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What should I minor in? Physics/math major

  1. May 28, 2013 #1

    QuantumCurt

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    Hey everyone, I'm hoping I can get some input on this. I'm in a community college right now, and majoring in physics. I'm planning on transferring to U of I Urbana-Champaign after I complete my associates, and plan to transfer as a double major in math and physics. I really want to declare a minor, but I'm not sure which direction to head.

    I plan to go into theoretical physics in some kind of capacity, though I'm not set on a specific path yet. I really want to minor in philosophy, but many people are telling me that I should minor in computer science. A lot of people don't seem to think that a philosophy minor would be really beneficial, but I tend to think that it would be, from the critical thinking/thinking outside the box type of aspects. Cosmology is one potential path that I want to head down, and it seems to me that philosophy would be beneficial in that field. I'd be taking mainly philosophy of science, philosophy of space/time/quantum mechanics, and philosophy of mathematics type courses if I did declare a philosophy minor.

    Most people are suggesting that CS would be a more lucrative minor, which does certainly make sense. Programming and knowledge of computers is a crucial point in just about any field anymore. I just started self-teaching myself some programming, and right now I'm working through a Python book. I'll definitely be taking some CS/programming courses as part of my double major, and some other CS courses outside of my major, even if I don't declare a CS minor.

    Does anyone have any advice? How hard would it be to double major in math and physics, and double minor in philosophy and CS, as a transfer student? It would definitely take longer to finish my bachelors, but I wouldn't be opposed to staying an extra year in undergrad to finish. Would that be too much to take on? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. May 28, 2013 #2

    WannabeNewton

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    You should know that at UIUC, if you choose the specialized physics major curriculum (which is what they recommend if you wish to go to grad school-it forces you to take both semesters of intermediate mechanics, both semesters of intermediate electrodynamics etc.) then you won't be allowed to double major in math.
     
  4. May 28, 2013 #3

    QuantumCurt

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    Are you sure? That's not exactly how I read it, although I'm only going off of what it says in the catalog. Here's what it says:

    "The LAS Specialized Curriculum in Physics is designed for students who plan to pursue graduate study in physics or a closely allied field. However, students who want to pursue a combined major and minor, a double major, or a double degree should consider the LAS Science and Letters Curriculum in Physics because of the greater flexibility it offers. "

    I read that as a recommendation that students should consider the science and letters curriculum...but aren't necessarily required to take it. Like I said though, I'm just going off of what it says there. The actual case could be different from the way I'm understanding it.
     
  5. May 28, 2013 #4

    WannabeNewton

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    I have a couple of friends there doing specialized who tried to double major in math and were not allowed to as per department policy (this was the past semester). Email the academic adviser for the physics department to make sure though.
     
  6. May 28, 2013 #5

    QuantumCurt

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    Plus, after I transfer, I would only have an additional 9 courses to complete to finish the specialized physics major. I'll already have the University Physics sequence done, plus the Calc sequence, chemistry requirements and CS requirements...plus the entire gened core. The Specialized Curriculum also has a slot for 15-35 credits of electives, with no restrictions.

    The math major would actually end up requiring more courses for me than the physics major would.
     
  7. May 28, 2013 #6

    QuantumCurt

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    I see. I'll have to get in contact with someone there. Thanks for the tip. I hope I can...that's what I've been planning on doing for quite a while now. You just threw a hammer into my plans!!!...lol Thanks for the heads up.
     
  8. May 28, 2013 #7

    WannabeNewton

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    http://physics.illinois.edu/people/profile.asp?majones2

    Yeah I just want you to make sure that you know any possible restrictions before choosing the specialized curriculum (you can always switch to LAS physics of course but that is an unnecessary nuisance that can be avoided by seeing what can or cannot be done ahead of time).

    EDIT: By the way, just to reaffirm what I said above, check here: http://www.las.illinois.edu/students/programs/double/

    In particular, "Multiple majors are not available to students in Specialized Curricula."
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  9. May 28, 2013 #8

    QuantumCurt

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    Thanks for the links. I'll definitely be contacting someone there to see what my options are.

    I really want to do the specialized curriculum, since I plan to go to grad school for physics. I really don't want to get an inadequate mathematical eduction though either. I could still minor in math though I suppose. I imagine I'd still be able to take the honors math sequence, since it's only 4-5 course long. I'd still have the 15-35 free electives within the specialized physics curriculum too, which I could use for additional math courses.

    It looks like I'd still be able to do a dual degree program, and get two distinct degrees. I wouldn't be able to double major though from the sounds of it. I don't know if this would really be a viable option though, given the number of courses that would be involved. Although it really does sound like it would be basically the same thing as doing a double major.

    http://www.las.illinois.edu/students/prospective/second/ [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. May 29, 2013 #9

    QuantumCurt

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    Well I've been doing a bunch of comparisons and this is what I've come up with. Hypothetically, if I was able to double major in math and physics, with the specialized curriculum in physics...it really doesn't seem that undoable.

    I would have 9 physics courses to complete after transferring, adding up to 29 hours. All of the other requirements would be completed before transferring, aside from the linear algebra course. That course would be part of the math curriculum though, and I would end up taking abstract linear algebra rather than the regular course. They also note 15-35 hours of free elective credit.

    For the math major, I would have to take 6 courses for the core, adding up to 18 hours. Then I could pick one of two concentrations, the mathematics concentration which requires 4 courses adding up to 12 hours, or I could take the graduate preparatory concentration, which requires 7 courses adding up to 21 hours. So, with the mathematics concentration, I could complete the math major with 10 courses and 30 hours, and with the graduate preparatory concentration I could complete the math major with 13 courses and 39 hours.

    So...that would mean for the double major, I'd have 19 courses and 59 hours for the simpler concentration...or I'd have 23 courses and 68 hours for the graduate prep concentration. I'll have my entire gened core done before I transfer, aside from the advanced composition course, and my second year of foreign language. Figure another 10 hours for that.

    Does that seem unreasonable? It really doesn't seem like it would be too many courses to take on. Obviously you guys aren't the admissions board though...lol How many hours of course work does a transfer student usually complete at the transfer institution? It's usually 60+ hours right? They note the 15-35 hours of elective credit as part of the physics major...and from what I'm seeing, I could actually fit a math major into those elective credits.
     
  11. May 29, 2013 #10

    verty

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    You may be interested in reading the following two extracts. My point, that philosophy and cosmology are perhaps not that close to each other.

    Read the introduction here (skip over the preface), then section 2 here.
     
  12. May 30, 2013 #11

    QuantumCurt

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    Thanks for the links. Those were quite informative. Those actually cleared up some issues for me. I've really felt that a philosophy minor would go hand in hand with the potential pursuit of cosmology, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it would almost be irrelevant. I suppose if I was going to self study one of my two potential minors, philosophy would definitely be easier than computer science too. So, I guess I am starting to lean more towards computer science for a minor.

    I'm also starting to become a little bit more open to the idea of minoring in math instead of double majoring...but...I'm still gonna see what my options are.
     
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