What Courses Should a Chemistry Major Take for a Future in Chemical Physics?

In summary, the conversation discusses a junior chemistry major's interest in studying physical chemistry or chemical physics in graduate school. The person asks if taking a physics course in optics or mechanics would be helpful, and the other person recommends taking a mechanics course for a stronger foundation in higher level concepts and skills. They also suggest taking courses in thermal/statistical physics, quantum mechanics, and intermediate E&M for those interested in pchem and chemical physics.
  • #1
jaejoon89
195
0
Hi, I am a junior chemistry major. I am interested in studying physical chemistry or possibly chemical physics in grad school. I've got a couple questions:

1) Would a physics course in optics be good to take as an undergrad? I thought it might be helpful to learn about lasers, spectroscopy, Fourier optics, etc.
2) Would a physics course in mechanics be particularly helpful as well? I've had some Newtonian mechanics in the introductory sequence. This would be upper level stuff and would involve more sophisticated vector calc, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics.

Any other advice/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
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  • #2
I'm a senior double majoring in chem and physics, applying to grad schools in both subjects as well as a few chemical physics programs. Optics could be useful if you plan on being an experimentalist/spectroscopist for the reasons you cited, but otherwise I wouldn't worry about it too much. I VERY strongly recommend the course in mechanics, especially if you plan on going into theory or computation. In addition to giving you a solid foundation for upper level quantum mechanics and quantum chemistry, this will also develop your skills in basic mathematical methods. For pchem/chemical physics, I would also recommend physics courses in thermal/statistical physics, of course quantum mechanics, and even intermediate E&M if you have the room for it.
 
  • #3
The first semester of pchem was chemical thermodynamics... How is a physics course in thermodynamics much different?
 
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Related to What Courses Should a Chemistry Major Take for a Future in Chemical Physics?

1. What is chemical physics?

Chemical physics is a field of study that combines principles and techniques from both chemistry and physics to investigate the physical properties and behavior of chemical systems.

2. What topics are covered in courses for chemical physics?

Courses for chemical physics typically cover topics such as quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, kinetics, spectroscopy, and molecular structure.

3. What skills are required for studying chemical physics?

A strong background in mathematics and physics is essential for studying chemical physics. Additionally, critical thinking, problem-solving, and laboratory skills are important for conducting experiments and analyzing data.

4. What career opportunities are available for those with a degree in chemical physics?

Graduates with a degree in chemical physics can pursue careers in research and development, materials science, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, energy, and many other industries. They can also work in academia as professors or researchers.

5. Are there any recommended courses to take before enrolling in chemical physics?

It is recommended to have a strong foundation in chemistry, physics, and mathematics before enrolling in courses for chemical physics. It may also be beneficial to take courses in computer science, statistics, and other related fields to enhance analytical and computational skills.

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