This is a bit of an odd question, but it's been bothering me for a while.(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The graduate sequences at top universities (Algebra, Geometry/Topology, Analysis) have always been rather esoteric in nature. Most students entering top universities have a rather strong background in these topics and need no further treatment to continue with their own research. Moreover, if by some chance, the content of some core course were to pop up in their research, it would probably be minimal enough that one could learn it very quickly.

What then is the point of requiring core classes in Algebra, Geometry/Topology, and Analysis if the students are probably never going to use a significant portion of the curriculum outside of their own area again in their research? Is the reason political? Something to keep students busy during their first year? A test to see if students can actually learn material outside of their specialty so that they can "earn" a PhD? Or does it actually serve a purpose?

(The title of the thread results from the specific case that I'm a mathematical physicist. Though the material in analysis, topology and geometry are quite useful to me, the chance that I'll actually use, say, principle ideal domains or Noetherian modules ever in my work is rather unlikely. This is very frustrating, as I think classes' primary purpose should be to serve as a supplement to research.)

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Why Algebra?

Loading...

Similar Threads - Algebra | Date |
---|---|

I Clarifying a corollary about Quadratic Forms | Mar 7, 2018 |

I Can you reduce a vector triple product? i.e. (A x (uB x C)) | Jan 19, 2018 |

B Stumbling over basic algebra | Jan 5, 2018 |

How does this simplification work? | Dec 19, 2017 |

B Calculating the area of a circle or square using decimals | Nov 9, 2017 |

**Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community**