Extra Year of Study for Graduate Physics Research: A Possibility?

In summary: Can you advise on ways to make connections and get advice from professors outside of class?Making connections with professors is important, but it's also important to be proactive and set up meetings with professors before you arrive on campus. You could try contacting the professors who teach the classes you're interested in, or looking for information on the department website or online.
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andresB said:
I know of two places where they would give you (if they accept you) one extra year for you to cover undergrad classical mechs/EM/stat mech/quantum mech. But I suppose these kinds of places are unusual, and it is still one extra year dedicated to grad school (and not dedicated to making money in the industry). The path is still possible, though.

I am interested in pursuing graduate reserch in physics. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering with a research in classical mechanics. However, PhD programs require a background in modern physics in order to be accepted and I would prefer to strengthen my preparation in quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and statistical mechanics before pursuing a PhD in physics.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find schools or programs that offer the option of advanced undergraduate courses in these subjects, unless by starting a new undergraduate program (impractical). Most Master's programs are intended as terminal degrees and offer only professional-type courses, without the rigor required for a PhD in physics.

If you have any recommendations for schools that offer this option, it would be greatly appreciated :smile:
 
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I think you should give more information about yourself so that people can give you more precise advice. Where are you from? where are you living?
Personally, I don't think the university I know of would be of any help, unless you happen to be in Colombia or you are willing to move there.
 
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df3421 said:
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find schools or programs that offer the option of advanced undergraduate courses in these subjects, unless by starting a new undergraduate program (impractical).
I'm assuming you're in the US. Did you try searching for "non degree seeking student"? When I tried it just now, Google gave me hits for institutions preferentially in my region, e.g. Clemson, U of SC, UNC Chapel Hill. I do see U of Illinois on the first page, oddly enough. Try including specific university names in your search terms.

There are often restrictions. For example, U of SC states "All non-degree students are admitted on a space-available basis and register for available courses after currently enrolled UofSC degree-seeking students."

Below the top tier, I'm sure many US universities and four-year colleges will be happy to take your money to enroll as a non-degree student if they have space in the classroom, which is probably more likely than not, with upper-division physics courses.
 
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andresB said:
I think you should give more information about yourself so that people can give you more precise advice. Where are you from? where are you living?
Personally, I don't think the university I know of would be of any help, unless you happen to be in Colombia or you are willing to move there.
Country & Living: US
Graduated from engineering grad: US
Looking for colleges within: US

I am looking for colleges which would accept engineering majors for pursuing phd-level gradudate studies. If needed, I'd be happy to take the missing "advanced undergraduate courses" as advised in here.

I understand that you should be paying for the first year on your own as graduate non-matriculated. However, could you please recommend the schools that offer a program that is worth the investment of time and money, and will give me a good chance of being accepted later on into a physics PhD program?

You mentioned in your other post that:
I know of two places where they would give you (if they accept you) one extra year for you to cover undergrad classical mechs/EM/stat mech/quantum mech
so I am interested in universities that are genuinely open to admitting students in this way. Essentially my question is not just whether it is possible (yes technically I know it is...), but whether it is feasible (you actually know of someone who did it).

TIA
 
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jtbell said:
I'm assuming you're in the US. Did you try searching for "non degree seeking student"? When I tried it just now, Google gave me hits for institutions preferentially in my region, e.g. Clemson, U of SC, UNC Chapel Hill. I do see U of Illinois on the first page, oddly enough. Try including specific university names in your search terms.

There are often restrictions. For example, U of SC states "All non-degree students are admitted on a space-available basis and register for available courses after currently enrolled UofSC degree-seeking students."

Below the top tier, I'm sure many US universities and four-year colleges will be happy to take your money to enroll as a non-degree student if they have space in the classroom, which is probably more likely than not, with upper-division physics courses.

Thank you, I will follow your advice for standard in-person school within my area. Ideally, I would like to take these non-matriculated classes online, but I am not sure which schools actually offer them. If you know of any, please let me know.

Another important thing for me is to establish connections with professors during this year while being a non-matriculated student. To apply for graduate school, I will need recommendation letters. Additionally, after taking classes, I will seek advice on where to pursue my PhD.
 
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df3421 said:
so I am interested in universities that are genuinely open to admitting students in this way. Essentially my question is not just whether it is possible (yes technically I know it is...), but whether it is feasible (you actually know of someone who did it).

TIA

I personally do know of several cases of engineers transitioning to a Master/Ph.D in physics.

A friend of mine is an electrical engineer and did her Ph.D at Los Andes University, Colombia. She started doing a Master degree, with an extra year to cath up with quantum and statistical mechanics, and then transitioned to the Ph.D. The net result is a Ph.D with an extra year.

The husband of a friend is a software engineer and he did his Ph.D in Memorial University of Newfoundland, but I don't know the details.

Not sure how helpful are those examples, though.
 
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@df3421 . Your question concerns, "How do I get into a PhD physics program?" But perhaps you should also discuss, "Why do I want to get into a PhD physics program?" : it's a long, hard journey. What are your engineering degrees in? What has been your research and work experience? Why are you dissatisfied with where you are at now, and why do you want to get into a PhD physics program?
 
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df3421 said:
I would like to take these non-matriculated classes online
df3421 said:
establish connections with professors during this year
I think these goals are in tension with each other.
 
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andresB said:
I personally do know of several cases of engineers transitioning to a Master/Ph.D in physics.

A friend of mine is an electrical engineer and did her Ph.D at Los Andes University, Colombia. She started doing a Master degree, with an extra year to cath up with quantum and statistical mechanics, and then transitioned to the Ph.D. The net result is a Ph.D with an extra year.

The husband of a friend is a software engineer and he did his Ph.D in Memorial University of Newfoundland, but I don't know the details.

Not sure how helpful are those examples, though.

Great! Thank you so much for your help. Your assistance has been very helpful, and I truly appreciate it. If you happen to be aware of any schools offering online graduate programs in this field, it would be fantastic, as it would enable me to prepare for the qualifying exams without needing to relocate. Meanwhile, I will attempt to locate some graduate non-matriculated courses in my area that I can attend in person. This will enable me to establish connections with professors for guidance and recommendation letters, which are also critical steps in embarking on my long-awaited and desired journey towards a PhD in physics.
 
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While taking the standard upper-division classes as a non-degree seeking student is your best bet, thee are some things to consider.
  1. You wanted assurances this wouldn't be a waste of time and money. There is no guarantee that this will get you into grad school. In fact, there is no guarantee you will even pass.
  2. This is quite a load for that year. It may not be as easy as you think.
  3. Grad school applications will be due half-way through this year. This is obviously not ideal.
  4. Depending on where you live, nearby colleges may be plentiful or they may be scarce. Boston? No problem. Casper, Wyoming? May be more trouble.
 

1. What is an extra year of study for graduate physics research?

An extra year of study for graduate physics research is an additional year of coursework and research activities that a graduate student in the field of physics can undertake to further their knowledge and skills in a specific area of study.

2. Is an extra year of study beneficial for graduate physics research?

Yes, an extra year of study can be highly beneficial for graduate physics research as it allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen field, develop new research techniques, and potentially publish more papers or present at conferences.

3. What are the potential drawbacks of taking an extra year of study for graduate physics research?

One potential drawback is the additional cost and time commitment involved. It may also delay graduation and entry into the job market. Additionally, the availability of funding for the extra year may be limited.

4. How do I know if an extra year of study is right for me?

This decision should be made in consultation with your academic advisor and based on your personal goals and career plans. Consider whether the extra year will provide valuable knowledge and skills, and if it aligns with your research interests and career aspirations.

5. Can I take an extra year of study for graduate physics research at any stage of my program?

It depends on the specific program and university. Some may offer the option to add an extra year at the beginning of the program, while others may require students to complete a certain amount of coursework before being eligible for an extra year of study. It is important to check with your program and advisor for their specific requirements and guidelines.

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