How to Choose a Major: Physics vs. Math

Recorded Tuesday, January 5 at 12:00 AM

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About this livestream


Join us as Elias Miller discusses the differences between math and physics majors to help you decide which is the better one for you.

We will discuss what kinds of opportunities you should pursue in high school if you want to major in one of these subjects, what your college curriculum might look like, and what careers will ultimately be available to you. From discussing what APs you should take to the salary you might make, this session will be full of helpful information to advise you in your academic and career paths.

Your host

Undergrad College: Harvard University '17

Major: Music

Graduate College: University of Michigan, M.M.

Work Experience: Now in my fourth year at CollegeVine, I have helped dozens of students gain acceptance to their top-choice schools and have also advised and mentored thousands more through my livestreams. Apart from my work at CV, I am also a professional conductor and a multi-instrumentalist. I currently serve as the music director of the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, and I have led symphonic concerts and operatic productions throughout the United States.

My Admissions Story: Initially interested in pursuing a career as a performing cellist, I applied almost exclusively to music schools with dual and double degree options and ultimately enrolled in the Tufts University/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program. Unhappy with the combined program and worried I'd never feel like I was fully a student at either school, I logged back into in October of my freshman year. I can't say I went about the transfer process in the smartest way (I only applied to two schools!), but Harvard miraculously accepted me (or 'excepted me' as I wrote in a celebratory Facebook post that day - no one ever let me live that one down), and the rest was history.

Audience questions

These are questions from the audience that we had time to answer during the live session. If you have any other questions, you can request an answer from Elias and other CollegeVine experts in an upcoming livestream or on the Q&A Forum anytime.
9:17@anonymous:Will we talk about astrophysics at all? That's what I want to major in.
15:49@anonymous:You're frozen.
16:02@anonymous:so is physics 2 recommended?
16:45@anonymous:What if your school doesn't offer *any* AP Physics?
17:35@Revolutionary:Does it make sense to take both AP Physics 1&2 as well as the C courses
23:42@Revolutionary:Is it more compelling to take AP Physics 1&2 together with the C courses, rather than say honors physics and AP Physics C
24:24@anonymous:What about PhD?
37:02@anonymous:Lol I dont want to major in math but I want to major in either physics, Neursciences, or even computer science
37:12@anonymous:AP Physics I and II use algebra. AP Physics C uses calculus. AP Physics I is the equivalent of Honors Physics so some schools have one or the other but not both. AP Physics I and Honors Physics will prepare you for AP Physics C. There are actually two parts to AP Physics C, one is mechanics and one is electromagnetism. Many high schools have AP Physics Mechanics, few have AP Physics Electromagnetism. You will want to take AP Physics Mechanics if possible. If you complete it, then you can take Electromagnetism.
45:34@anonymous:Reed Hastings, founder of Netflix, was a math major at Bowdoin College, a liberal arts college.
46:02@anonymous:Some topics like Rotational Kinematics and Dynamics are not covered in Honors Physics.
46:49@anonymous:Reed graduated 1983
48:19@anonymous:Who is your mom? I was Bowdoin '84. Never mind, I know you can't answer.
48:30@anonymous:Right now I am taking AP Physics 1 as a freshman, should I jump to Physics 2 next year or Physics C Mechanics. I am concurrently taking Calc AB
50:20@anonymous:Would you have any tips for reaching out to physics professors for shadowing/research opportunities?
52:56@anonymous:Is there any way that the Earth and Environmental sciences can be linked to these two fields? I'm interested in Geophysics and Geochemistry, but I'm not sure how to approach this since I also want to pursue math and computer science


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