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Schools What math courses to take as an undergrad in physics planning for grad school

  • Thread starter elg0rillo
  • Start date
Since I got credit in calc I and II before going to college (along with getting many of my geneds out of the way), I'm going to have a lot of room for extra math courses.

What's required by my college's physics program is
Calc I, II, III
Diff eq
Applied Linear Algebra

After, that I'm on my own for picking math classes, but I'm not entirely sure which one's to take. My advisor suggested Applied Complex Variables and Intro to Abstract Algebra (for group theory). However, I still have a lot of room for more classes. Any ideas?
 

fss

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Take physics electives.
 
I'll be doing that as well, but what about math classes that have applications in physics?
 
I'll be doing that as well, but what about math classes that have applications in physics?
Depends really on the area of physics you intend to go in. If you want to do VERY VERY theoretical physics, you will probably want to have some familiarity with group theory, so an abstract algebra course could help.

Gen Rel uses alot of Differential Geometry and while you will certainly learn 'SOME' D.Geo in any GR class you take as an undergrad/grad, it can certainly help your understanding of GR if your Diff Geo is very good going in. Alot of differential geometry courses though have Analysis as a pre-req, so you might have to take those

All of physics makes heavy use of differential equations and linear algebra: wave equations, eigenvalue/vector problems...etc. You will probably learn enough to get through an undergrad physics major taking the required amounts of each (which is probably just sophomore level classes in both). But again, the deeper you go into theoretical side of the things, if you have a firm understanding of how and why the math work, the better you will be at absorbing the physics. So junior level courses in L.A. and ODEs/PDEs might be in order.

Of course, this might all be overkill. I am also biased since i am a math and physics double major and I want to go into Mathematical Physics :)
 
Thanks for the suggestions!

But one question, my school has two higher level linear algebra courses, Abstract and Applied linear algebra. The applied linear algebra is required for my major. So I'll be taking that no matter what. So given that I'll be taking applied linear algebra, do you think abstract linear algebra would be helpful to supplement my applied linear algebra?
 
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Depends really on the area of physics you intend to go in. If you want to do VERY VERY theoretical physics, you will probably want to have some familiarity with group theory, so an abstract algebra course could help.
Abstract algebra courses aren't that helpful as they tend not to cover any representation theory, which is mostly what physicists are concerned with.
 
i would say if you go more experimental or even end up getting an engineering job basic stats will come in handy.
 
From personal experience, I took a graduate course on Applied Partial Differential Equations mostly using Fourier Analysis. Its extremely useful to take at least one course on advanced partial differential equations, just because you will encounter them in almost every field of physics.
 
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