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Recommended Physics Curriculum

  1. Jul 5, 2011 #1
    Hello everyone...

    So I've decided to attempt to become a physicist as a career change, something that I've always been fascinated by and am certain will enjoy...

    My particular circumstances are that I cannot begin my college education at a university until the fall of 2012, due to financial reasons, but I am able to start at a community college to knock out some courses until then, starting this fall of 2011...

    With all of that said, I want to ensure that I take the proper course of action in insuring that I'm not taking unnecessary courses, but those that in fact will help me the most upon starting at a university...

    I've done a lot of research on physics course curriculums, but am now more confused than when I started... I thought that to get any bachelor's degree, that you had to have a broad spectrum of general education classes, but from what I've been finding, that doesn't appear to be so, just math, physics, writing and second language... So is this information correct or have I misinterpreted it?

    I guess what I'm asking is that, if you were in my boat, starting out at a community college, planned on going there for 2 semesters, then going to a state university to get your bachelors degree in physics, what courses would you take at that community college?

    Here's the other kicker, I never graduated high school, much less took any advanced math courses, English or second language. I do have my GED and have graduated from 2 different technical colleges with a minimum of a 3.8 GPA in all classes. So I thought about self teaching myself at least Algebra 1 prior to starting in August of 2011, so that I could hopefully start with Algebra 2... Is a thought anyway...

    Any advice and/or input would be greatly appreciated... Thank you in advance...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2011 #2


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    General education classes are required by the college or university (or not required, in some cases) but aren't listed as part of the course requirements for specific majors. The best thing you can do in community college is work your way up to calculus, and maybe take intro (calculus-based) physics while you're there if you have time before transferring. Talk to an academic adviser when you get there to find out typical transfer requirements and what gen ed classes will transfer. In college, all the algebras are in College Algebra, not separately (at least below calculus level algebra).
  4. Jul 6, 2011 #3
    I agree with eri. Also, some community colleges have a conceptual physics course that you can take that requires only algebra that can serve as an introduction to physics.
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