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Education in USA

  1. May 5, 2009 #1

    on the beginning I would like to say that you have a great forum guys! I am from Poland and our the biggest national one is just way less popular and it seems like there are so many experts here in physics or maths.

    I have just browsed through some threads and your level seems to be on a great level! I study physics but just my knowledge in comparison to yours seems to be nothing :P And I have also noticed that you much pay attention to quantuum physics. Is that right? Couse on ours 3-year technical physics studies, where after graduation you get engineer title, there are not many advanced lectures about it...

    Also according to the title I would like to ask, couse I am quite curious about it, how does your education system looks like? Primary school -> secondary- >high -> uni as I was learned on english classes? If yes, then how many years it takes to finish each one?

    PS. Sorry for my english :P
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2009 #2


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    I'm curious that you say this, because many of the physics professors I had came from Poland, including the ones that taught classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetics (actually, the international flavour of our Physics department was Polish, our math department was Russian and German, and... well, that's about it in terms of my generalizing).

    Is your degree the equivalent of a technical degree (2 year), or a bachelor's (4 year)? The other thing to keep in mind is that, as an engineer, you often don't cover (or go over at a high level) various advanced topics in physics. The key to an engineering education is not to be on the cutting edge of the sciences (for which you should go into a particular branch of science) but rather, to be in a position to use the existing, well-known science, and be able to use it well. And problem solve.

    The other thing about this board is that while there are actual physicists here--or at least those with undergraduate or graduate training in physics--many of the topics arise because somebody knows (or has heard) something about physics, but doesn't know physics (this is, after all, a forum where you can ask questions about a great deal, but not a replacement for any intensive educational institute).

    EDIT: In most parts of Canada and the United States, primary schooling (elementary) is from kindergarten to grades 1 through 6 (7 years, starting at around 4 or 5 years of age), 3 years of secondary (junior) school (grades 7 through 9), and 3 years of high school (grades 10 through 12). University for a Bachelor's degree is usually 4 years. Further schooling depends upon the program, and your own pace.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  4. May 5, 2009 #3
    Heh thanks for info. I do not want to say that we are not familiar with quantuum physics at all. Surely there are some professors that are specialist in it, but just the basic studies do not place too much emphasis on it. But the reason must be that which you presented.

    Oh and our education sysytem is almost same as yours. Except the fact that you to get technical degree (thats what I was writing about above :P) you need to learn for 3 years, and for bachelor's degree 5 years ( i mean another two years after getting technical degree). But I am not just sure if your bachelor's one is equal to our "Mgr. inż.". This one almost do not give you any more privileges that technical, apart from prestige and beeing able to continue your eduaction. And if you want to be a teacher on a uni or just work as a scientist you got to go for a doctor degree (that takes another 3 years). And when you are a doctor you can get promoted for another degrees finishing on professor one I think. Promotion you get for some discovery and publishing your own books :P

    And what about forum maybe it was just a first impression, but some topics I have seen where kinda impressive according to the level we have on our polish one :)
  5. May 5, 2009 #4
    Strange to read that the bachelor's degree is 4 years in the USA and 5 years in Poland. Here in Holland it's 3 years on a regular university, followed by a 1 or 2 year master program (usually 2 for physics).
  6. May 5, 2009 #5


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    Here in Argentina it also takes 5 years to obtain the Bachelor degree (but from it you can directly apply for a doctorate, unlike in France where you have to pass first by a Master and where the Bachelor lasts 3 years as in Holland and probably Netherlands).
    It takes 3 years for a Bachelor degree in Quebec, Canada. (in physics, if I remember well)
  7. May 6, 2009 #6


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    Maybe a good place to start the comparison:

    Incidentally, I didn't realize that University in Quebec was only three years for an Undergraduate degree. That's probably made up for by the fact that students in Quebec take CEGEP, bringing their total schooling to 13 years. McGill takes a large number of students from across Canada, and beyond (being, IIRC, the only english-speaking language university in Quebec), so you can enter a four-year program from out of province, or a 3-year one with CEGEP, or advanced credit (e.g. IB):
  8. May 6, 2009 #7


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    One needs to remember that in may parts of the world that use the UK exam system, one also sits for the A-level exams as entrance into such universities. The US colleges often accept students based on the equivalent O-level exams. So you don't have that extra 2 years in "high school" studying for the A-levels.

    Then there is the difference between B.Sc. undergraduate Masters, etc... etc...

    In the end, all these years of studies kinda washed out to roughly the same number of years.

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