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### Undergraduate preparation for graduate school

Posted: **Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:40 am**

by **bluefire**

Hi.I am a college sophomore and I am currently taking the following courses:

Introduction to Real Analysis

Differential Equations

Thermodynamics

Mechanics

Advanced Calculus(I had to take a semester off for personal reasons)

Is this good preparation for graduate school, considering I will have quantum mechanics, advanced electromagnetism, statistical themodynamics, and other advanced courses by the time I graduate?

Does anyone know how graduate committees gauge the rigor of someone's major compared to other applicants?

Also, could someone give me advice on things that I could do now to improve my chances of getting into preferably a top graduate school(especially Caltech) or graduate school in general?

Posted: **Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:19 am**

by **Relativist**

I would HIGHLY suggest you take a PDE course next semester and if you can a complex variables course, or if available a "mathematical physics" course that covers the two topics I just mentioned. With those mathematical tools you will be more prepared for the upper division physics coursework you should take. What are those courses? upper division mechanics (where you do Lagrangian & Hamiltonian stuff), Quantum Mechanics intro (probably also using Griffiths), an upper division E&M course (probably using Griffiths ), and a Thermo & Stat-mech course. I would also suggest doing your best to make sure you do well in QM, and try and take a graduate level mathematical physics course your senior year.

Posted: **Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:03 am**

by **bluefire**

The Mechanics course I'm taking is intermediate level. We cover the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formalism.In fact, we are covering that material right now. I am scheduled to take a mathematical physics course first semester of next year. In fact, I'm scheduled to take a year of complex analysis next year also. I plan to take a PDE course next year also.

My senior year I am scheduled to take,I believe, advanced mechanics (at the level of Goldstein, the course uses Fetter's Theorectical Mechanics of Particles and Continua,is that at the same level of Goldstein?). I am also scheduled to take advanced electromagnetism(at the level of Griffiths Introduction to Electrodynamics) and advanced quantum mechanics(at the level of Griffiths Introduction to Quantum Mechanics). As for math courses, I will have the opportunity to take tensor calculus(Calculus on Manifolds) by the first semester of my senior year.

Does anyone know if Goldstein's mechanics is equivalent to Fetter? Is Jackson's electromagnetism equivalent to Griffiths electromagnetism?

Is my preparation "good enough" for a top graduate school or graduate school in general?

Thanks, Relativist for answering my earlier post.

Posted: **Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:12 am**

by **Relativist**

I have not seen the Feter text. Goldstien is a graduate level text. Marion & Thorton is a typical undergraduate uperdivision Mechanics textbook. Jackson is a graduate level text. Both the Griffiths books you mention I would consider upper division undergraduate books.

Posted: **Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:23 am**

by **bluefire**

Apparently, the advanced mechanics course uses Goldstein as a reference. I'm told that the problems in Fetter is easier but, they cover the same material?We're using Marion and Thorton right now for my mechanics course. So, Jackson is more advanced than Griffiths?

Is Dicke and Wittke Intro to Quantum equivalent to Griffiths Intro to Quantum?

Also, veering a little off subject, why does Caltech require mathematical analysis at the level of T.M. Apostol for grad school admissions? Caltech must be a brutal graduate school!