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Courses Taking 2 math courses in during one semester

  1. Nov 5, 2004 #1


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    Is taking 2 different math courses during one semester/term a smart thing to do? I need to take Calculus II and Discrete Math. I'd like to take them both during the upcoming semester, but I'm not sure if it is the "smart" thing to do. I'm worried that taking 2 math classes along with Calc-based Physics and another class (haven't decided yet) will cause me major burn out. So, can someone whose taken 2 math classes during the same semester give me some advice, tips, etc.?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2004 #2
    Is calculus not a prerequsite for descrete mathamatics? I do not know what to say, only you really know (or should know) yourself well enought to decide to take a heavier course load. I myself am taking two sciences with labs next semester.
  4. Nov 5, 2004 #3
    as long as one class isn't a pre-req for the other i don't see any problem with taking 2 math classes at the same time. whether or not you can handle it is something only you can decide. iat one point in my undergrad career, I had vector calculus, probability theory and linear algebra all in one semester.
  5. Nov 5, 2004 #4


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    The only prerequsite for Discrete Mathematics is Calculus I (which I am currently taking this semester).

    As for taking both of them, I probably will register for both classes then decide if I can handle it before the drop date (which is 2 weeks into class); that way, I can see what both classes are like and get a refund if I feel that I cannot handle them.

    Thanks for the help so for y'all. Much appreciated.
  6. Nov 5, 2004 #5
    Hmm, let's see, last semester I had :

    Variational Calculus II
    Probability & Statistics
    Numerical Linear Algebra

    This in addition to thermodynamics, analytical mechanics, quantum mechanics, special relativity, astrophysics & electonics.

    I survived. I expect you will as well. There's absolutely no reason to limit yourself to one math course per semester. There's so much to learn and so little time :smile:
  7. Nov 5, 2004 #6
    3 math classes

    Right now I'm a senior in high school. I'm taking three full-year math courses:

    AP Calculus, AP Probability and Statistics and Honors Physics.

    It's not bad at all. In fact, it's cool because you can see the similarities between the the three classes (like derivatives of position functions=velocity, etc.).

    So go ahead and take them!
  8. Nov 5, 2004 #7
    Why on earth would you want to take all of those in one semester, and how is it even possible? :eek:

    As for the original question, its impossible to get through undergrad without taking more than major course in most semesters.

  9. Nov 5, 2004 #8
    I would like to make a statement here and now. If I was taking the classes Dimitri took in one simester...DAMN! THATS ALOT OF CLASSES...I would go to school every day in a tuxedo becasue I would shurley die on any random day of lecture. :surprised
  10. Nov 6, 2004 #9


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    That is not an atypical schedule for anyone working toward a degree in math and or Physics.
  11. Nov 6, 2004 #10
    I'm kind of in a similar boat, I'm going to take calc III, engineering physics II, and a second 4 credit course in java programming. I'm considering adding differential equations. that would be 17 credits for the semester.

    I'm not to worried about the load itself, but the diff eq class is only offered at night from 6 to 10 pm. I am not a night person. I get up at 4 am, by 8 pm or so, the brain is pretty much shutting down. I also don't get much out of math lectures anyway. Can you learn the diff eq material from the book? or is being able to stay awake during the lecture a requirement?

    Can anyone recommend a good diff eq book that would be better suited to someone trying to learn it directly from the book? We have about a month brake between semesters so I'm planning on getting as far ahead in my classes as I can during that time. Even if I don't end up taking diff eq next semester, I've heard it's good to have a diff eq book around for physics.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2004
  12. Nov 6, 2004 #11
    Indeed. You want to be a physics or mathematics major (or both :wink: )? Then suffer! :biggrin:

    Seriously though, there is a reason why they call it the "hard" sciences. There's alot of work to be done, and it needs to be done. It's not literature or philosphy where you can BS your way through, you either master your material or you don't go through.

    Damn, I'm becoming preachy in my old age :bugeye:
  13. Nov 6, 2004 #12


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    Another quick question about taking 2 or more math courses in one semester, would you guys recommend taking them 10-minutes a part (ex. DisMath 12pm-12:50pm then CalcII 1pm-1:50pm)?
  14. Nov 6, 2004 #13


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    Let us established first of all that there COULD be a significant difference between what we define as a complete "course" in the US educational institution, with what is defined elsewhere. What he is taking here is highly unusual for someone in a US school, where each subject here can be the focus of one complete course in a semester. Add this to the fact that in a US University, an undergraduate also has other elective courses to take as part of the requirement for graduation.

    So I would highly recommend that one not think that this is normal in a US curriculum. You may take some of these courses eventually, but certainly not in a semester. Or, you may not even take most of them and instead, get a survey of them in a Mathematical Physics course. Most physics majors don't want to be math majors and have to take all these math classes - but we unfortunately need to know how to USE them, and use them properly (thus, the appearence of math-physics courses in many schools).

  15. Nov 6, 2004 #14


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    Indeed, a standard 3-credit University course here in Canada usually lasts one semester (i.e. spans the full four months), has lecture and lab and/or tutorial components, has 1-3 midterm exams, has weekly homework assignments, demands at least 2.5 times the study time per week as the the lecture time per week (which is usually 3 hours of lectures), and has a final examination.

    How many of these courses do students typically take per semester? 5.

    Engineering students normally take 6. Everybody else (with the exception of a science student) goes :bugeye: :eek: when he/she hears that.

    In Engineering Physics (my program) the standard fare is 7 courses per semester. I'm in third year. This semester mine are:

    -Applications of Classical Mechanics (Lagrangian Dynamics)
    -Introduction to Electricity and Magnestism (Maxwell's Equations etc)
    -Introduction to Laboratory Techniques (Physics lab. The labs I did were gyroscopes, NMR, gamma ray spectroscopy, and alpha particle range in air. There are others too...superconductors, tranmissions line, servos, etc. ).
    -Digital Logic Design
    -Circuits Analysis I*
    -Ordinary Differential Equations*
    -Programming and Data Structures for Engineers (i.e. comp sci with C++ :mad: )*

    Courses with * indicate courses I should have had finished by second year, but couldn't because I transferred directly into Engineering Physics in my second year from wimpy general sciences in first year. In place of the * courses, I should actually be doing Partial Differential Equations, some sort of EECE course in discrete data structures/algorithms, and another math course (Complex Analysis). I should be up to speed by next semester. Keep in mind that I'm taking three math courses next semester, the Partial Differential Equations, the Complex Variable Theory, and Probability with Physical Applications.

    The point of all of this is that seven courses are not totally unheard of, and many of my friends are taking on eight. Nine courses is pretty much the upper limit (some will attempt it), and ten sounds insane, and probably exceeds the credit limit. Engineering Physics is, however, the hardest eng. program, and one of my physics profs commented that she figured we probably just got burnt out, whereas the pure honours physics students had more time to let things sink in, and indulge their scientific curiosity. I agree with the burnt out part 100%
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2004
  16. Nov 6, 2004 #15
    Haha, I dunno. I don't think taking, I guess, 24 hours of classes, let alone all math and physics courses, is very typical. Mind you im speaking for the u.s., not anywhere else in the world. I've never taken more than 4 combined math/physics classes.

    Boy 8 would be rough. Especially upper-division haha!

    Anyhow, i think its been firmly established that the original poster can handle taking two classes ;).

    oh, and Cod, I don't see why taking them 10 minutes apart would be a problem. Just remember that professors LOVE to all schedule tests on the same day :). You'll be fine though, don't stress about it too much.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2004
  17. Nov 6, 2004 #16


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    I think it's an international conspiracy... :wink: :frown:
  18. Nov 7, 2004 #17
    Just curious, what do you mean by 24 hours of classes? I'm assuming this is per week, or is that number calculated in a different fashion?
  19. Nov 7, 2004 #18

    My University limits you to 5.

    If you're GPA is over 3.5 they let you take 6.
  20. Nov 8, 2004 #19
    Well I assumed each of those classes is counted for 3 hours of credit, and since there are eight (though it now appears that I can't count, and there are nine), I figured thats around 24 hours of classes.

    Most people take around 15 hours of classes (per semester) here in the U.S., and I think most universities limit the number you can take to about 18, without special approval.

    Sorry for being so ethnocentric ;).
  21. Nov 8, 2004 #20
    So if you have 24h of classes, that means you spend 24h/week in the classroom or lab?
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