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Will it help?

  1. Dec 24, 2008 #1
    I am at the school I am well for a lot of reasons, but long story short they only offer a BA in physics. I want to continue onto grad school. I finished all my general electives and core credits at a community college closely linked with the university. So, I am left with needing 3 years to finish my physics/math classes, but not much else.
    Question 1: Will my time at community college hurt my grad school aps?
    Question 2: How much harder will the BA make my grad. school admittance?
    Question 3: Will a chemistry and a math minor help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2008 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    1. Generally no.

    2. You have to look into the grad school programs you're interested in to make sure that the BA program you intend on pursuing will qualify you for admittance.

    3. This depends on what you intend on studying at grad school. They only way they will hurt is if they keep you from taking physics courses that are more relevant to your eventual career path.
  4. Dec 28, 2008 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Whether your degree is called a BA or a BS, in itself, makes no difference. What counts are the courses that you take, and how much research experience (or similar) you have.

    I think I remember someone saying, when this question came up once before, that Harvard offers only a BA in physics at the undergraduate level. I'm sure no grad school would turn up their nose at it! :biggrin:

    On a more realistic level for most people, my undergraduate physics degree is a BA from a small liberal arts college, and I got into Michigan for grad school.
  5. Dec 28, 2008 #4
    I concur with other posters, but want to especially add the following: What you can do to BEST boost your application is to do research (either through your home institution or through summer experiences (like REU's). It's virtually impossible to admitted into a well-ranked program without significant research experience.

    Then, maybe this is because I had math and chem minors too, but: Math courses (particularly PDE's/ Boundary value problems and complex analysis) will help you in your physics coursework, and chemistry was a plus for me because my thesis work was in materials science/ condensed matter. Thus, when I was on an admissions committee, I always looked favorably upon strong minors in addition to strong coursework in the primary field.
  6. Dec 28, 2008 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    In my case, my college's physics course offerings weren't very deep, so I had enough room in my schedule to double-major in math. That probably helped with my applications.

    Even with the math major, my college didn't offer a complex analysis course, and that turned out to be the one course I really wished I could have taken. In first-year grad school E&M, the professor turned out to be a big fan of conformal mapping for solving electrostatics problems, so I had to pick that up on the fly.
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