Starting physics major in sophomore year

In summary, the speaker shares their experience of initially being interested in physics and math, but falling in love with art history during their first year of college. However, as they enter their sophomore year, they realize their passion for physics and consider switching back to it. They express concern about being behind in terms of graduate school applications and wonder if others have successfully switched to physics halfway through college. The speaker also suggests that it is possible to continue studying physics on their own and that graduating in four years is not a requirement.
  • #1
mavisbeacon
1
0
Here's some background to the story: Throughout HS, I always thought physics and math was my forte, and went to several international competitions in both subjects. But as I started college in the US, I fell in love with art history and over freshman year thought that I should major in the subject.

But during the summer, and as I start sophomore year, I am slowly realizing how much I miss physics, and that art history might have easily been an infatuation that is now fading away (something along the lines of I've been doing physics all my life, I want to try something new). It's not that I didn't do well in the art history classes I have been taking, but the more humanities classes I take, the more I realize that this is something I like doing for fun as a hobby, rather than something I'd like to do for the rest of my life.

But if I switch back to physics, I'll barely get the basic major by the time I graduate (intro physics sophomore year, the meat during junior, and capstone stuff senior year). I also doubt that I'll be able to start doing research with a professor until junior year.

I wonder how much this one-year disadvantage will set me back, in terms of applying for graduate school in physics? Do you know of people who decided to switch to physics halfway through college and still made it to grad school?
 
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  • #2
It's interesting how in all of these threads, people ask "is it too late?", etc. You can study on your own, you know. It isn't your universities' or professor's responsibility to make sure you learn.

Yes, it's entirely within the realm of possibility for you to major in physics.
 
  • #3
mavisbeacon said:
I wonder how much this one-year disadvantage will set me back, in terms of applying for graduate school in physics? Do you know of people who decided to switch to physics halfway through college and still made it to grad school?

It's not going to matter much. There are universities in which people don't choose their major until sophomore year.
 
  • #4
You could always take summer classes, or load up an extra class every semester. It'll be more work but it's definitely manageable.
 
  • #5
You could also come to the realization that you're not REQUIRED to graduate in 4 years. Unless, of course, money is a major concern. Then staying another year might not be the best idea.
 

Related to Starting physics major in sophomore year

1. What are the benefits of starting a physics major in sophomore year?

The main benefit of starting a physics major in sophomore year is that you have more time to explore different areas of physics and potentially discover your specific interests within the field. This can help you choose a more specialized track within the major and tailor your coursework accordingly. Additionally, starting early allows for a smoother transition into upper-level physics courses and can potentially save time and money in the long run.

2. Will I be at a disadvantage compared to students who started the physics major in freshman year?

While starting the physics major in freshman year may provide a slight advantage in terms of completing requirements earlier, there is no significant disadvantage to starting in sophomore year. As long as you are able to complete the necessary coursework and meet graduation requirements, the timing of when you start the major should not impact your success in the field.

3. How should I prepare for a physics major starting in sophomore year?

If you are considering starting a physics major in sophomore year, it is important to have a strong foundation in mathematics, particularly calculus. It can also be helpful to take introductory physics courses or read textbooks on your own to familiarize yourself with the subject matter. Additionally, make sure to meet with an academic advisor to plan out your coursework and ensure that you are on track to graduate on time.

4. Can I switch to a physics major in sophomore year if I initially declared a different major?

Yes, it is possible to switch to a physics major in sophomore year, even if you initially declared a different major. However, it is important to keep in mind that you may need to catch up on certain prerequisites or introductory courses in order to graduate on time. Make sure to meet with an academic advisor to create a plan and determine the best course of action.

5. Are there any specific skills or qualities that are important for success in a physics major?

To succeed in a physics major, it is important to have a strong background in mathematics and critical thinking skills. Additionally, a strong work ethic and persistence are necessary, as physics coursework can be challenging and time-consuming. Good problem-solving skills and a passion for the subject are also important qualities for success in the field.

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