1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Other When do I get to study what I want in college?

  1. Sep 29, 2016 #1
    Hello, I'm a math and physics double major. I'm currently a freshman in college and I have various courses that are general requirement courses. Does anyone know when I'll be able to focus on math and physics only? Not specifically, but perhaps a certain year in college?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2016 #2
    Shouldn't you be able to determine that yourself? Check your course requirements it should all be laid out in the course catalog.
     
  4. Sep 29, 2016 #3

    vela

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor

    I actually liked having general-ed courses every year as an undergrad. At the very least, it gives you a chance to interact with people outside of your major, otherwise all you see are the same people every single day.
     
  5. Sep 29, 2016 #4

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Should be no more than 2 years finishing nearly if not all of general educational requirements.

    Examine for yourself what courses you will need and the options you want and figure for yourself how to arrange each semester.
     
  6. Sep 30, 2016 #5
    Do you not have a 4-year plan of study? If you're in any sort of "freshman orientation" course, you may be required to make one. Even if not, you may want to make one anyway. Just make a schedule of which courses you're goig to take, and when.

    If it makes you feel better, I put all of my gen ed courses off until senior year. At least you won't be doing that :p
     
  7. Oct 3, 2016 #6
    When I went to Stanford in the '60's, you couldn't declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. Now, you can declare in your freshman year. Either way, the calculus and physics classes, which were year-long sequences, were/are taken as lower division classes. I made the massive mistake of getting all the gen ed courses out of the way early and was stuck with two years of 19 units a term of utter work and surrounded by geeks and dweebs as bad or worse off than I. Had I saved a decent history or anthro class I might have been able to meet normal girls later in my undergrad career.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2016 #7

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Whenever you like. But don't expect to make fast progress towards your degree.
     
  9. Oct 3, 2016 #8
    https://www.nap.edu/read/18312/chapter/1
    ADAPTING TO A
    CHANGING WORLD—


    CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITES IN
    UNDERGRADUATE PHYSICS EDUCATION

    I don't have the link to the paper, but a few months ago, a university with one of the best undergrad physics programs found that many of the students were surprised that "physics" wasn't like what they learned from movies and TV. What they "wanted" to study wouldn't happen until grad school. They first had to get a solid foundation in the basics. I'll post a link to the study when I find it. That problem seems to be fairly common---students want to jump right into the physics of parallel universes, etc.
     
  10. Oct 3, 2016 #9
    I don't mind getting a basic foundation in math and physics. I'm not very fond of the general requirement courses is all. I love math and physics at all levels.
     
  11. Oct 3, 2016 #10
    I suppose it all depends on what you hope to do with with your math and physics and with your college experience in general. I suspect only the most gifted can get through life (happily) on the strength of that focused genius. At the same time, I can't think of a single scientist of that stature who wanted to talk about their research at dinner. I inevitably wished I had taken some of my "gen ed" classes more seriously and cultivated interest in them, to be able to better engage in conversations. Sometimes, those classes will be the only exposure you'll have to the humanities. As an example, my first physics prof., Felix Bloch, was the first Director-General of CERN. No doubt, the Nobel Prize had most to do with it, but he was an elegant, well-spoken man and able to deal with all levels of functionaries. Slow down and savor those other classes.
     
  12. Oct 3, 2016 #11

    billy_joule

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    If you feel that strongly about it you could transfer to a school where its not mandatory.

    It's hard to imagine how you've made it thus far without consulting a course catalogue.
     
  13. Oct 3, 2016 #12

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    That is an interesting viewpoint, and one of being uncommon according to some people who believe in pushing through the G.E. chore as soon as possible.

    I had to do one final general education course very late in my undergraduate education. For a change, it was academically very easy or light, compared to other ones I had at the time. A small amount of basic math and algebra was involved, which some of the other students found to be tough ----- but not tough for me. Doing some GE courses later in ones education lets us see how other students feel about handling mathematics, even simple stuff.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted