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Where does Mathematical Physics reside?

  1. Apr 1, 2015 #1
    Where exactly does this area of study reside? Is it within the math department or the physics department? More specifically, do you need to get accepted into a math or physics graduate program?

    The undergraduate mathematical physics program here is listed under both the math and physics degrees and it doesn't seem like the math graduate courses have much to do with physics at all so I'm a bit confused on this.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2015 #2
    Some universities have research groups in "mathematical physics". The one I looked at did research into quantum field theory, and I think they worked in integrating new mathematical models within this framework, or something along those lines. From that particular group, I didn't see much difference between them and say, theoretical physics groups working in the same field.
    One possible distinction could be that people doing "mathematical physics" invent new mathematics to try and make or account for physical theories, or invent new frameworks with mathematics, but that's just me guessing.

    Getting back to what department it's under, the research group I looked at was definitely in the physics department.
  4. Apr 1, 2015 #3
    That's interesting. Do you suppose they took a lot of the required math during undergrad? Seems like it'd be difficult to fit courses from the math department during grad school unless they learned it all in physics courses.
  5. Apr 1, 2015 #4


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    It can be in both. My friend has an advisor in each department.
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