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Will I Be Prepared?

  1. Dec 13, 2009 #1
    Hello,

    Next fall I am supposed to be taking a course titled Methods of Theoretical Physics (prerequisite for Advanced E&M, Modern Physics, QM, Dynamics, etc...), yet will have only been through the first two semesters of calc. The course guide describes the class as, "topics including methods of theoretical physics, vector analysis, differential equations of mathematical physics, analytic functions and integration in the complex plane, Laplace transforms, Fourier series, Fourier transforms, and their applications in physics."

    Basically, coming from those who have gone through mathematics like this, will i be prepared for this after only completing Calculus I and II and being enrolled in Calculus III?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2009 #2
    I'd recommend asking the professor or someone who has taken the course. We can only speculate. At my school, having calc 3 completed would definitely be helpful, as would having the introductory calc based physics sequence and linear algebra. Our version of that course put it between introductory calc based physics and upper level physics courses and assumed all physics math prereqs were completed. It was 4th semester for majors.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  4. Dec 14, 2009 #3
    Ours sounds the same as yours placement-wise (in between calc-based intro and upper level), but with no guidance on math prereqs. I was just wondering about anyone who's done this type of math and what they'd suggest.
     
  5. Dec 14, 2009 #4

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    What are the prerequisites for the course, as listed in your college or university's course catalog or web site?
     
  6. Dec 14, 2009 #5
    Just Physics 181 (second semester of calc-based intro). However, a co-requisite for that class is Calc II.
     
  7. Dec 14, 2009 #6

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    Then you're probably OK, because the department probably designed the course specifically for preparing people coming out of intro physics (with a Calc II background) to take their upper-level physics courses. This is a fairly common type of "math methods" course.
     
  8. Dec 14, 2009 #7
    Okay, thank you! I was a little worried, a couple of people i know who have been through the calc sequence, linear algebra and diff eq's were having a little trouble with it, made me a little nervous.
     
  9. Dec 14, 2009 #8
    If you're still in your first year and haven't taken those other math courses yet, I'd speak with your advisor about it. Sometimes it's the case that there are assumed prereqs. They may or may not be assuming that if you've finished physics 181 and are taking this course that you're a 2nd year physics major with other math completed.

    I ran into this problem when taking advanced probability, which only had calc3 as a stated prereq, but assumed knowledge of set theory and a bunch of other things all of the math majors in the class were familiar with. I wasn't a math major :smile:.

    You can often pick up things you need as you go if they aren't explicit prereqs, but that will depend on how busy you are with other courses too.
     
  10. Dec 14, 2009 #9
    I believe i have a pretty light schedule that semester as i can't take much besides statics without the methods of theoretical physics. I'll still talk to a professor though. Thanks, guys! :)
     
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