Do I need a degree?

  • Programs
  • Thread starter Shivam3013
  • Start date
  • #1
63
0
I currently have enough knowledge equivalent to someone with a BsC in EECS, physics, chem, bio and mathematics. I want to self-study even more to the point of PhD level knowledge in those areas. I want to be a biology researcher and work at NSA. For that, is the knowledge enough or should I pursue a double major in bio and EECS even if I already have the knowledge? i am 18 by the way.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
395
14
I currently have enough knowledge equivalent to someone with a BsC in EECS, physics, chem, bio and mathematics.

I don't believe that for a second.
 
  • #3
142
17
It is quite the claim. Can you substantiate it somehow? Have you taken tests on those subjects, and where were the tests taken? Was this self-study independent, or guided by a teacher/professor?

In any case, it's unlikely you could become a researcher with the claim of 'self-studied knowledge'. The best you could do is start an undergraduate program at a college that offers placement tests for this sort of thing; if you can prove you place in upper level classes from the start, then getting your BsC won't be an entire repeat of what you already know.
 
  • #4
72
0
I think if you send the NSA an email stating essentially what you said in the original post, they'll hire you on the spot. Probably the CIA and FBI also, but it is best to start with just one agency and see how it goes. Best of luck.
 
  • #5
395
14
I think if you send the NSA an email stating essentially what you said in the original post, they'll hire you on the spot. Probably the CIA and FBI also, but it is best to start with just one agency and see how it goes. Best of luck.

:biggrin:
 
  • #6
63
0
I was hoping that you all would answer the question presuming that my claim was true, rather then questioning the circumstances upon which this question is based on. It was self-study (by textbooks) but I have had the help of several professors from MIT. I have taken several tests yielding very good results. So, is it possible in any research organization like NIH to get a job there without a degree?
 
  • #7
1,254
106
I was hoping that you all would answer the question presuming that my claim was true, rather then questioning the circumstances upon which this question is based on. It was self-study (by textbooks) but I have had the help of several professors from MIT. I have taken several tests yielding very good results. So, is it possible in any research organization like NIH to get a job there without a degree?

No, not really. You need to do research, collaborate with peers and more. This cannot be replicated by a textbook. Even if you have mastered Griffiths, Kittel, Boas and the like you are not equivalent to a graduate.

I had a teacher in graduate school with no degree. He was a master in a very narrow niche of TEMs and the like. Even though he had no degree he was published and cited. How many publications do you have?
 
  • #8
342
51
I was hoping that you all would answer the question presuming that my claim was true, rather then questioning the circumstances upon which this question is based on. It was self-study (by textbooks) but I have had the help of several professors from MIT. I have taken several tests yielding very good results. So, is it possible in any research organization like NIH to get a job there without a degree?

If some guy walked up to you and says that he read a few surgery books, but has no degree or other qualifications. Would you let him operate on you? Same answer.
 
  • #9
SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
12,798
1,670
I think if you send the NSA an email stating essentially what you said in the original post, they'll hire you on the spot. Probably the CIA and FBI also, but it is best to start with just one agency and see how it goes. Best of luck.

The NSA probably knows already.
 
  • #10
STEMucator
Homework Helper
2,075
140
The NSA probably knows already.

Haha +1.

Realistically though, just get the sheet of paper if you know all of that already.
 
  • #12
63
0
Instead of questioning me and posting negative comments, I would prefer some real advice. Is it possible to get a BsC using tests as opposed to taking the courses? Also, I have had lots of research opportunities with professors.
 
  • #13
1,254
106
Instead of questioning me and posting negative comments, I would prefer some real advice. Is it possible to get a BsC using tests as opposed to taking the courses? Also, I have had lots of research opportunities with professors.

No, its not possible. If all an undergrad education entailed was reading textbooks then why would anybody go? If your research opportunities lead to publications and presentations then you can put that on your resume and that might help you get some job.
 
  • #14
63
0
I have had several publications - mainly in biology. The job I want is to be a researcher.
 
  • #15
STEMucator
Homework Helper
2,075
140
I have had several publications - mainly in biology. The job I want is to be a researcher.

Now I know you're trolling.

You're 18 and you've published a book? On (Arguably) one of the hardest subjects (Doctors get paid heavy for a reason).

Be serious if you want serious advice, or at least link me to your published work so I can give you a royal apology.
 
  • #16
1,254
106
If you have publications then aren't you already a researcher? How are you getting paid? Are you not already in a university setting to be putting out publications? I dont see how an 18 year old is successfully publishing outside a university setting... Smells like bull to me.
 
  • #17
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,955
620
Take the GREs in physics, biology, and chemistry to demonstrate your knowledge. If you nail them, any one of them really, then you would have a chance at going forward without a degree.
 
  • Like
Likes 1 person
  • #18
63
0
Publications means papers, not books. I did them under professors, but without enrollment. I have taken GREs and done well on them.
 
  • #19
219
0
I think if you send the NSA an email stating essentially what you said in the original post, they'll hire you on the spot. Probably the CIA and FBI also, but it is best to start with just one agency and see how it goes. Best of luck.

They will probably be fighting over you. Send a resume to each and let them know you'll be going with the highest bidder.
 
  • #20
IGU
267
64
No, its not possible. If all an undergrad education entailed was reading textbooks then why would anybody go? If your research opportunities lead to publications and presentations then you can put that on your resume and that might help you get some job.

First, there are many kids who become undergraduates at 15 or younger. Some are very, very good. Some have a BS by 18.

Second, what beyond class learning do you think is necessary as part of an undergraduate education? Maybe a few labs in science? Certainly nothing in math. If a student learns as well or better from a textbook then what else does college have to offer beyond an official credential? Sure, some do some research, but it is neither required nor all that usual. Sure learning to cooperate with your peers is a good thing, but tell that to Perelman.

Please support your assertions with something more than incredulity and denial.
 
  • Like
Likes 1 person
  • #21
5,588
209
I currently have enough knowledge equivalent to someone with a BsC in EECS, physics, chem, bio and mathematics. I want to self-study even more to the point of PhD level knowledge in those areas. I want to be a biology researcher and work at NSA. For that, is the knowledge enough or should I pursue a double major in bio and EECS even if I already have the knowledge? i am 18 by the way.

You really think people will take your word? I think you best bet is to apply for a graduate school. Not all grad school need to have a BS degree. I did talk to a very good school call Santa Clara University about their post grad program as I don't have a degree in EE. They allow me to go directly to the grad program without a degree. If you can get good grades, then all else is forgiven, you'll be graduate at 22.

I believe Sheldon Cooper do exist, but not that often!!!!
 
  • Like
Likes 1 person
  • #22
63
0
Finally, some advice which is not asking me for my credentials. In biology and chemistry, I can see why class-research would be necessary but for math and EECS (considering I have completed projects from MIT OCW and edx etc), it is absurd. People will take my word because I have standardized exams to prove it. I was just wondering if I can get a BsC by simply passing the tests. Thanks!
 
  • #23
1,254
106
First, there are many kids who become undergraduates at 15 or younger. Some are very, very good. Some have a BS by 18.

So whats your point? The original poster has no degree.

Second, what beyond class learning do you think is necessary as part of an undergraduate education? Maybe a few labs in science? Certainly nothing in math. If a student learns as well or better from a textbook then what else does college have to offer beyond an official credential? Sure, some do some research, but it is neither required nor all that usual. Sure learning to cooperate with your peers is a good thing, but tell that to Perelman.

Please support your assertions with something more than incredulity and denial.

What you describe here is the C's get degrees attitude that leaves many frustrated with their education. Research is a vital component of science education and it is certainly the norm. The original poster does have this, so that is good for his resume.


Finally, my assertion is not my assertion. Its the way it is. You cannot test your way into a BS degree. Getting a high score on the GRE will not get you a degree.
 
  • #24
HallsofIvy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
41,847
969
Now I know you're trolling.

You're 18 and you've published a book? On (Arguably) one of the hardest subjects (Doctors get paid heavy for a reason).

Be serious if you want serious advice, or at least link me to your published work so I can give you a royal apology.
He didn't say he had "published a book". He said he had "several publications". That could mean he was co-author on journal articles.

Shivram3013, talk to the professors you have worked with! They are your best resource.
 
  • Like
Likes 1 person
  • #25
63
0
Thanks. I don't know anyone who by publications in science means an actual 300 page book. I have talked to the profs and they say to go with my intuition. I thought some helpful guidance here would be useful by it's just mostly full of discouragement.
 
  • #26
1,254
106
Thats what guidance is good for, telling you things you dont want to hear. Dont expect good advice to simply just reinforce what you already believe.
 
  • #27
63
0
Guidance questioning my intelligence by people with a superiority complex is not very helpful.
 
  • #28
jasonRF
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,489
551
Finally, some advice which is not asking me for my credentials. In biology and chemistry, I can see why class-research would be necessary but for math and EECS (considering I have completed projects from MIT OCW and edx etc), it is absurd. People will take my word because I have standardized exams to prove it. I was just wondering if I can get a BsC by simply passing the tests. Thanks!

What standardized EECS test are you referring to? I am not aware of such a thing, but there are a LOT of things I am ignorant of!

jason

EDIT: I agree with halls of ivy - talk to the profs you have published with. They actually know you and your situation. We don't.
 
  • #29
5,588
209
Get a degree ( post grad), nobody will trust you no matter what you say. You'll end up spending more time in your life trying to convince people than to just get the PHD.

Nobody will take you serious unless you have your own invention. Then without a job, how are you going to have the environment to invent something to convince people? Without a degree, who is going to hire you into an environment to do anything serious? You see the chicken and egg problem?

I was one that had been an EE and manager of EE for 30 years WITHOUT an EE degree, but it's not going to be as easy today. Also, I am in EE, not in Biochem research. I can imagine that would be harder. It'll take too long for you to start low and move up the career ladder. Get the PHD. If you are really as good as you claimed, you can get through in less than 4 years and you barely can legally buy alcohol when you celebrate your graduation.

Another thing that might be very important. People do look at your tittle, when you publish your paper, people do look at whether there is a PHD behind your name. Some company do hire for you tittle because it will look good in the portfolio to pitch for funding.
 
Last edited:
  • #30
IGU
267
64
I currently have enough knowledge equivalent to someone with a BsC in EECS, physics, chem, bio and mathematics. I want to self-study even more to the point of PhD level knowledge in those areas. I want to be a biology researcher and work at NSA. For that, is the knowledge enough or should I pursue a double major in bio and EECS even if I already have the knowledge? i am 18 by the way.

Most research positions require credentials (like a PhD). The best way to get such requirements waived is to personally impress somebody. It would typically have to be somebody at the level of a research director of a lab, as in the case of your failure they are responsible for not following the rules.

As to self-study to a PhD level of knowledge, that's not too hard in math if you are disciplined and very capable. But in things where there is typically some experimental component it's more difficult. If you stick to areas requiring only computer simulation you can probably get away with it. However, it will take a long time. As a PhD you need to go deep for your thesis, become a serious expert in some area of endeavor. This takes years. So even if you're really, really good I think you have to allocate at least three years for each area. However, if you are just talking knowledge, as in enough to pass your quals, you can probably get away with a year or so for each area (if you're as fast as you say), maybe two if your undergraduate preparation is weak.

Sounds very ambitious. Good luck! And, by the way, you might want to pick up a law degree along the way to make it easier to patent things.

But I'm curious, how do you know you have "knowledge equivalent to someone with a BsC in EECS, physics, chem, bio and mathematics"? And do you mean equivalent to somebody good coming out of MIT or somthing else?
 
Top