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Triple majoring

  1. Aug 16, 2005 #1
    I am just not able to settle with two between physics, mathematics, and computer science. I like them all. Would it look bad to graduate schools having earned three bs's, when you're going into say....mathematical physics or other physics/math/computer science fields? I can understand why it would look bad having three majors with no overlap whatsoever, but these three are intertwined. Any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2005 #2
    hey Andrew,

    first off, make sure your school even allows you to triple major.

    also, triple majoring is pretty hard, you might have to spend another semester or even a year in school. why not double major and get a minor in the other one??? that looks fine to grad schools.

    one last thing, you can always learn on your own. download the course syllabus's and perhaps over the summer or something, start introducing the concepts and doing practice problems, etc.

    good luck
  4. Aug 16, 2005 #3
    That's what I'm hoping to do, the second/thirdsyear physics courses here have no pre-reqs so one can study the first year physics over the summer and pick them up next year. It depends on how the majors are constructed at your college.

    Good luck.
  5. Aug 16, 2005 #4
    the amount of math that is required for my physics major is like over 75% that of the math program. So I don't see why it would hurt to take some extra courses and earn a math bs. I think I'll just go with physics and csci, take some extra math courses, and at the end see what I have.
  6. Aug 16, 2005 #5


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    My degree requires only like 25% of the math degree for a physics bs so I think this is something that really varries between colleges.
  7. Aug 16, 2005 #6
    I might have overestimated what I just said. I do know that it's atleast 50% or more.
  8. Aug 16, 2005 #7
    Just do 2, and minor in the third. 3 majors is ridiculous.
  9. Aug 16, 2005 #8


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    Hell get a masters. Whats 3 BS's? 3 lower-end job opportunities? Even doubling is pretty iffy. Triple isnt a good idea because undoubtably, you will be pushed into probably a good 6 or 7 years of college which could just as easily be put into a more meaningful masters degree.
  10. Aug 16, 2005 #9
    So even one semester extra makes everything look bad? I wouldn't plan on making my undergraduate bs's carry me through life. I know that getting an advanced degree basically makes the bs's disappear.
  11. Aug 23, 2005 #10
    Stop thinking it looks bad, it doesn't. It is just that your time, energy and money could be better spent on a graduate degree. Decide what you want, take electives in your interests.
  12. Aug 23, 2005 #11
    Yout can complete the requirements of the two other degrees in on extra semester? How is this possible? By taking 22 credits a semester?
  13. Aug 23, 2005 #12
    I've been taking summer courses and an average of like 18 credit hours a semester. At the most, I would give myself 1 to 2 extra semesters. But if it would take longer than that, forget about it, I'd settle with just physics and math or just physics.
  14. Aug 23, 2005 #13


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    Here's what I thought is an obvious question that everyone forgot to ask: Are you finding that your classes are that easy that you are getting straight A's?

  15. Aug 23, 2005 #14
    Thats not the case. The classes aren't totally easy, but they're not hard either. My GPA is around 3.1. I hope to improve that of course.

    I know some people just couldn't handle taking so many credits a semester because they want other things to do. But I'm the kind of guy thats usually either always on his computer, reading, or studying something.
  16. Aug 23, 2005 #15
    Jesus, just do one major and a minor then work really hard to truly master the concepts (not just get As). Spend your summers doing REUs and then put your time into grad school. If you are truly interested in the other two subjects then just study them independently.
  17. Aug 23, 2005 #16
    I don't think mathematics keeps one from mastering concepts in physics. I would think it might help. And it doesn't hurt a physicist to be a decent programmer. I just happened to be obsessed with the three areas.

    One other thing. Mastering the concepts is what I look to do more often that get A's. It makes me sick when you talk to students who are only worried about the grade and not what they are actually learning and what it all means.

    Thanks for all the advice though.
  18. Aug 23, 2005 #17
    YES! I agree wholeheartedly! Learning is much more important that getting As. I am a B+ student, but I know more than most A students. Pisses me off. :mad:

    Well, as long as you can truly master the concepts in all majors in only an additional semester, and can do good REU work during your summers then go for it.
  19. Aug 23, 2005 #18


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    Then consider this since you are obviously planning on going to graduate school:

    1. You are offering "quantity" over "quality". You will end up with three degrees with mediocre grades.

    2. What kind of competitive graduate program do you think you can get into with such grades?

    3. The classes (especially in physics) WILL get more difficult and more demanding, especially advanced E&M, as you progress in your undergraduate program.

    Based on these, how realistic do you think are your chances of getting into a good graduate program in ANY of the areas that you are planning to major in?

  20. Aug 23, 2005 #19
    mediocre grades will get you into plenty of good schools, assuming you have great GRE scores, lots of letters of recommendation and good connections, and lots of research experience (which he won't have time for if he takes classes every summer) and a TRIPLE major. And yes, the classes do get more difficult, but that doesn't mean he can't improve his grades.

    Get the GPA up to at least a 3.4 and you'll be fine.
  21. Aug 23, 2005 #20


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    Aren't you making a lot of assumptions here for him?

    GRE scores? I know of many good schools that don't even look at GRE scores! Letters of recommendations? What would make an excellent letter of recommendation that would trump mediocre grades when he's busy with all those classes and trying to "improve his grades"? I see a generic letter of recommendation when one doesn't have time to distinguish oneself with extra work. Where and how do you see this happening?

    Consider the fact that some of the easiest classes one would encounter in an undergraduate program are during the 1st two years. If you have to do ANY kind of assumption here, how do you think the most likely trend would be based on what has already transpired?

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