• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

Programs Should I change to Maths or Physics?

  • Thread starter Gjmdp
  • Start date
134
5
I have just finished my 1st year at university studying Computer Science (I wanted to be a Computer Science researcher, now I'm not that sure), but I barely learned any Mathematics (I didn't even learn Calculus nor Linear Algebra in this top 10 UK uni...). This has been so striking to me that I am considering changing to another program such as Mathematics or Physics, but I don't know if I should. Maybe the 1st year at university is intended to be easy (too easy), and it will get more mathematical with course units such as Machine Learning. But it does make me sad that if I continue in Computer Science I won't learn more Mathematics such as Real Analysis nor will I be exposed to abstract ideas. I have been thinking about it for months and haven't still made up my mind. What should I do?
 

StatGuy2000

Education Advisor
1,640
717
To the OP:

Before you applied to the Computer Science program at your particular university in the UK, were you not provided with (or looked into) any information on the requirements of the degree? As far as I'm aware of, British universities have web sites that provide a detailed description of the academic programs available.

Also, do you not have any academic advisors with whom you can discuss your concerns about lack of exposure to advanced mathematics? Perhaps there is an option that will allow you to pursue a joint Mathematics and Computer Science degree (as I know some British universities offer this).
 
1,001
299
As a side note, I looked up your course info and sure enough... there is no calculus or linear algebra or anything listed. I'm not familiar with the UK version of things but that is so strange!
 
134
5
To the OP:

Before you applied to the Computer Science program at your particular university in the UK, were you not provided with (or looked into) any information on the requirements of the degree? As far as I'm aware of, British universities have web sites that provide a detailed description of the academic programs available.

Also, do you not have any academic advisors with whom you can discuss your concerns about lack of exposure to advanced mathematics? Perhaps there is an option that will allow you to pursue a joint Mathematics and Computer Science degree (as I know some British universities offer this).
The description of the program includes a subject called "Mathematics for Computer Science", which covers only basic stuff. Since I want to become a researcher in Computer Science, should I study Mathematics on my own or transfer to the joint Computer Science and Mathematics degree (which is 50% ,Maths 50% CS) finishing one year later?
 

symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,659
939
The description of the program includes a subject called "Mathematics for Computer Science", which covers only basic stuff. Since I want to become a researcher in Computer Science, should I study Mathematics on my own or transfer to the joint Computer Science and Mathematics degree (which is 50% ,Maths 50% CS) finishing one year later?
Computer Science depends so much on Mathematics, that you must learn some specifiable minimum Mathematics courses. Your computer science program undoubtedly must specify them. Your department would have one or more advisors who will be able to counsel you on what courses you NEED as the minima. The program objectives should have NO RESTRICTIVE courses of Mathematics to limit how much you can enroll in if you can handle all that you enroll in to study.
 

StatGuy2000

Education Advisor
1,640
717
The description of the program includes a subject called "Mathematics for Computer Science", which covers only basic stuff. Since I want to become a researcher in Computer Science, should I study Mathematics on my own or transfer to the joint Computer Science and Mathematics degree (which is 50% ,Maths 50% CS) finishing one year later?
@Gjmdp, these are precisely the questions that you should be asking an academic advisor.

I had asked you earlier in this thread whether you had academic advisors that you can speak to, and you never responded with an answer. Is there no one within the Computer Science Department in your university that you can ask about these questions?
 
Last edited:

StatGuy2000

Education Advisor
1,640
717
As a side note, I looked up your course info and sure enough... there is no calculus or linear algebra or anything listed. I'm not familiar with the UK version of things but that is so strange!
It's not strange at all. In the UK, university degree programs only last 3 years, and are more concentrated in their course selection than American and Canadian counterparts (so for example, there are far fewer elective courses available as options).

Also, it's worth keeping in mind that before British students can qualify to enter university, they are required to complete their A-levels, which are a set of classes that British students are required to take in their final years of secondary school (typically during their final 1 or 3 years of secondary school education). Students typically select their A-level courses depending on what program they will apply to in university, as specific courses will allow them to enter specific programs in university. So there is no general first year like in the US.


 
134
5
Thank you for all your insightful responses.
Areas of Computer Science such as Theoretical Computer Science and Quantum Computing require a lot of maths that honestly are not covered in the CS degree. Since I know I want to research in Computer Science I'd want to know if it's fine that I study Mathematics on my own (real analysis, etc), or I will be considered to have a lack of mathematical backgrounds because I didn't study maths at university, and thus I should study a maths degree too later in life.
 

StatGuy2000

Education Advisor
1,640
717
Thank you for all your insightful responses.
Areas of Computer Science such as Theoretical Computer Science and Quantum Computing require a lot of maths that honestly are not covered in the CS degree. Since I know I want to research in Computer Science I'd want to know if it's fine that I study Mathematics on my own (real analysis, etc), or I will be considered to have a lack of mathematical backgrounds because I didn't study maths at university, and thus I should study a maths degree too later in life.
Again, I don't understand why you do not speak to advisors in the Computer Science department about your concerns (I'm assuming you have not, otherwise you would not be here on PF asking these questions). Is this a cultural thing? Are British students such as yourself more reluctant to speak with academic advisors or their professors than people in Canada or the US?

At any rate, without knowing more about the specific requirements of your program, I would suggest you take as many advanced mathematics classes as possible, especially if you are interested in research areas such as theoretical computer science, AI, or numeric analysis.

You did state earlier that your university offers a joint Computer Science and Mathematics Honours. It sounds to me that such a program would be ideal for you, so if you are able to transfer, I would suggest that you do so (perhaps after speaking to those responsible for undergraduate studies in both the Computer Science and Mathematics departments).
 
134
5
Again, I don't understand why you do not speak to advisors in the Computer Science department about your concerns (I'm assuming you have not, otherwise you would not be here on PF asking these questions). Is this a cultural thing? Are British students such as yourself more reluctant to speak with academic advisors or their professors than people in Canada or the US?

At any rate, without knowing more about the specific requirements of your program, I would suggest you take as many advanced mathematics classes as possible, especially if you are interested in research areas such as theoretical computer science, AI, or numeric analysis.

You did state earlier that your university offers a joint Computer Science and Mathematics Honours. It sounds to me that such a program would be ideal for you, so if you are able to transfer, I would suggest that you do so (perhaps after speaking to those responsible for undergraduate studies in both the Computer Science and Mathematics departments).
The course begins in 3 weeks, and I have that much time to decide whether to change or not. I can't speak with an advisor until the course starts, and when it begins, it will be too late to change. Transferring to the joint program will mean that I finish my degree one year later. I want to know if it is ok if i study Mathematics on my own. Will I always be assumed to know nothing about Maths just because I didn't study it at university, or will people accept that I learned it on my own. If I do research in, say, Complexity Theory, will my lack of mathematics be a problem and people will look down to me or is it enough with my CS background?
 

StatGuy2000

Education Advisor
1,640
717
The course begins in 3 weeks, and I have that much time to decide whether to change or not. I can't speak with an advisor until the course starts, and when it begins, it will be too late to change. Transferring to the joint program will mean that I finish my degree one year later. I want to know if it is ok if i study Mathematics on my own. Will I always be assumed to know nothing about Maths just because I didn't study it at university, or will people accept that I learned it on my own. If I do research in, say, Complexity Theory, will my lack of mathematics be a problem and people will look down to me or is it enough with my CS background?
First of all, why can't you speak to an advisor before the course begins?

I don't know how the British university system works, but where I am from (in Canada), faculty members in universities and department staff are available year around, and they have no problems responding to questions by current or prospective students well before actual classes begin. Are you telling me that no one can answer your questions before the course begins?

At any rate, from what I can tell from your posts, you are interested in Mathematics as well as CS, so your best bet would be to transfer to the joint program, to save yourself any doubts or regrets afterwards. But I still think it's better to speak to someone at your university now.
 
35
6
The reality is that a big part of university is as a credentialing process for future employers or further education. While you can certainly study math on your own the reality is that it won't be listed on your official transcript or in your degree title. If grad school is your goal, you will need to have been enrolled in actual university math courses. It is unlikely that any graduate program would accept you on the basis of self-studied math courses.

As a side note, 3 weeks before you start your course is really not the ideal time to be asking these questions. These are all things you should have investigated before you applied to university programs. As it stands now if CS research is your goal it does not appear that the program you are currently enrolled in is rigorous enough to meet your goals. While it may take an extra year to complete the combined CS/Math degree it would appear that it would much better meet your needs.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Should I change to Maths or Physics?" You must log in or register to reply here.

Related Threads for: Should I change to Maths or Physics?

Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
11
Views
3K
Replies
10
Views
3K
Replies
6
Views
2K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top