Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses Should I take more theoretical courses or applied courses?

  1. Apr 29, 2012 #1
    Hi. I am a math major that got started late. I started taking prerequisites during my sophomore year (which I'm finishing this year). I'll be taking some courses in algebra and analysis next year. There are some courses that can fulfill my major requirements, but some are theoretical and some are more focused on applications in other fields.

    I think I'll be doing a master's in statistics, but probably not a PhD.
    Should I take more courses that are theoretical and can prepare me better for my master's degree or take courses that are more applied and would be more applicable to the workplace?

    I've done some searches and it seems like it'd be better to take more theoretical courses, as the usage of concepts can be learned more easily than taking the applied concepts and trying to figure out the concepts behind it. The courses that are more 'applied' will probably have its own share of concepts and 'pure' math, but taking more theoretical courses might be more beneficial in the long run.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2012 #2
    Since you'll be doing statistics, I think applied courses might help you more. For example, it's no use taking a theoretical course like differential geometry as you will not need it.

    Can you give me a list of possible courses perhaps to see your possibilities??
  4. Apr 29, 2012 #3
    Two courses in Algebra (Linear algebra, intro to algebra, computational algebra, number theory, matrix group, applicable algebra)

    Two courses in analysis (analysis, manifolds and differential forms, intro to diff eq, applied complex analysis, Waves and fourier series, Intro to partial diff eq, Numerical analysis and diff eq, Diff eq and dyanmical systems)

    There's two courses outside the math dept and will probably be fall under the 'applied math' category. I'll probably be taking applied regression models, engineering stochastic processes, and statistical data mining.

    I need to select another course in the math dept in addition to the four courses mentioned above.
    Would combinatorics be useful? I don't think number theory and topology won't be useful if I don't plan on a lot of academia or a pure math master's degree.
  5. Apr 29, 2012 #4
    I don't think combinatorics would be very useful if you plan on doing statistics.
    Don't you have some measure theory courses??
  6. Apr 29, 2012 #5
    Searching the course catalog doesn't really show any courses that focus on measure theory. Honors analysis syllabus shows that it covers Lebesgue measure and integration.

    I'm just starting out, so I don't know too much about the courses. What kind of courses would focus on measure theory?
  7. Apr 29, 2012 #6
    Yeah, take the honors analysis course then. Measures are really important for probability and statistics. (not in applications though).

    It might also be covered in a rigorous probability course.
  8. Apr 29, 2012 #7
    Honors analysis is known to be one of the hardest math courses....people that I've talked to advised me not to take it unless I'm really up for it. I'll be taking a 400 level stats course next semester..maybe it'll come up there.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook