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Rigor of this Astrophysics Program

  1. Jan 17, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone, I've been doing a little thinking lately about the University I'll very probably be attending to major in astrophysics. I read a review from someone, and I know not all reviews are to be trusted, I wasn't even sure if this person majored in physics, but the review said that the physics program didn't prepare its students very well. This review was three years ago, but, I'm just curious from the standpoint of those who have gotten through college and taken physics courses or majored in physics, is the program posted below fairly rigorous? At a glance, do you think it provides a good foundation to a graduate degree based on the classes it provides?

    Major: Physics
    Concentration: Astrophysics
    Degree: Bachelor of Science
    Prerequisites (30 credits)
    CHEMISTRY 1 REQUIREMENT
    • CHM 2045 General Chemistry I
    • CHM 2045L General Chemistry I Lab
      Acceptable substitutes: (CHMX040 and CHMX041) or CHMX045C
    CHEMISTRY 2 REQUIREMENT
    • CHM 2046 General Chemistry II
    • CHM 2046L General Chemistry II Lab
      Acceptable substitutes: CHMX046C
    MAC2311 (GM) Calculus I (4 Credits)
    Acceptable substitutes: MACX281
    Prereq: MAC 1147
    MAC2312 (GM) Calculus II (4 Credits)
    Acceptable substitutes: MACX282
    Prereq: MAC 2311
    MAC2313 (GM) Calculus III (4 Credits)
    Acceptable substitutes: MACX283
    Prereq: MAC 2312
    PHYSICS REQUIREMENT:
    • PHY 2048 Calculus Physics I
    • PHY 2048L Calculus Physics I Lab
    • PHY 2049 Calculus Physics II
    • PHY 2049L Calculus Physics II Lab
    Major Requirements (39 credits)
    Courses must be taken in prerequisite order. Electronic approval for courses requiring prerequisites must be obtained each registration. Grades of C or above must be earned in all physics requirements.
    PHY1024 Intro Phys for New Majors (1 Credit)
    AST3217 Astrophysics I (4 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY2049; Coreq: PHY3101
    AST3402 Astrophysics II (4 Credits)
    Prereq: AST3217
    PHY3101 Modern Physics (3 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY 2049; Coreq: MAC 2313
    PHY3101L Modern Physics Lab (1 Credit)
    Coreq: PHY 3101
    PHZ3113 Mathematical Physics (3 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY 2049 & MAC 2313; Coreq: MAP 2302
    PHY3220 Classical Mechanics (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 2049 & MAC 2313
    Coreq: MAP 2302
    PHY3424C Optics with Laboratory (4 Credits)
    • Prereq: PHY 2049 and MAC 2313
    PHY3320 Electricity and Magnetism (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 2049 & MAC 2313
    PHY4604 Quantum Mechanics (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 3101, MAC 2313 & MAP 2302
    PHY4523 Thermodyn and Statistical Mech (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 3101, MAC 2313 & MAP 2302
    PHY4802L Advanced Physics Laboratory (2 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY 3101L
    PHY4910 Physics Research and Seminar (1 Credit)
    Prereq: PHY 3101
    Major Electives (3 credits)
    SELECT ONE FROM THE FOLLOWING:
    • PHY 3722C Electronics for Scientists
    • PHZ 3404 Solid State Physics
    • PHZ 4160 Adv Topics Physics
    • PHZ 4303 Nuclear Physics
    Contextual Courses (12 credits)
    AST2002 Basic Astronomy (3 Credits)
    COP2220 Computer Science I (3 Credits)
    ESC2000 Earth Science (3 Credits)
    MAP2302 (GM) Ordinary Differ Equations (3 Credits)
    Prereq: MAC 2312
    Free Electives (6 credits)
    SELECT 6 HRS (3000/4000 LEVEL)
    This degree requires a minimum of 120 total hours with 48 upper (3000/4000) level hours. Free electives may be courses in any discipline (provided the required prerequisites are met) and they are the hours needed to satisfy the total hour requirement. These hours may vary (consult your advisor about free elective hours needed to graduate).

    I was thinking of taking a few extra math classes for a minor when I get there, but that all depends on how I feel when I finish the required math and take actual physics courses.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2016 #2

    Student100

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    What university is this?

    It appears to offer/require the typically physics major classes. All the major ones appear as though they're offered and there. It would be helpful to know what university this was. Can you use your free electives to take graduate courses?
     
  4. Jan 23, 2016 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    University of North Florida.
     
  5. Jan 23, 2016 #4
    It is indeed the University of North Florida, sorry I didn't mention that. As for being able to take graduate level classes, they don't offer any Physics graduate level classes, they only have the undergraduate degrees. I was planning on applying to the University of Central Florida or the Florida Institute of Technology after I got my undergrad for either a Physics, Space Sciences or Planetary Science Masters and PhD.

    http://www.unf.edu/catalog/

    You can check the catalog which shows degree programs, and you can go to Undergraduate and Graduate Course Descriptions to see what all is offered, when it's offered, and a synopsis of the class.
     
  6. Jan 23, 2016 #5

    Student100

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    Why not apply to several universities in Florida for your undergraduate? UoF, FSU, FIT?
     
  7. Jan 23, 2016 #6
    The problem with that is the fact that UNF is by far the closest school, and I'm practically guaranteed admission because there's a gateway program at the community college I'm attending. I sent an email to someone at the University of Florida and I may apply there, but it makes the best sense to go to UNF, I also took a tour of UNF and it's a really awesome campus and looks like a great school to go to. FIT, FSU and UCF are too far away to go to, and I really would like to save some money by not living on dorm for the first year or so, I may try to live on dorm at UNF at some point, but when it's financially viable. There are a few other factors that get in the way, but if I were to go to another school besides UNF, UF is the closest alternative, and as I said, I'm practically guaranteed admission to UNF and I really like the looks of that University.
     
  8. Jan 23, 2016 #7

    Student100

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    Okay. I would recommend going ahead and applying to UF and UNF then. Make sure you look at transfer scholarships and submit those applications as well. It's possible you could get some money to offset room/tuition costs if you go to UF.
     
  9. Jan 23, 2016 #8
    Also, the program at UF doesn't look as rigorous than the one at UNF, and only UNF offers a degree in Astrophysics as opposed to just Physics. Of course, as I said I was just looking for some other opinions of the program at a glance.
     
  10. Jan 23, 2016 #9

    Student100

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    Huh? UF probably has one of the better physics departments in Florida. If anything it will be more rigorous, and with more opportunities, than UNF. Here is the research going on for astrophysics at UF: http://www.phys.ufl.edu/research/astrophysics.shtml

    UNF doesn't offer an astrophysics degree, they offer a physics specialization. The major is still physics, and specializations during undergraduate aren't very important.
     
  11. Jan 23, 2016 #10

    micromass

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    Do you want to go to grad school? If you do, then a degree in astrophysics will be looked at negatively as opposed to a degree in physics.
     
  12. Jan 23, 2016 #11
    You want to major in physics and take as many astro courses as you can on the side. With this in mind, the UNF schedule looks pretty weak. There are only two astrophysics courses, and only one semester each of E&M and quantum. That's just not enough. Besides, you can't know the rigor just by looking at the courses, it all depends on the expectations of the professors. UF has a big physics department that will allow/force you to push yourself much harder. This is what you want to do if you want to go to grad school. They also have a separate astronomy department that will have a solid variety of astrophysics courses available to take.
     
  13. Jan 23, 2016 #12
    I don't know if I'll be able to go to UF due to financial constraints and the possibility of distance. I'll try to apply anyway and see what happens, but as to the Physics VS Astrophysics, ironically the Astrophysics concentration has a bit more rigor than the base Physics degree, cause it includes the Astrophysics classes and some extra contextual classes.
     
  14. Jan 23, 2016 #13

    micromass

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    What classes will you be missing if you go for astrophysics instead of physics? What classes will you be missing if you go for physics and not astrophysics?
     
  15. Jan 23, 2016 #14

    Student100

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    At the cost of free electives, you could use those for their research, honors thesis, whatever else seems interesting to you. You could fashion the same specialization degree from their plain old physics degree.

    If you want to do astrophysics, by all means go ahead. If you can't go to UF, then don't. I'm just letting you know your opportunities there will likely be superior to UNF. UNF covers the bare minimum of what you need for a physics degree, and with some advanced self study by yourself you should be able to get into and do well in a graduate school. Maybe you'll even benefit from and enjoy the smaller department at UNF.
     
  16. Jan 23, 2016 #15
    I've emailed a few professors at UNF and they say there are some great research opportunities at UNF. So does my astronomy professor at my current state college.

    Here is the degree program for Physics at UNF, you can compare it to the Astrophysics program I posted above.

    Prerequisites (30 credits)
    CHEMISTRY 1 REQUIREMENT
    • CHM 2045 General Chemistry I
    • CHM 2045L General Chemistry I Lab
      Acceptable substitutes: (CHMX040 and CHMX041) or CHMX045C
    CHEMISTRY 2 REQUIREMENT
    • CHM 2046 General Chemistry II
    • CHM 2046L General Chemistry II Lab
      Acceptable substitutes: CHMX046C
    MAC2311 (GM) Calculus I (4 Credits)
    Acceptable substitutes: MACX281
    Prereq: MAC 1147
    MAC2312 (GM) Calculus II (4 Credits)
    Acceptable substitutes: MACX282
    Prereq: MAC 2311
    MAC2313 (GM) Calculus III (4 Credits)
    Acceptable substitutes: MACX283
    Prereq: MAC 2312
    PHYSICS REQUIREMENT:
    • PHY 2048 Calculus Physics I
    • PHY 2048L Calculus Physics I Lab
    • PHY 2049 Calculus Physics II
    • PHY 2049L Calculus Physics II Lab
    Major Requirements (35 credits)
    Courses must be taken in prerequisite order. Electronic approval for courses requiring prerequisites must be obtained each registration. Grades of C or above must be earned in all physics requirements.
    PHY1024 Intro Phys for New Majors (1 Credit)
    PHY3101 Modern Physics (3 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY 2049/L; Coreq: MAC 2313
    PHY3101L Modern Physics Lab (1 Credit)
    Coreq: PHY 3101
    PHZ3113 Mathematical Physics (3 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY 2049/L & MAC 2313; Coreq: MAP 2302
    PHY3220 Classical Mechanics (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 2049/L & MAC 2312
    Coreq: MAP 2302
    PHY3320 Electricity and Magnetism (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 2049/L & MAC 2313
    PHY3424C Optics with Laboratory (4 Credits)
    • Prereq: PHY 2049 and MAC 2313
    PHY3722C Electronics for Scientists (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 2049/L & MAC 2313
    PHY4604 Quantum Mechanics (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 3101/L, MAC 2313 & MAP 2302
    PHY4523 Thermodyn and Statistical Mech (4 Credits)
    Prereqs: PHY 3101, MAC 2313 & MAP 2302
    PHY4802L Advanced Physics Laboratory (2 Credits)
    Prereq: PHY 3101L
    PHY4910 Physics Research and Seminar (1 Credit)
    Prereq: PHY 3101
    Major Electives (6 credits)
    SELECT TWO FROM THE FOLLOWING:
    • AST 3217 Astrophysics
    • AST 3402 Astrophysics II
    • PHZ 3404 Solid State Physics
    • PHZ 4160 Adv Topics Physics
    • PHZ 4303 Nuclear Physics
    Contextual Courses (6 credits)
    COP2220 Computer Science I (3 Credits)
    MAP2302 (GM) Ordinary Differ Equations (3 Credits)
    Prereq: MAC 2312
    Free Electives (16 credits)
    SELECT 16 HRS (3000/4000 LEVEL)
    This degree requires a minimum of 120 total hours with 48 upper (3000/4000) level hours. Free electives may be courses in any discipline (provided the required prerequisites are met) and they are the hours needed to satisfy the total hour requirement. These hours may vary (consult your advisor about free elective hours needed to graduate).

    It says 16 credit hours of free electives, but I think because of my AA degree that I'll be obtaining with 61 credits I won't be able to take any extra classes outside of the degree, whereas with the Astrophysics I get exposed to the Earth Science class. I guess that's not much, but if you ask me the two degrees aren't very different. But I'll discuss these things in depth with the academic adviser when I see them for attending UNF.
     
  17. Jan 23, 2016 #16
    That's not really true, because if you went to UF you could double major in physics and astronomy, and still take those "contextual classes" if you wanted to. If you can only go to UNF, then fine, there isn't any point in worrying about what you could do at UF, I just mentioned it because it was brought up earlier. But realize that at UNF, you should try to take all of the physics and astrophysics courses that you can, ideally every course listed in the major electives section, not just two of them. In general you can and should take more than 120 credits, and take more classes than the minimum requirements for your major, you just have to see what the policies are regarding this. At my school, tuition was higher for credits obtained after 145 or something. That still left plenty of room to take extra courses though.
     
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