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Physics Bachelor's in Theoretical Astrophysics at 18?

  1. Jul 6, 2009 #1
    I wanted to know if it would be at all possible to get my bachelor's degree in theoretical astrophysics at the time I'm 18. I'll be 16 when I graduate this year from high school, and I'm taking 2 dual credit college classes (the max a student can take). I'm also taking AP Physics and AP Chemistry, and from what I understand is that if I make a high enough scores on the final exams, I will have the choice of getting some college hours from those scores. I plan on going to college the summer I graduate, and going to college year round after that. My birthday is the 23rd of September. Would it be possible to get my bachelor's degree when I'm 18? Also, if I want a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics, do I have to get Bachelor's, Master's, and then a PhD?
     
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  3. Jul 6, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    No.

    There is no such thing as a BS in "theoretical astrophysics". Bachelors degrees are not this specialized: they will be in physics or astronomy.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2009 #3

    Wax

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    It's possible to get a 4 year degree in 2 years but I'm not sure if you'd get any sleep. You can test out of any college course you want, you just have to pay for the exam fee and pass the exam. You can pass out of your entire first year if you are familiar with Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, and maybe even English. I had a friend who passed out of both Organic Chemistry classes just by studying for the exams, even though he never had any formal training for those courses. On top of that, you can take a maximum of around 25 hours a semester but you have to get an approval from your dean. I know of one person who took 23 hours in a semester. I'm not sure how well she did but I'm not one to judge.
     
  5. Jul 6, 2009 #4

    cristo

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    Surely that's not the way to take an undergraduate degree, though, cramming for an exam without attending any classes or looking through any theory. Sure, you may get a degree early, but you'll have a very flimsy knowledge of your subject.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2009 #5

    Wax

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    Some people just like to be challenged and the OP sounds like that type of person. He's finishing high school at 16 and he's taking AP courses. Why waste your time in a full semester when you can just spend one month studying to pass out the course? If you are able enough to pass a college placement exam and you never had any formal training in it, I wouldn't call it flimsy knowledge. I'd say that your IQ is higher then the general college population and your time is better spent elsewhere.

    Also, some Universities offer Mini semesters that last for 3 or 4 weeks for certain courses. They are generally offered between regular semesters.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  7. Jul 6, 2009 #6

    cristo

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    Because "passing out the course" isn't what university is about. University is about studying and gaining knowledge to apply to later courses, or research, not studying just enough to pass exams. If you just fly through exams without studying courses properly, then you will come into difficulty later on in your studies when you realise you are lacking fundamental knowledge.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2009 #7

    Wax

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    Can't you agree that a college placement exam is about what knowledge you know and what you don't know? Summer school is only one month and mini semesters are only 3 to 4 weeks, would you consider that flimsy knowledge? If you spend one month on your own as compared to one month in summer school and you pass out the course, then what's really the difference? In theory, placement exams are harder then course exams, since the faculty make up the exams. You'd be an advantage to have only your course professor provide the exam.
     
  9. Jul 6, 2009 #8
    whats the point of doing this if ur not going to be healthy enough to enjoy it?
     
  10. Jul 6, 2009 #9

    Wax

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    :biggrin: Yeah I kinda agree with you but who are we to judge the OP's capabilities? He could be a genius for all we know and he is clearly on his A game for finishing high school 2 years before most students.

    Link to someone who finished community college at age 11. (Monday, June 08, 2009)
    http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2009/june/08/yehey/top_stories/20090608top7.html [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Jul 6, 2009 #10
    College is very fun. I'd pity you if you try to rush through it in two years - you'd be missing out on some of the best times in your life.
     
  12. Jul 6, 2009 #11

    cristo

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    The reason I'm disagreeing is probably because I'm not from the US. Where I'm from, you can't "pass out" of core classes, regardless of whether you have studied things in your own time or in your high school, and you can't take courses in a month over the summer holiday, since you're clearly not going to have the same fundamental knowledge as someone who's taken a course for a semester, or even for a year.

    Perhaps that is standard for undergraduate degrees in the US, though; I'm not sure. I guess I'll leave you people with experience of the system to comment further on the OP's situation.
     
  13. Jul 6, 2009 #12

    Wax

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    The average number of years most students spend in college is six years so it's not really a big deal. There are very few who are capable to finish in 4 years, not to mention 3 or less.
     
  14. Jul 6, 2009 #13

    Pengwuino

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    Why do you want to get your degrees so early? So you can work for an extra 2 years in your life? :rofl:
     
  15. Jul 6, 2009 #14

    diazona

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    4 years is standard, in the US at least. Probably 95% or more of the people I know did their bachelor's degrees in 4 years.

    With respect to testing out of core classes (or any classes) or taking summer classes, it depends on which college you're at. Different colleges have different policies in place. (again, at least in the US)
     
  16. Jul 6, 2009 #15

    Pengwuino

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    In the US, 4 years isn't the average unfortunately. Our university is a 6-year graduation average even though I know plenty of people who graduated in 4.

    As for the thread, some universities will not confer a degree to you if you haven't actually done a certain number of units in their entirety at the university. That is no testing out, no credits from other schools or AP, etc. Our university is 60 units which is 2 years worth of courses if I remember right.
     
  17. Jul 6, 2009 #16

    Wax

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    Sorry but you are misinformed. You can find this information anywhere from google.
    33.1 percent of students who started college full-time in fall 1996 graduated in four years. The study also indicated that 16.5 percent graduated in five years and 5.1 percent finished in six years. The remaining students took longer to earn a degree or never finished at all

    http://www.dailytargum.com/2.8663/more-students-fail-to-graduate-in-four-years-1.1514424




    You also have to take into account how many students start off at community colleges and when they start there, they start in remedial courses which set them back at least one year.
    http://www.oppaga.state.fl.us/Summary.aspx?reportNum=07-31



    You can read more here if interested.
    http://www.aei.org/paper/100019 [Broken]

    College is no joke and if you have no idea what you want to major in or what your capabilities are then you will not succeed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Jul 6, 2009 #17

    diazona

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    I fail to see why you're saying I'm misinformed. Every American college I know of assumes a four-year schedule by default - for what it's worth, [URL [Broken][/URL] says "Bachelor's degrees in the United States are typically designed to be completed in four years of full-time study." Even the data you cited show that more students finish their bachelor's degrees in four years than in any other duration. (I'm not claiming that 4 years is the average graduation time.)

    Maybe some universities have a longer standard graduation time, like 5 or 6 years. But they would be in the minority.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Jul 6, 2009 #18

    Pengwuino

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    Your post was a response to him saying 6 years was the average so I think it is safe to assume you meant to reply with your own understanding of the average was. Yes 4 years is a standard course layout for universities, but 6 years is probably about the average time people take to complete their bachelors. Not much else to be said. I think we all think that so nothing to argue haha
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  20. Jul 6, 2009 #19

    lisab

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    This was my thought too. Not that there's anything wrong with that; more worker bees = more taxpayers :biggrin:.

    To the OP: I suppose if you're really bored with taking the normal route and you have an irrepressible drive, you have to do what you have to do. But you shouldn't see a university education as simply a check list of tasks to get through as fast as you can.

    I agree with cristo...if you hurry through, I don't think you'll get the same quality of education than if you took more time with your studies.
     
  21. Jul 6, 2009 #20

    j93

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    Thats the worst attitude regardless of your IQ and is the surest way to become a mediocre prodigy.
     
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