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Thinking of switching from Chemistry to Physics

  1. Apr 4, 2014 #1
    I am a 20 year old Chemistry major who is currently finishing up his junior year of college. My initial plan was to graduate with a Chemistry BA and then proceed to apply to medical school. However, after taking physics non-calc based 1 & 2 I remembered how much I enjoy the physics. I am currently thinking of switching from chemistry to physics, however changing my major would be very difficult. I would have to stay an extra semester (so 3 more in total), and I would have to take the following courses: Calc 3, Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations, Quantum Mechanics, Electromagnetism 1 & 2, Sophomore Lab, Junior Lab, and Modern Physics. All of these courses would have to be completed within 3 semesters. However, the road to completing my Chemistry BA will also be quite hard as I focused on fulfilling my medical school requirements first before doing anything else so I am not even that far into my major. I have only taken Chem 1 & 2, Organic Chem 1& 2, and Organic Chem Lab. This means if I want to finish my chem degree I will also have to cram in a lot of hard chemistry courses. To me, receiving a degree in Physics seems like a good idea because just in case I do not go to medical school or decide I do not want to go, I could always fall back on my Physics education and look for a job that interests me. This is in contrast with Chemistry, as I do not feel I would enjoy being a Chemist. In closing, do you think it would be a good idea to switch from Chemistry to Physics? I do not truly know if I would enjoy the upper level Physics/Math courses as my knowledge and enjoyment of the subject is limited to the introductory courses.

    Edit: How do I move this Academic Guidance? Sorry.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2014 #2


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    It sounds to me like you're not really sure you want to go to medical school. Or, if you do want to go, you want to take the long, hard way.

    I changed from Chemistry to Physics in my junior year. I won't say I regret the decision -- the challenge of physics changed me in a way that chemistry would not have. I completed chemistry classes through Physical Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry, but I found physics to be much more difficult.

    Where I live, the opportunities for BS Chemists are much better than BS Physics. Spend some time looking around this forum and you will see this is typical.

    That said, Chemist jobs are not very plentiful, either.

    What do you want to achieve with your education?
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