Entry into studying physics at 32

In summary: OU courses are respected, but they might not be the cheapest option. If you want to take a course to boost your credentials, then OU might be a good option.
  • #1
JonStone
2
0
Hi all,

I'm 32 years old and am well established in my 'career' but have always been fascinated with physics, especially theoretical physics.

I'm looking for a way to continue working full time in my 'job' while I make strides into studying physics (at least initially).

I've moved from the UK to the USA, and spent 6 years in the UK military working in telecommunications intelligence, which exposed me heavily to many radio, electromagnetic, wave and a fair degree of space theory and practice. It also highlighted that I'm good at math (even though I thought i was bad at it in school) and I had no trouble grasping many of the concepts that were presented to me.

Ideally I'd like to start with what I'll need to qualify for an undergrad program (I've already transferred my scholastic achievements for 18 credits, and I think my military work/teachings will also give me some credits). Also, online or weekend/evening programs would work best for me. In the UK, there is the open university program and was wondering if something similar exists in the USA?

Just to be clear, I'm pursuing this because of my love of the subject, not for any career aspirations, money, job or any of that. I regularly listen to and watch/attend lectures, read papers etc. and just want to increase my understanding of the subject as much as possible. If it does lead me into a new career where I can do that all the time, that would be awesome, but just learning about it fulfills me.

Any help/direction would be greatly appreciated.
 
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  • #2
Hi JonStone,

Have you looked into taking local night classes, or a class or two from the Open University? I *think* the latter gives you credits but it might not be the cheapest option available to you.

Good luck!
 
  • #3
I've looked into OU, but they only have a spattering of the courses available in the USA that are needed - they are missing most of the math based courses.

I was looking for a similar institution in the USA, as I'm a permanent resident here about to get citizenship.
 
  • #4
Just curious, how respected are OU courses? I was thinking about taking some OU courses to shore up my physics knowledge and boost my credentials since my BS Physics degree was from 20 years ago and my GPA was terrible.
 
  • #5
IMO you should just watch the MIT open courseware videos for physics, and get a phyics textbook (maybe the same one they use) and read along and do a bunch of problems at the end of each chapter.

If you get through Physics I then you should look into taking actual classes if you still want to.
 

1. How difficult is it to enter the field of physics at 32 years old?

Entering the field of physics at any age can be challenging, but it is certainly not impossible. It may require a bit more dedication and hard work, but with determination and the right resources, it is definitely achievable.

2. Will my age be a disadvantage in pursuing a career in physics?

Your age should not be a deterrent in pursuing a career in physics. In fact, your life experience and maturity can be an advantage in understanding complex concepts and problem-solving techniques.

3. Do I need a strong background in math to study physics at 32?

A strong foundation in mathematics is crucial for studying physics, but it is never too late to learn. There are many resources available, such as online courses and textbooks, that can help you improve your math skills and catch up to the necessary level.

4. Will I be able to keep up with younger students in the program?

As with any academic program, it is important to stay committed and put in the necessary effort to keep up with the coursework. Your age should not be a determining factor in your ability to succeed in the program. Additionally, there may be other mature students in the program who are also starting their physics journey later in life.

5. What can I do to prepare for studying physics at 32?

Before starting your physics program, it can be helpful to review basic math and physics concepts. You can also familiarize yourself with the principles and theories of physics by reading books or watching lectures online. Additionally, it may be beneficial to connect with other mature students or mentors in the field for advice and support.

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