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Theoretical Astrophysics, Should i Double major in math and physics?

  1. Oct 13, 2010 #1
    Hi. I am currently a senior in highs chool and have already been accepted to a college [UMKC]. I was wondering if it would be beneficial for me to double major in Physics and Math. I am planning on going to grad school and getting a Ph.D in Astrophysics or theoretical physics. Would double majoring aid me in this process? Would it give me an advantage for gradschool? I know that i don't have to declare a major till Junior year in college but i am interested in what i should be planning for.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2010 #2


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    It won't hurt you, that's for sure... unless you get awful grades as a result of the extra course load.
  4. Oct 14, 2010 #3
    It's not going to help you a huge amount, and if you overextend yourself, you'll end up much worse than if you single major.

    I'd put this as a "wish list" item. If you end up sophomore year and the work load is managable then go for it. If not then don't sweat it.
  5. Oct 15, 2010 #4
    Why double major and just take classes pre-prescribed for you? If you want to go to graduate school, think about what you want to study specifically over time, and if you want to do mainly physics, then do a physics degree and supplement with appropriate math, and similarly for the other direction if you want to do mathematical physics.

    Having the maturity to pick what you want to do with what you study is very important. If you like mechanics, maybe you'll learn some differential geometry. Just taking all the courses blindly will waste your time -- it WILL hurt you in the sense that you could spend that time on what you really want to do (which can even result in a more well-developed application), rather than a packaged double major. Having a double major by itself will not help, it's if you do some real synergy.
  6. Oct 15, 2010 #5
    If you want to go to graduate school in Physics, I would say you ought to fully understand the meaning of the following symbols:

    \sum_{n}{|n\rangle \langle n|} = 1.

    By no means is this sufficient, do not get me wrong. However, there is so much Mathematics and Physics related with this formula that by fully understanding it, you can rest assured that you would have acquired a lot of maturity in your thoughts.
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