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Should I take Graduate level QM as an undergrad?

  1. Aug 31, 2011 #1
    I have been wondering if I should take Graduate level QM as an undergraduate. I'm currently signed up for a two quarter QM series, I have already taken a one quarter introduction to QM. I am a bit apprehensive as I am unsure if they assume vast QM knowledge (which I would sort of expect seeing as it is a Graduate level). One plus side is that I know a few others that are taking this course as well which would enable me to form a study group, which would obviously aid in learning more.

    I would like to take a full year of Graduate level quantum mechanics because so far I really enjoy the material, at least what I have taken in the introduction course, and taking this series would allow me to pursue QFT my senior year. I ultimately want to go to graduate school for Astrophysics, where I doubt I would be introduced to QFT.
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  3. Aug 31, 2011 #2
    I say do it if you think you can devote enough time to material that is at a higher level than you require, it's interesting. I gotta say though, it can be tricky at times. don't do it if you think you'll end up needing to spend excessive time on it and have to neglect other work that needs doing.
  4. Aug 31, 2011 #3


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    I'd be wary of graduate QM. Relativistic QM, for example, and QFT if it is covered in those courses, require a fairly good understanding of e/m and possibly group theory beyond something like Griffiths.
  5. Aug 31, 2011 #4


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    Graduate QM assumes you've already taken two undergraduate QM classes. It's not going over the same material. I'm not sure what your introduction to QM class was (could have been anything from actual QM to chemistry) but it probably wasn't enough. However, the only way to be sure it ask the professor teaching the class.
  6. Aug 31, 2011 #5
    The introduction to QM was based on https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Mech...7161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314837293&sr=8-1

    We covered essentially the entire book emitting one or two chapters. It covered bound/unbound cases, the Hydrogen atom, the 3-D time-independent Schrodinger Equation, time dependent/independent perturbation theory, variational principle, and multi-particle systems etc.

    The two quarter sequence that I would be taking (non-graduate level) would be based on Griffiths. I however find it odd that one only needs one quarter of this two quarter sequence to receive a BS in Physics. I would assume that many would go to graduate school where they would be faced with taking graduate level quantum mechanics, and I've heard that the first quarter is a lot of review of what was taught in this introductory course.

    Also I have thought about the time commitment. What I have heard from this forum and others is that graduate courses are much more time intensive. I would be taking a medium sized load, one of which will be E&M which honestly may be an issue, because what it sounds like graduate level quantum mechanics seems to presume that one has already taken at least a full year of this correct?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  7. Aug 31, 2011 #6
    I'd suggest taking the class. You seem reasonably prepared besides the E&M.
  8. Sep 1, 2011 #7

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    It's also typically taught assuming that the students do not need to be taught things that are typically taught as undergrads. "We separate the variables and then switch to parabolic coordinates" is something you'd be expected to immediately understand.
  9. Sep 1, 2011 #8


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    Would it be okay to take graduate quantum your senior year if you had previously taken both a two semester E&M and two semester undergrad Quantum course (using the Griffiths book for each)? My advisor said that you really need to have a solid of understanding of Quantum to later go into Quantum field theory and other theoretical fields of research so I thought taking two consecutive years of quantum might make sense, especially if there are no prerequisites in between. I will have also taken a full year of topology, abstract algebra, and analysis since I want to double major in math.
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