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With Physics as my primary major, what should my double major be?

  1. Jul 1, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone! I've been a member of the Physics Forums for well over a year now, but this is the first time I've ever posted.

    I will be starting my undergraduate education this August at the Illinois Institute of Technology with the intentions of majoring in physics. Thanks to all of the AP credits I amassed in high school, I will be able to graduate one year early. However, I received a full-tuition scholarship, so rather than wasting that 4th year of a free education, I want to fill up my schedule and major in a second subject. I'm not quite sure what that subject should be, though. I love physics and I hope to become an experimental physicist, probably in the high energy particle physics field. For that reason, I want my second major to be relevant and helpful towards that ambition.

    Here are three of the double majors I'm considering -- along with the school's descriptions -- that I feel will benefit me the most:

    • Applied Mathematics
      Applied mathematics is the mathematics that is created in response to problems in science, engineering, and society. Applied mathematicians work on a wide variety of topics such as how to construct methods for multicriteria decision making (requiring discrete mathematics and statistics), predicting how the financial markets will behave (requiring probability/statistics, analysis, optimization), and analyzing how liquid flows around solids (requiring expertise in computational methods and analysis).
    • Computer Information Systems
      The Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems emphasizes the use of computers as sophisticated problem-solving tools. Students in this program pursue an interdisciplinary course of study that combines a solid foundation in computer science with a focus in another discipline. This program is designed for students who seek to blend their computer science abilities with skills specific to another domain to solve problems in that domain. Examples include computing with a business focus (e.g., management information systems) and computing with a natural science focus (e.g., computational physics).
    • Computer Science
      The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) program focuses on the concepts and techniques used in the design and development of advanced software systems. Students in this program explore the conceptual underpinnings of Computer Science—its fundamental algorithms, programming languages, operating systems, and software engineering techniques. In addition, students choose from a rich set of electives that includes computer graphics, artificial intelligence, database systems, computer architecture, and computer networks, among other topics. As with the introductory sequence, these advanced courses stress "hands-on" learning by doing.

    I'm leaning towards Computer Information Systems, although I think that I would enjoy Computer Science the most out of those options. I still haven't met with my counselor and finalized my schedule, so nothing is too late or out of question.

    I'm open to all suggestions, comments, and criticisms, and I really appreciate any input you may have!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2012 #2
    Computer information systems is more suited for someone who wants to work in the business field, do computer science instead.
  4. Jul 1, 2012 #3
    I would go for either applied mathematics or computer science. Take whichever one is more interesting to you. The math route is more useful for a physics major, however, since any needed computer science can be self-taught. In an applied math route, you will take the following useful courses:

    ODE and PDE
    Linear Algebra
    Numerical Methods
    Statistics and Probability
    Electives that may include "Applied Math for Physics" or something

    You should acquire basic computer skills in your physics and math programs. You can take a computer science class or two as well.
  5. Jul 1, 2012 #4


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    Hey pwdrmntainski and welcome to the forums.

    I'd recommend also not doing Computer Information Systems and choosing between Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

    Both are extremely good majors to pick from, but given your leaning towards the Computer subjects, Computer Science IMO should be picked over Computer Information Systems.

    Both (hopefully) will keep you busy and give you some decent experience. If you get the chance to take subjects that focus on both, I would recommend this too. Anything where you have to presentations whether orally or written, is good too.
  6. Jul 2, 2012 #5
    Cool technique. It seems we get into these difficulties with back lighting all the time. I've seen fibers that are woven and come together to have an LED on one end. Also, Alekctut there's the usage of multiple LEDs behind a grating or electroluminescent material, though I find ELs have bright and dark places.
  7. Jul 2, 2012 #6
    What about computational physics? That's an option if he wants to double major with Computer Information Systems. From what I've seen, computational physics is beneficial because, as probelms in physics become more and more complex, you can no longer solve them with just a paper and pencil.
  8. Jul 2, 2012 #7
    You could take Mathematics or computer science as a double major.
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