BA Physics roadmap?

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Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:12 pm

BA Physics roadmap?

Postby radioeyes » Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:26 pm

I'm a rising senior in a tiny liberal arts college, and definitely want to go to grad school upon graduation in May '06. Being a BA in physics and math instead of a BS in either means I don't have as many classes, but I have some great internships. Here's where I stand:

2 semesters of "intro" physics (kinematics, waves, thermo, electronics)
"Intro" E&M (not really useful)
"Advanced" E&M (i.e. Griffiths Book)
Modern (intro quantum, atomic, particle, etc)
Classical Mech (marion book)
Special Relativity

You'll note that Thermo and Quantum are nowhere to be seen. I take Quantum the fall of my senior year (the time when the October test occurs) and Thermo the SPRING of my senior year (during the April Test). Apparently my college is pretty good at cramming the necessary quantum in the period from august to test day in oct.

I'm already at a disadvantage being from a lib. arts college. Should I just forget about getting a good score this fall and wait until April (setting me back a year), or do you think I can learn enough Thermo from my intro books and knowledge of atomic physics?

Suggestions for either path would be greatly appreciated!

Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:12 pm

Postby radioeyes » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:43 am

gee, it's been a while and lots of people have viewed this, but no input? Is there even anyone else here who's getting a BA rather than a BS?

Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:30 pm

Re: BA Physics roadmap?

Postby egret » Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:46 pm

I'm only an undergraduate going into my 3rd year, but for what it's worth I'm under the impression that the thermal physics questions on the GRE are at a much lower level than 90% of the stuff you'll be doing in your thermal physics course (I took thermal physics). If I were you I'd just read the first couple chapters of a thermo book (1st law of thermodynamics, entropy, thermodynamic identity, etc), or even the thermodynamics section of an intro physics book. I'm not sure how much statistical mechanics is on the test but I don't believe it's much. As for quantum, you can just read ahead while taking the course until you take the test.

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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:50 am

Postby ketur90 » Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:06 am

IMO, Thermo is one of the easisest topics in Physics, at least at the level required for the GRE. It is certainly easier than Quantum. If you feel comfortable learning Quantum from a book ahead of when it is taught in class, doing the same for Thermo should not be a challenge for you.

As far as statistical mech., there is very little of it on the test and what is there is conceptual in nature rather than mathematical (i.e. what is a Bose-Einstien cond., not what equations can be used to tell if a star will collapse into a white dwarf or neutron star.)

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