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What electives would be most beneficial?

  1. Mar 1, 2015 #1
    I recently changed my major to physics from business. I would be going into my senior year as a business student had I stayed, so I have all my core requirements done. While I'm catching up on some maths, I'll need to fill my schedule with electives to remain a full-time student. What courses should I consider? Astronomy? Programming? Basic engineering?
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  3. Mar 1, 2015 #2
    I'm at the same proverbial crossroads as you, with little help from the academic advisors at school. From what I've researched/found/heard, programming is a big one, but as far as which languages to take, there are conflicting opinions. I think astronomy would be good depending on what you plan on specializing in later down the road, but again, I am not an expert. My counselor told me that I do need to take some physical science electives, but gave me little information as to which physical science electives would benefit me the most. I suppose at this stage, it's a crap shoot either way. We don't exactly know what we want to specialize in so we can't quite decipher which extra science courses would be the most beneficial. If you find any information or answers on this, I'd love to hear them.
  4. Mar 1, 2015 #3
    I'm definitely considering astronomy. I have a huge interest in space and distant galaxies, so astrophysics is an obvious candidate for a specific field. Hopefully you and I both can benefit from the information shared in this thread.
  5. Mar 1, 2015 #4
    It'd be helpful if you know specifically what field of physics you'd like to work in, but you are not expected to, so its fine. To learn what kinds of research are being done in physics, I recommend attending department colloquiums if your school have them.

    Programming will be useful in any fields of physics you enter, especially in astrophysics (numerical relativity, plasma physics [which is basically applied fluid dynamics], etc..). Taking intro courses in each subdisciplines, such as astronomy and materials, might help you develop your interest.
  6. Mar 1, 2015 #5
    Any experience on which programming languages are best to take for physics majors? It's difficult to find time to squeeze in two, let alone three different languages... Plus, most CompSci programs are impacted in southern California and it's extremely difficult to get into ANY of the classes at all, but alas, that's an entirely different problem.
  7. Mar 2, 2015 #6


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    Python, FORTRAN, C/C++ are all quite common. (I've used all three today, with some perl as well!)

    To be honest though, most of the utility in taking a programming class isn't in learning one particular language - there are a bunch of skills common to all programming that you will need to learn. After you've got the basics down, it's pretty easy to pick up other languages.
  8. Mar 2, 2015 #7
    Interesting. Good to know. The college I'm at right now in Seattle offers a 3 course series (that's supposed to be for compsci transfers) that eventually ends in a course dedicated to C++. I've heard of some undergrad programs offering a "computer science for physics majors"-esque type course. I guess I just didn't want to spend time learning something I wasn't going to use, student loans sure do stack up fast! Lol. I'll take another look into the available course series, thanks :)
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