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Bachelor's in Physics after Bachelor's in Engineering

  1. Aug 6, 2015 #1

    Alr

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    Hello everyone
    I'm currently an engineering major and I wish to pursue a PhD in physics. I've seen this question a lot here, but what I'm wondering about is: after finishing my engineering degree I want to apply for a bachelor's in physics not for grad school. is that a wise choice? considering that I like to start things from the beginning and I feel like if I go straight to grad school, I'd have to make up for too many courses that it'd be better to just get a bachelor's.
    Also, would it be possible to skip the first year (classes I already took) owing to my engineering degree?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2015 #2
    To earn a BS in physics, you need to earn credit in all the required courses. If your university accepts the transfer credit, you do not need to retake courses you already earned credit for during an engineering degree.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2015 #3

    Alr

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    I still haven't applied or decided on the universities. So I guess I need to ask them, each, about this issue right?
     
  5. Aug 6, 2015 #4
    Absolutely. Some schools don't like to discuss transferrability of existing credits until after a student is admitted.

    But it is in the student's best interests to get definite answers about which credits will transfer before accepting admission to the school.
     
  6. Aug 6, 2015 #5

    Alr

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    I took note of that. Thank you.
     
  7. Aug 6, 2015 #6
    It may be better for you to enroll in the graduate school while you make up any required courses rather than pursue a second bachelors. My experience is in the US, and in the US typically far less financial aid is available for a second bachelors. If you are enrolled in the graduate school, then you can usually take advantage of whatever financial aid is available for the graduate program, whether that be teaching assistantships, graduate assistantships, grants, or scholarships. You need to take the same coursework either way, but the way you pay for it can be very different depending on the path you choose.
     
  8. Aug 6, 2015 #7

    Alr

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    This is an issue I've been thinking about. But the problem is, enrolling in the graduate program using my BS in engineering will lower my chances to get into high rank colleges, and that's because my qualifications are relatively low (no research experience, GPA around 3.2/4, etc). But my high school credentials are really high, not to mention the addition of me having a BS in engineering, if that's considered a plus. That's how I think about it, but please correct me if i'm wrong.
     
  9. Aug 6, 2015 #8
    Do you have a good reason to think that a second bachelors degree will tell a different story from your first bachelors in engineering? If so, is that a good use of your time and money? Is there another way to achieve the same goal? These are questions you should ask yourself, and make sure you get some external validation on your answer.

    If you want to signal to a graduate physics program that you are a good candidate, better than your undergrad GPA would indicate, then you need to get a better than expected score on the GRE. The score you can get on the GRE will be a good indicator of what kind of program you should aim for. Solid letters of recommendation are a must as well. A lack of research experience is a negative, this is one thing a second bachelors could potentially provide, or perhaps it would be more efficient to get a MS. At this point, no one cares what your high school education was.
     
  10. Aug 6, 2015 #9

    Alr

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    I don't think I can get a very impressive GRE Physics score since I'm not a physics major. Studying physics on my own is almost impossible, due to the intensiveness of my engineering program (keeping in mind that I only have about a year to take the GRE test). Letters of recommendations will obviously come from engineering professors not physics.
    If they don't care about high school education, how would they compare a candidate with a BS, with another having a high school certificate?
     
  11. Aug 6, 2015 #10

    BobG

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    I take it you're not interested in a Physics PhD because of the money. Depending on the engineering field you're in, you can probably make as much as an engineer as you can as a physicist, especially if you get a masters degree later on in your career (getting a masters too early really doesn't help as much as a masters later on that makes your education more current).

    Unless, of course, you're thinking of entering into the world of finance. The highest paid Physics PhDs are those that go into some other career field than physics, finance being one of those fields, as they'll snap up anyone that's completed a high level of math (kind of like the number of people with law degrees that become something other than a lawyer).

    Take a look at what your career prospects are before you decide it's worth starting all over - especially if you'll be financing all of this with student loans.
     
  12. Aug 6, 2015 #11

    Alr

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    No. Maybe my post wasn't clear enough, but my goal is a career in physics, and I'm definitely going for a PhD and money is't an issue at all. I'm Considering a BS in physics first because: 1) I need to take too many courses to catch up with other physics majors in case I go for a masters directly 2) as I said above, my chances of getting into higher rank colleges is (I believe) better when applying for BS rather than grad school. 3) taking a second BS could take about 2 years if they would transfer credit already earned.
     
  13. Aug 6, 2015 #12

    vela

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    Why not get the BS in physics at the school you're currently at? I don't see the point of going through an admissions process for a second BS only to have to go through the admissions process again for grad school.
     
  14. Aug 7, 2015 #13

    Alr

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    That's one possible solution. I would still have to go through the admissions process though. But I would also like to try my luck at better colleges.
     
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