hopgoodbritney wrote:Hi everyone,

I am currently a ChemE student that is hoping to pursue a PhD in physics. I'd like to know what specific courses are required to be considered for admission coming from a different field. If anyone can help me out with this I'd really appreciate it! If you need more info from me please let me know

(Also, I still have the opportunity to take these courses, this is why I'm asking!)

Hi Britney,

I think for the basics you will need the following courses:

Classical Mechanics, course(s) towards completing the book of Marion & Thornton

Electricity and Magnetism, course(s) towards completing the book of Griffiths' Electrodynamics

Quantum Mechanics, course(s) towards completing the book of Griffiths' Quantum Mechanics

Statistical Mechanics, course(s) towards completing the book of Mandl

Afterwards, depending on your direction:

condensed matter : Solid State Physics, course(s) towards completing the book of Charles Kittel.

nuclear and particle physics: Nuclear physics, course(s) towards completing the book of Kane and Griffiths' Elementary particles.

relativity, gravitational physics: Relativity, course(s) towards completing the book of Hartle + related advanced math courses available

You will need to pass the pGRE later. Usually a standard freshman textbook: Young and Freedman's university physics + the classical and quantum mechanics textbook i wrote above will suffice.

Alternatively, if you want official information from Caltech:

http://pma.caltech.edu/information-for-applicants-2What level of undergraduate preparation is necessary for admission?

Mechanics at about the level of Goldstein's Classical Mechanics; electromagnetism at the level of Reitz and Milford's Foundations of Electromagnetic Theory; atomic and nuclear physics at the level of R.B. Leighton's Modern Physics; introductory quantum mechanics at the level of Dicke and Wittke's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, and advanced calculus at the level of T.M. Apostol's Mathematical Analysis.

I have not read the other textbooks listed here, however, I know Goldstein is really hard. In my institution, Goldstein is used at graduate level. So, I do not think Caltech's standard is applicable for most of us. I certainly did not need Goldstein's level to attain a 980 score in my pGRE.

Caltech peeps, please don't bash me if you would be willing to elaborate your condition (which semester you are in, what branch of physics you are considering, etc), I'll be glad to share more information that may help you.