Algebra class that I proposed. All "I & II" classes are sequential for the class.

    Quantum Physics and its respective lab are kind of a larger examination of quantum aside from Modern Physics. At Minnesota, they give you Physics 3: Waves, Optics, and Relativity, then this quantum class before taking junior/senior physics classes.

    The Quantum Mechanics and E&M classes are 1 semester each. For my senior year I plan on taking, filling in all requirements:

    Geometry I (Advanced two-dimensional Euclidean geometry from a vector viewpoint. Theorems/problems about triangles/circles, isometries, connections with Euclid's axioms. Hyperbolic geometry, how it compares with Euclidean geometry.)
    Quantum Mechanics I (grad level)
    Statistical and Thermal Physics
    Analytical Mechanics

    Geometry II (Projective geometry, including: relation to Euclidean geometry, finite geometries, fundamental theorem of projective geometry. N-dimensional Euclidean geometry from a vector viewpoint. Emphasizes N=3, including: polyhedra, spheres, isometries.)
    Quantum Mechanics II
    (then two classes to fulfill other requirements)

    After this, I am considering staying another year to take more math and physics classes. It's quite possible that with this schedule, I may need to stay longer anyway due to miscellaneous requirements. Any suggestions?
  8. Nov 6, 2008 #7
    At some schools, what is called complex analysis is just a complex variables class. For example, the only pre-req for complex analysis at my school is calc 2.
  9. Nov 11, 2008 #8
    ok, it turns out that complex analysis is not offered in the spring, so i will have a choice of 2 between:
    Applied Fourier Analysis
    Differential Geometry
    Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
    Basic Theory of Probability and Statistics

    now i have talked with my new math adviser, and he pointed me towards these 4, and told me to choose, i am most likely going to choose the ODE class as one, which of the other 4 should i choose to go with it? i figured fourier would be good, but i could just learn that on my own
  10. Nov 11, 2008 #9
    a resounding vote for Differential Geometry. unless you want to be an experimentalist then fourier analysis. all the modern theories are differential geometric in nature.
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