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Physics Major at Emory?

ExpendableAssetExpendableAsset Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
edited December 2013 in Emory University
How good is the physics department and professors at Emory?
Post edited by ExpendableAsset on

Replies to: Physics Major at Emory?

  • ExpendableAssetExpendableAsset Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    I'll try to answer my own question...

    The Physics Department at Emory is small. A lot of the core faculty are relatively old, and aren't Full Professors. Those kinds of professors tend to just teach ('cause they all have Associate, and from a different time) and not do research, so there's a good likelihood that they haven't fully kept up with the new advancements in Physics. Compared to, say, Vanderbilt's Physics Department, Emory's is unimpressive. VU has a lot of big shot Physics professors (who do teach undergrads), and the department is larger, too.

    I guess most students don't come here to study Physics--probably for a good reason. There's a B.S. in Applied Physics here, though, for those who are interested in the Dual Degree program with Georgia Tech.

    P.S. There's at least Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I and Quantum Mechanics II offered at Emory, though, in case a future Physics major is wondering.
  • ExpendableAssetExpendableAsset Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Bump. I want to hear from someone else.
  • aigiqinfaigiqinf Registered User Posts: 4,032 Senior Member
    This all depends on what your goals are. If you want to do physics as a pre-med, this probably isn't a bad place to do it. If you want a PhD in physics from cal tech, Emory probably isn't the place to go.
  • countzandercountzander Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    There are only, like, two-dozen physics majors every year, and they're all Asian.
  • xraymancsxraymancs Forum Champion Graduate School Posts: 4,602 Forum Champion
    Given what you have described, there are probably better choices for physics. My own department at IIT is relatively small and we have about 12 majors a year but we have a Ph.D. program and lots of funded research. Our undergraduates have a lot of opportunities to become involved in research alongside graduate students and they are extremely well-prepared for graduate school if they choose to go.

    That being said, if the department has a solid curriculum, you can get a fine education there adn go on to a selective graduate program if you choose. The best thing is to go visit and see if it fits you well or not.
  • PhilovitistPhilovitist Registered User Posts: 2,739 Senior Member
    Ouch. These reviews are pretty scathing. x.x
  • aluminum_boataluminum_boat Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    There's closer to 30 people in each upper level physics course I think. I'm guessing they're all physics majors.
    And none of the ones I know are Asian.
    I know 4.

    One of my best friends here is a physics major. He's doing CS as well now to make it easier to find employment, and said that if he could do it all over, he wouldn't do physics.
  • XaneseXanese Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Your information was correct maybe 5-10 years ago, but is obsolete now. Check out the Department's webpage. All of the "Associate" professors who used to only teach have retired, and there are now quite a few new research-active Professors. Overall, the Department is much younger than Vanderbilt's, and there is quite a bit of research activity in Biophysics and Soft Condensed Matter. I also personally know several Physics undergrads from Emory who went to PhDs at UChicago, Harvard, and the likes of top grad schools.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    Xanese: You're correct. The students who do physics typically get into those schools (very strong students) and also physics is pre-Ph.D heavy. However, it is much weaker than say, chemistry and I guess, even math(which is huge as I learned from a fellow poster ;) ). I think the Vanderbilt-Emory comparison is somewhat valid. Theirs is likely stronger, but I don't know by how much. Regardless, they have us in physics by a bit as we have them in chemistry (excluding chemical engineering which we don't have) by a bit. With that said, the teaching, especially at the advanced and intermediate level is known to be very solid here.

    Also, a significant (if not most) portion of the physics faculty does research as Xanese. And even the "associate" professors did research (maybe as part of a larger group) from what I remember. "Adjunct" and "Associate" tend to be very tricky titles that are deceptive.

    Also, Expendable, I'm going to be blunt about undergraduate science education. Unfortunately, even at elites (where their heart and intentions are in the right place by trying to give UGs the famous and well-known professors doing "modern" research), it does not mean you'll be exposed to "modern" applications in their class. Busy science faculty members will sometimes be rigorous, but only teach more or less classical content unless the course title suggests otherwise. It's actually more likely that a lecturer or teaching faculty will try to go the step beyond and teach you more modern applications or challenge you better (often researchers underestimate abilities of students, simply don't care, or go way over your head with no time to help outside of class). Teaching faculty often try a bit harder to make material relevant, modern, and challenging (but still doable because they have time for students). Don't get confused. You may be awed that a certain research faculty member graces you with their presence for 3 times a week, but many will be mediocre (or even bad) teachers that may suck the life out of an otherwise stimulating course.
  • theatregeek234theatregeek234 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    I have a friend who is currently a Physics Major at Emory and I just want to say on behalf of him, that the Emory faculty, though not the nations best, will challenge you.

    Also a note, if you cannot find a class at Emory you can take any of the classes GT offers to their students as part of the ARCHE program without any extra applications while you are a student at Emory.
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