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Should I study Physics and Computer Science as a double major?

  1. Sep 8, 2014 #1
    I'm starting university really soon and my course is BSc Honours Physics and Computer Science (http://www.qub.ie/home/StudyatQueens/CourseFinder/UCF2014-15/Physics/GF43/ [Broken]).
    I'm able to switch to a single major in either of these subjects and I've been thinking it would be better for me to do that instead of doing the two and not missing half the modules in each subject.

    But I cannot decide which of these to do :( I'm fascinated by Physics and that is the core reason of why I want to study it. I'm excited to study Computer Science and I know it pays really well (I've read some of the highest paying jobs are in Comp. Sci).

    The MS for either of these subjects alone is a four year extended degree, just an extra year after the BSc. But I'm not sure if I'd be allowed to study for one in either subject because I may not have covered enough material in that subject in the previous three years. I really hope I'm making sense, I know this is an American site, but I'm from Ireland so things may be a bit different..

    I've come here to get some advice on which subject I should take, because I'm torn between them. Or would you advise I just stick with the double major?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2014 #2
    I majored in Physics and Engineering, but took a handful of programming classes. Coming into the workforce, I knew Verilog, Java, Assembly, C++, javascript, and HTML, and it was enough to allow me to do some work on basically any project at my workplace as a computer programmer, with the occasional need to learn something new. I like the pay and the ability to work when I want, where I want, as a Programmer, but I have been doing work lately that requires very little Math and no Physics, and it's been a bit of a let down. I am seriously looking at getting a PhD in Physics and doing a career shift. I will probably still program if I get the PhD, but the kind of projects I'd work on should be more interesting.

    It's hard to know what will interest you more, but this is my experience. Good luck with the decision!
  4. Jan 23, 2015 #3
    I would say, Yes, absolutely! Although I am influenced by one of my physics professors who believes everyone should double major in CS. A lot of physics research requires good coding skills, whether it is for data analysis or for computational work like simulations. Thus, CS is a very useful skill that is applied in physics. However, pursuing both Physics and CS at the same time will be rather difficult, so if you do this, you would have to pace yourself to prevent burnout.
  5. Jan 23, 2015 #4


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    Computer Science involves more than coding. In fact, actual coding is probably only a small part of a CS degree.


    As a physicist, it would probably be more beneficial if you concentrated on studying numerical analysis and took classes where you were expected to write actual code to solve problems.
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