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Usefulness of CS Minor

  1. Dec 15, 2009 #1
    I recently just transfered to a new school majoring in Physics and Astronomy. I plan on continuing on to Astronomy grad school. I have taken 2 CS classes in the past and only need 3 more for the minor. It also happens that this school happens to have a very good CS department(top 20). Is getting a CS minor something worth doing, will it help me in my future work as an astrophysicist or will getting the minor amount to nothing more than words on a piece of paper?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2009 #2
    I am a math major and I have taken 5 CS classes, but I decided not to pursue a minor. I am done with the minor except for two classes: a "systems" class (operating systems or compilers) and a theory class (algorithms or theory of computation). I am simply not interested in the systems area, and I already know enough about theoretical computer science that I do not want to waste a class on it.

    Most of the CS classes at my college would not be relevant for computational applications - with the explicit exception of intro, data structures, high-speed scientific computing, and maybe algorithms.

    If you are interested in computer science, go ahead and complete the minor! Just be aware that it will entail a class or two that are not relevant for physics applications.
  4. Dec 15, 2009 #3
    The minor is words on a piece of paper. Learning to program well will undoubtably be helpful though.
  5. Dec 15, 2009 #4
    Some majors will require you to have some degree of specialization in a subject outside your area. I'm in the middle of transferring, but at the school I'm transferring out of the math majors are supposed to take a number of upper-level courses in some coherent subject. This encourages a lot of people to just pick a subject they like early on and get a minor in it. I liked CS and had experience from high school, so my plan was to minor in CS.

    Beyond that, my personal opinion is that it would be better to take the CS classes that will help you directly and not take those that won't. If this ends up getting you a minor (i.e., the classes that help you coincide with those required by the minor), then that's a neat perk, but I don't believe the minor is necessarily something worth pursuing in and of itself (unless, like owlpride said, you just like CS and would like to get a minor).
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