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Undergrad Switch from Computer Science to Physics.

  1. Apr 21, 2014 #1
    i am well aware that the job field may be narrower in view but would this be a smart move? i didn't do too well the past two semesters and I am being forced to switch majors. the reason i didn't do well was because of a complete lack of interest and effort on my behalf. I couldn't stand programming. Physics was the first major of my choice before entering school but I switched solely on the fact of a better employment rate. based on what I told you would Physics be a good fit? I am totally interested in the topic but I fear I might slip into past habits. I dont expect someone to tell me what i should do i am just trying to brainstorm with others.

    I have a learning disability, I learn and think slowly than others. it has never really affected in me in my studies but maybe it might in physics?

    Thanks for reading
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    One thought is combining your interest in Physics with your Computer Science and getting back into Computer Science. Your job prospects are much higher there for sure. Also a lot of physics research uses the computer to model systems or to crunch measurement data.

    To get a taste of Computational Physics check out the Open Source Physics stuff at www.compadre.org/osp

    This learning disability is it related to interest in too many fields so that your mind tends to wander and not stay focused on a single thing?
  4. Apr 21, 2014 #3
    ok thats certainly a idea but the problem with that is I literally cant take another computer science class at my school anymore. I am embarrassed to admit it by i withdrew twice from the same class. after this semester I am taking one off to figure things out.

    you hit the nail on the head with the learning disability. I am having a tough time with my thoughts right now and Im seeing a specialist about it.
  5. Apr 21, 2014 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    So what was the class that caused you so much grief?

    If its an intro course it maybe tough to intentionally weed out weaker students but if you persevere (ie study it on the side and try again) you could get through it. For me the most important courses during my MS degree were Data Structures+Algorithms and Compiler Design followed by Graphics and Operating Systems. If you can get through those you'll succeed.

    More recently, I really enjoyed Computational Physics using the Open Source Physics framework and the associated book:


    and the associated user guide:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Apr 21, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I had the intention of switching from physics to computer science a while back, but then immediately wasn't satisfied with the computer science courses I was in. I think I reacted too quickly to that, however, because I've just recently found the "magic" in computer science. After taking discrete math and data structures this semester I've realized that computer science is actually quite math intensive at the higher levels, and involves a lot of mathematical proofs.

    The practical programming classes may put you off, but stuff gets more rigorous and interesting in theoretical computer science, such as machine learning, graph theory, theory of computation, etc. But if physics was your first "gut" choice (mine too), and you believe you can handle the requisite math, then I'm sure you'll do fine.
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