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How common is it for a professor to take classes?

  1. Sep 21, 2010 #1
    One of my current professors is taking classes over the summer at his grad school. How common is this?

    I plan on getting a PhD in mechanical engineering right now and assuming I was able to get a job as a professor at a university, would I be able to take classes at that university? I would be interested in taking things like advanced physics or mathematics. Do you think it would be free? Is it even feasible while being a professor that does research at a university?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2010 #2
    Usually all staff and faculty get 1 course free per semester. I know several professors who have taken classes-for fun, primarily.
  4. Sep 21, 2010 #3


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    Surely you can take as many classes as you like (noones going to kick you out of the classroom!)
  5. Sep 21, 2010 #4
    Pretty common.

    A lot of it ends up being informal since most professors don't need formal credit. You talk to the other professor and show up in classes. The other thing is that people often have informal classes at various conferences, and professors do a lot of traveling. If you have to get everyone together for a class, you might as well do it where the beaches are nice.
  6. Sep 21, 2010 #5


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    At my University, they decided to require all the Engineering profs to become accredited Engineers (that's Engineer with a TM beside them, and under license from the province). As a result, a lot of profs with Physics or CS backgrounds ended up in classes with undergrads (they usually only required the 'soft' electives, like engineering finance, project management, etc. plus the ethics course).

    Self-deprecating quote relayed to me by one of my friends, courtesy of a prof they had:
  7. Sep 21, 2010 #6


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    as a professor i never had time to take any classes, but in my year off i did take several classes. we would love to take classes but we are busy.
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