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Senior level Math Class choice

  1. Aug 6, 2014 #1
    Here is my situation, I am a physics major who is also minoring in math. I have already taken Calc1-3 and Diff EQ as well as an intro to linear algebra course. I am scheduled to take a vector analysis course this Fall. The reason for my choice of linear algebra and vector analysis is because they are both pre-requisites for differential geometry which I was told by my advisor as being a good course to take as a physics major.

    I recently had an appointment with the math department to certify my math minor outline for the Post 9/11 GI bill. I was told by my math advisor that differential geometry has not been taught in a very long time and I shouldn't cross my fingers that it will be taught this upcoming spring. I am still going to take vector analysis because I was told it is still a good math class to have under my belt.

    So, after this semester I will have one more math class to fulfill my minor requirement. I was hoping to get the recommendation of the members on this forum as to which upper division math class I should take. My choices are below followed with their catalog description:

    Complex Variables: A first course in complex function theory, with emphasis on applications

    Fourier Series and Boundary Value Problems: Fourier series and methods of solution of the boundary value problems of applied mathematics

    Calculus of Variations and Optimal Control: Euler's equations, conditions for extrema, direct methods, dynamic programming, and the Pontryagin maximal principle

    These three upper division classes are really the only options for me based on pre-requisites. So which of these classes do you think would be a good option for me as a physics major? Thanks for any input in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2014 #2


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    As a Physics major, sooner or later, I think you are going to need to take all three of these courses. I would definitely take the Complex Variables course; the Fourier Series and the Calculus of Variations could be pushed back. IDK if you plan on graduate school, but if you do, these latter two courses are probably going to pop up again at some point.

    What kind of school is this that doesn't have a course in differential geometry, even for math majors/minors?
  4. Aug 6, 2014 #3
    I go to NMSU and Differential Geometry is still officially in the course catalog. Apparently they just haven't taught it for 3 years, for what reason though, I do not know. Our math requirement for physics is only the three semester calculus sequence, diff eq, and a mathematical physics class which is taught through the physics department. I currently have something lined up in the way of an internship which looks promising for lateral transfer over to full time employment. But I am still entertaining the thoughts of grad school, it just might be a little later then sooner.
  5. Aug 6, 2014 #4
    My school doesn't require differential geometry either for a degree in physics. It is pretty much the same requirements as ziggy's. Unlike ziggy's we are required to take Linear Algebra, and mathematical physics is taught within the junior and senior level physics courses.
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