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Should I take more Linear Algebra?

  1. Sep 18, 2008 #1
    It looks like a lot of grad schools specify a course in linear algebra. Would a course on Linear Algebra and Differential Equations be sufficient (basically Calc iv, taken after the introductory calc sequence)? Or, would an upper-level course devoted just to linear algebra be desired on top of calc iv?

    (It seems like it would involve too much "pure" math for physical science, but that's just my impression...)
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2008 #2
    My schools (UMass/GCC) offer both a combination Diff-Eq/Linear class as well as individual entry level Diff-Eq and Linear classes (along with higher level classes).

    I took a 4-credit Linear Algebra class (I'm taking Diff-Eq this spring) and we couldn't cover everything in the text. I'm working on reading the rest on my own due to the usefulness of the material. We used David Lay's text.


    EDIT: I did find the course to be fairly different from my Calculus courses. We spent a good amount of time learning vocabulary and doing proofs. Proper wording is incredibly important, as many things that sound similar are drastically different. We covered chapters 1-6, but didn't get into 7 or 8.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2008
  4. Sep 18, 2008 #3
    If you take linear algebra with differential equations you will most likely only see linear algebra and how it used to solve certain differential equations. However, linear algebra has many more applications and useful theorems than simply to differential equations. If I had the choice, I would pick separate courses for both.
  5. Sep 18, 2008 #4
    Im at community college and it has its own 4 unit class devoted to it which I am taking right now. Very interesting class but has been very difficult for me compared to calculus.
    Like Nick was saying theres a lot of vocab and I also think its alot more abstract.
  6. Sep 18, 2008 #5


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    What kind of grad school (as in which major) do you intend to continue on to?
  7. Sep 18, 2008 #6
    I find linear algebra very important no matter what scientific discipline you go into. My school required me to take a 200 level lin-alg class along with a separate diff-Q course. Although my lin-alg class did a very crappy job of teach since it only taught in the abstract mathematical sense which nothing applicable to the real world. Honestly, if your lin-alg classes are anything like mine your better off learning it on your own.
  8. Sep 18, 2008 #7
    no, i think for going to mathematics grad school such a course like your "abstract mathematical" LA using maybe axler, halmos, or roman, is much much better than engineering one

    if math grad school, then read axler, halmos, roman, mathwonk notes, etc., for the pure

    abut yes he can also learn this on his own :D

    also if maybe physical sciences, physics, etc., then you can learn a very upper algebra like representation theory, etc., for physics, quantum mechanics maybe

    maybe also he will bored if engineering one

    so doing is not bad idea

    also maybe you can spend some time to learn MATLAB when are older, but when are older you miss the opportunity to study the pure mathematics so you can have very stsrong conceptual idea of it which is not bad idea
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2008
  9. Sep 18, 2008 #8

    Dr Transport

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    If you are studying physics, a full semesters course would be extremely helpful and necessary. I cannot think of a course in QM that would not use many of the concepts taught.
  10. Sep 19, 2008 #9
    Yes, it's fun.
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