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Physics, General


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What to Expect

Unlike some of the more popular technical majors such as electrical engineering and computer science, physics students have the unique advantage of interacting closely with professors.

"What I like best about my school's program is that almost all the professors are very accessible," says Sarah Splitek. She studied physics at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

"Also, there is a strong emphasis on undergraduate research. It's pretty easy to find work with professors if you want it."

"I like that the department is small enough that I have a casual rapport with most of the faculty members and post-doctorate and graduate students," says Jan Rubak. Rubak took a double degree in physics and applied and pure math.

The third year is the most intense -- that's when classes go from general to specific. "This is probably the year that people feel like they're working the hardest -- course material becomes highly theoretical. I've heard the third year called the crux of the physics degree," Rubak says.

"By the fourth year," she says, "the course material is highly theoretical, but having survived the third year, students should be prepared to deal with it."

Survival Tips

Be organized. Know when projects are due and tests are scheduled, and arrange for adequate preparation time.

"I've dealt with it by being organized and starting my homework almost a week before it's due. It's almost impossible to wait until the last minute," says Splitek.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare is to take as many math classes in high school as possible.


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