Minovsky wrote:If your main interest is theoretical/math, I would choose math over chem. Also, I tend to see more physics degrees combined with math rather than chem, so maybe that indicates something? (I don't really know, its just my impression)
1. Are you saying that you could get both applied math and chem bachelors? I don't think that an applied math BS is useless.
2. I think this is a good option, but I can't say whether or not its any better or worse than 1.
3. If you're going to go ahead with the Physics BA, why even keep the chem degree? Is there a reason why you can't drop it if you pick up Physics?
I would suggest doing just Applied Math and filling any elective spaces with physics courses. I'd also try to keep your options open, maybe you'll find something in chem that you want to study in grad school.
Minovsky wrote:I'm a little confused on your situation. Why is it that you need to have two degrees? It doesn't matter if your degree is called BA or BS. Its a bachelor's degree. They're both viewed as the same. Many people only get a BA in 4 years, its the norm. In your first post you said that you couldn't do a BA in Physics. Has something changed? If your goal is physics, I don't understand why you're clinging on to a chem degree and not attempting a physics degree. Is there a reason why you can't drop the chem?
You need a full undergraduate degree to go to graduate school. Does a BA at your school not count as a "full degree" for some reason? It should, it is a Bachelor's degree after all. In my experience, there is very little difference between a BA and a BS.
What ever your degree is, try to get as much research experience as possible in your remaining time at school. That is generally considered the most important thing in grad school applications. What your degree is called isn't really that important as long as you have at least some of the basic upper-level physics courses.
Minovsky wrote:Getting a more rigorous BS in chem isn't going to help you get into a physics program. If you can make it work, I would go for a Physics BA rather than a Chemistry BS. Core physics classes are Quantum/Modern, E&M, Mechanics, Thermo/Stat. Mech., and Lab. Having modern, e&m, and mechanics for only transferring into a physics program your last year isn't bad.
Math Methods should give you enough math for physics if its a physics course. You don't need analysis or proofs for physics, even for fundamental theory. You should take linear algebra if similar stuff is not covered in your math methods course, but its not the end of the world if you don't. If you're looking more at math than physics, not having analysis would be a handicap. In any case, grad schools do say that if any of your background is lacking, you have a chase to make it up by taking advanced undergrad classes. All the upper level physics classes at my school indicate that grad students are allowed to take them if they need to make up for any deficiencies.
What courses can you take next semester? It is not uncommon for students not to take some key advanced courses until their last semester. You can tell the admissions committee which courses you plan to take in the Spring if they don't already show up on your transcript when you register for them.
I think the key for you is to look into less competitive schools, you are right to be concerned about your background if you're only looking at top tier universities.
BA only - modern, analytical mech, EM, quantum, methods, elective, some math
BS chem w/ BA - modern, classical (the less rigorous mech/EM combo), quantum, elective. Not much room for math
BS chem with 'close to a BA' - modern, EM, quantum, methods if it's important (but I can now take stats/prob, linear, or proofs instead) and up to 2 electives. I won't have analytical mech, and I will have pchem I and II.
End goal: particle/nuclear, what comes after quantum
bfollinprm wrote:Physical Chemistry doesn't cover quantum the way you need it to for physics grad school. You need to understand bra/ket notation, loads of operator theory, derivations of the uncertainty principle, and loads of other things. The methods learned in a physics QM course are applicable in almost any field of physics theory, and without a proper undergraduate background in it there's no way I would accept you into a graduate physics program (you'd never pass the quals).
Drop the chem major. It's useless unless you want to do chemistry or something like energy physics. I tried to take pchem as an undergrad to beef up my thermo, it was a waste of time (and our chemistry program sent way more students to grad school than our physics program, so it should have been a pretty rigorous example of a pchem class). We spent a month doing derivatives at a point, and the quantum was a total joke (not to mention that chemists use a different basis than physicists for their spherical harmonics).
The most important classes (the ones that adcoms want to know the book you used, etc) you take in undergrad are (in rough order):
1. Upper Level Quantum
2a. Statistical Physics
2b. Upper Level Electromagnetism
4. Hamiltonian Dynamics/Advanced newtonian dynamics
After that, it really helps to have thermo, optics, nuclear physics, and special relativity, but not required. Make sure you take classes that fill these 4; if you aren't sure a class will, post the book the class uses and it'll be easy for someone here to make the call for you. You should also be banging on doors begging to be let in to every class you need to graduate, if you're a desperate enough senior they'll pull in an extra chair, or even set up an independent study to fill a requirement (i mean, they have finals made up to give you, and you can learn on your own).
Rnth12 wrote:I'm interested in grad physics.
WhoaNonstop wrote:Rnth12 wrote:I'm interested in grad physics.
Forgive me for not reading any of the responses.
Does this not detail what degree you should shoot for?
bfollinprm wrote: so I still advise for the BA
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