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Questions about upcoming classes.

  1. Dec 13, 2013 #1
    Hello all!

    I would like to transfer from a community college to a university with an A.A. in physics.

    With this term ending, I am looking at the rest of the classes I need for my A.A. The science and math related courses I took this term was Calculus 1 and Introduction to Chemistry. Next semester I will be taking Calculus 2 and College Chemistry 1, along with a Flora/Fauna class and Introduction to Philosophy.

    I have a few questions about classes beyond that. Differential Equations is "suggested" for transferring to a university with a physics major. Is it advisable to take it before I transfer or does it not matter? Also, should I take Linear Algebra before Differential Equations? The community college I attend does not list Linear Algebra as a pre-requisite or a co-requisite.

    I still need to take Physics 1, 2 with Calculus, Chemistry 2, Calculus 3, and possibly Differential Equations after next semester. Is it okay to take Differential Equations at the same time as Calculus 3? And would I be crazy for taking Chemistry 2, Calculus 3, Differential Equations, and Physics 2 all at the same time?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2013 #2

    Student100

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    Most colleges will let you take LA after calculus 2. You should shoot to finish the calc series and LA/DE while at CC. You have much greater access to professors at CC for assistance.

    You would do better to take LA with calc 3 and wait until after you're done with that do DE. That course load doesn't seem too bad, Why did you decide not to do Physics one with Calc2?
     
  4. Dec 13, 2013 #3

    esuna

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    Are you a freshman right now? It IS VERY advisable to get Differential Equations before transferring.

    I'm at a community college also, and I took Calculus 3, Differential Equations, and Physics 2 at the same time last Spring. In fact here it is traditional for engineering and physics majors to do so.

    You do not need Linear Algebra to take Differential Equations. I didn't take it until the summer after Diff EQ. Although it is arguably easier than Diff EQ, so whether or not you want to take it before is up to you. If you're transferring from a community college into a 4-year university for either Math, Physics, or Engineering, you generally want to have the entire calc sequence, Diff EQ, and Linear Algebra under your belt before you transfer. My CC is a little lax about getting Linear Algebra because it hardly ever makes.
     
  5. Dec 13, 2013 #4
    I took LA before ODE and found that LA really only helped in ODE when we started calculating the Wronskian. LA wasn't a pre or co-requisite, I just took it because I was interested in what it was about, and needed an upper level elective. It helps to take it if you have the time, because I think it'll help you for Quantum.
    I'd recommend taking ODE as soon as possible, since a few classes you'll take will require it as a pre or co-requisite, such as classical and quantum mechanics. I waited to take ODE and because of that I had to wait a year before taking quantum.
    In ODE you'll deal with partial derivatives, which you should learn in calc 3, but at my school calc 3 wasn't a pre-requisite for ODE, but the teacher said she's going to try to change that. When I was taking physics 2, there were a couple of people in my class taking calc 3 and ODE at the same time, and they did ok.

    Taking chem 2, calc 3, ODE, and physics 2 all in the same semester would be pretty daunting. I wouldn't advise doing that. I took chem 2 as a summer class, and although the semester was shorter, it was my only class and I had to devote a ton of time to it. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't take all of those classes at the same time.
    Why is calculus a prereq at all for LA? I don't remember encountering anything calculus related in that course.
     
  6. Dec 13, 2013 #5

    Student100

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    I'm assuming it is LJ because they want you to have a more soild background in mathematics than just precalculus. Really, that's all you need.

    I suggested LA with Calc 3 not because it's required for DE, but because:
    1. it’s easier than DE.
    2. DE has some content from Calc 3.
    3. it's applicable to QM, which should be the last physics course of the lower division series.
     
  7. Jan 2, 2014 #6
    Thanks for the advice, everyone! I apologize for the delayed response; I was busy with finals then my brain just kind of shut off for a few days.

    I asked a friend of mine and he said of the 3-4 people that did take Differential Equations, he hadn't heard of those people taking Linear Alegbra before Differential Equations at my community college. I will also ask around when I return to school. I looked at the university I want to transfer to and they list a 300 level course as the linear algebra class that physics majors may prefer to take. It also doesn't seem that Linear Algebra is commonly offered at my community college.

    I did not want to over-commit by taking Calculus 2, College Chemistry 1, Physics 1 with Calculus, and then likely another course. My community college also lists Calculus 2 as a pre-requisite so I figured it would be easier to take Physics 1 over the summer term.

    So after next semester, I am looking at having to do Calculus 3, Chem 2, Physics 1 & 2, and Differential Equations. I want to take classes during the summer term and fall term, and transfer to the university in the spring term. In order to accomplish this I would need to take Physics 1 during the summer term and then divvy up the rest of the classes based on what is manageable.

    The issue I am facing is scholarship funding in relation to having to maintain full time student status. This equates to 12 credit hours per major semester, or I believe 24 credit hours per year.** Obviously I will speak to the adviser to get the exact requirements, but I was hoping to do 7 credit hours over the summer and 12 during the fall. This would mean taking:

    Summer:
    Physics 1 with Calculus
    Differential Equations

    Fall:
    Physics 2 with Calculus
    Calculus 3
    College Chemistry 2

    Is this advisable? Would I be at a disadvantage for taking DE before Calc 3? Would I be at a significant disadvantage?

    **Because my funding would start for the Fall term, I would need to fill the deficit in the following Spring and/or Summer term.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  8. Jan 2, 2014 #7

    esuna

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    You shouldn't be at a disadvantage at all. I don't remember there being much of anything in Calc 3 applicable to DE except the rudimentary linear algebra Calc 3 covers is useful to know for when you get to Wronskians or whatever in DE, but my DE teacher gave us a crash course on Matrix operations when we got there, even though we covered basic matrix operations in physics 1 and Cal 3.

    You should be fine.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2014 #8

    Student100

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    Is your summer 8 weeks instead of 16? If so have fun I guess.

    Makes no sense to me why you'd want to do DE before C3 or LA, it also confuses me why no ones doing LA at your school. Do what you have to do though, you know better than us.
     
  10. Jan 2, 2014 #9

    esuna

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    No one's doing LA at his school because it's a community college and most students rarely get that far at a community college. The ones that could get that far are not majoring in math or physics usually, or go ahead and transfer after Calc 3. I had the same problem at my CC. There were only 3 of us signed up for it and we had to beg admin to let it make. It was the first time it had met in 10 years.
     
  11. Jan 2, 2014 #10

    Student100

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    I did LA at a CC; I don't understand how they can offer a complete intro to physics series without covering LA, but whatever. It's normally a prerequisite to have C2 done (although that makes no sense as well), so it's not more advanced or further along, it's another topic in algebra just like calculus.

    Doing your first course in physics and DE (before you've done C3) in an 8 week summer session is not the smartest thing in the world either.

    And do you really want to be doing vector calculus without an intro to LA course? I would disagree.

    Good luck.
     
  12. Jan 2, 2014 #11
    Why would you need linear algebra to do a calc III vector calculus course? Intro to vector calculus is basically grad, div, curl, and the div and curl theorems. Im used to seeing linear algebra as an upper division class and thus not at the community college. I have seen it offered at the community college occasionally as a lower division class that doesn't transfer or one that does under strict conditions (like to the local university only, through a special arrangement). Calc III or intro to vector calculus is usually a lower division class and is offered at the community college. Many students take linear algebra after calc III/intro to vector calculus.
     
  13. Jan 2, 2014 #12

    Student100

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    Because it make's the course easier? Jacobians? Vector spaces? Just as Calc three makes DE easier.

    That's funny, because my anecdotal experience is the opposite. It definitely transferred to UCSD, and many of the UC transfers from the California community college system won't accept you without LA, should your major be Science/Mathematics/Engineering.

    Do they? I don't know. I didn't. I don't understand why if that's the case. It seems assbackwards to me.
     
  14. Jan 2, 2014 #13

    esuna

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    Can't speak for TS but all the LA we needed for Calc III and DE our instructor covered in physics. The way students usually do it here:

    Fall: physics I, Calc II + generals
    Spring: physics II, Calc III, DE + generals
    and if you're math or physics (engineers aren't required by my cc or any nearby universities) and also really lucky:
    Summer: intro Linear Algebra
     
  15. Jan 2, 2014 #14

    WannabeNewton

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    In a perfect world where students learned math properly in order to get the deepest insight and the most rigorous understanding, linear algebra would be unequivocally taught before calc III but in many universities in the US it simply doesn't work that way. In more ways than one the material that's taught in a typical calc III class is so computational and mundane that you don't need anything more than a knowledge of determinants in order to get through the course material.

    So no, linear algebra isn't required for calc III as taught usually in US universities even though a truly deep understanding of the underlying foundations of the calc III course material does require a thorough knowledge of linear algebra. Various universities in the US will have honors calc III courses or equivalent courses for students who want to go this route.
     
  16. Jan 9, 2014 #15
    Thanks for all the insight, everyone.

    It depends on the class for how long it runs, but yes, classes like these would be 16 weeks during the summer.

    It's for the credit situation. Every class but D.E. is four credits while D.E. is three credits. If I take D.E. in the Fall term, I would be at 11 credits instead of 12 credits. 12 credits is full time in the Fall and Spring while 6 credits is full time for the Summer, but my scholarship funding isn't available during the summer term so it doesn't matter anyways. To be full time, I'd have to take another class, which I really don't want to do. But I also may be under the 24 a year rule, in which case it doesn't matter as long as I transfer in the Spring and I am able to take 12 credits during the Spring.
     
  17. Jan 9, 2014 #16

    Student100

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    Make sure you check that they're 16 weeks like you think for your summer session. I've never heard of that, all the summer semester classes I did were 8, but I suppose that would be easier on you.
     
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