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Home » Switching from math to physics or vice versa (8 facts)

Switching from math to physics or vice versa (8 facts)

In this post we’ll be talking about switching from math to physics major or vice versa, mentioning the obstacles and things you should consider before making this jump.

switching from math to physics 

If you are thinking to switch from math to physics here are the 4 facts that you should consider:

1 – when switching from math to physics is easier 

If you are studying Applied Mathematics it would be easier to switch from math to physics, Because the activities that you do in your Applied Physics mathematics courses are very similar to physics minors especially when you choose the physics specialty that has relevance to your applied math program you’ve been studying.

 For instance, if you’ve been studying Applied Mathematics in electrical engineering and doing some research and tests about waves and frequencies you will find a switch easier. if you choose to minor in electromagnetic physics specialty.

But it would be difficult when you decide to change completely from Applied Mathematics in electrical engineering to quantum mechanics in physics studying physics computation or Quantum particles,  you will not be finding any relevance between your previous mathematics courses and your current physics minor. 

2 – when switching from math to physics is harder 

If you are a Study in pure mathematics you will find a lot of hardships in switching to physics, because the physics major involves a lot of applied science like Applied Mathematics and applied physics. For instance, doing hand work in labs such as experiments and research.

In the beginning, you would find some difficulties to solve practical issues, you will lack some intuition to deal with physics topics, requiring a little bit of training and practice. The best decision is the switch from math to pure or theoretical physics like quantum mechanics or physics relativity if I got my bachelor’s in mathematics and am looking for grad schools.

 on the other hand, if you are an undergrad student You have to train yourself to learn how to Implement mathematics in physics.

  for instance,  if you are used to proving abstract equations,  in physics major You would be required to use physics to determine the speed or an object’s acceleration, and how much the light portion is refracted from a prism,  so it is a different perspective that requires some Logics and physics background in addition to the mathematics that you carry on.

3 – It depends on the level of math and the area of physics.

If you already have a bachelor’s in mathematics and are interested in obtaining a master’s in physics you will be taking advantage of your mathematics background in master’s physics courses. You just have to choose the right domain that will align with your mathematics background.

 For instance,  if you  studied pure mathematics you would likely be doing well in these physics minors:

These branches involve a lot of mathematics, you’ll find a lot of relevance between what you studied in math courses. But you still have a chance to choose Applied Physics courses if you are interested and passionate about a certain domain, and ready to retake some undergrad physics courses to minor in it. 

On the other hand, if you studied applied mathematics you will not be finding any issues to make this transition because you mostly be doing physics and Applied Mathematics courses without noticing.

4 – it requires to have some intuition

If you didn’t concentrate in high school physics courses you might be lacking some intuition and logic about physics, so you have to retake some basic physics courses to build a foundation like algebra and calculus-based physics as a useful alternative to move your needle.

switching from physics to math 

These are the 4 facts for people who are thinking to switch from physics to math:

1-   it has more job potential to switch from physics to math

If you are thinking to get more job opportunities by switching from physics to math you are right, physics is not a great major for students who are interested to get hired as soon as possible if you pursue a physics major you would likely be forced to take grad school like master and Ph.D. which is the time, money and effort costly.

Even though getting a Ph.D. in physics will not guarantee you get a job,  according to the BLS,  there are only 1600 new annual occupations offered in the United States which is a very poor number making this branch more competitive and hard to get into.

Having a major in mathematics is an excellent idea because it’s going to allow you to work in some blowing Industries like computer science or software development. This industry is booming. 

 But the most brilliant thing is if you are a mathematician you would have a lot of opportunities to work in different Industries like data science,  cryptography,  machine learning, deep learning, or computer vision.

The list is still long but the most interesting thing you have to do is to combine your mathematics background with programming and some software engineering foundations like algorithms and programming languages. 

2 – the math of physics is different from a math major

You have to consider that the math used in physics is different and the more difficult the subject math you study in the mathematics major.  In math majors you would have more abstract topics to complete like analysis and abstract algebra,   they offer highly proof-based courses which you should consider and prepare for it if you don’t like math proofs.

A lot of topics that don’t require groups in your physics major,  while being required in your math major.  you would have math homework every week that involves a lot of proof which sometimes can be tough to solve.

 if you aren’t interested to study a lot of math we do not recommend or make this switch

3 – good to run from labs and experiments

If you don’t like to do a test or experiment,  and sometimes make your hand dirty, switching from physics to math would be a good idea. All the jobs you will be applying for are going to be based on solving math problems like in finance, economy, or computer science.