Is it too late to pursue a career in physics at 32 years old?

  • #1
what_is_going_on
3
1
Hello!

I am 32 now and wanting to go a totally different direction in life. I have obtained two bachelors in Criminology and Psychology. Took a year off, then ended up going into a graduate program for Chinese Medicine. Life events happened that led to me not finishing with just a year left. I have been out of school for a bit now.

The main reason I did not pursue math/physics initially is because I was young and did not know my potential for rigorous studying and simply put did not think I was smart enough. Now I know better.

Physics especially has always been a passion of mine. I've filled my brain with books, lectures and presentations online, even watching graduate level math lectures online, like MIT who posts them for free. Of course, I do not understand most/all of the information but I love sitting through them anyway.

I figure enough is enough and time to go to school for this.
I'm assuming my current specific fields of interest within physics may change while in school, but I know I have always been a research based leaning student.

If anyone has advice for what undergrad schools and programs for math/physics would be best for me to start with that would be amazing as there are so many that I do not know where to start when sifting through them. And yes, I do want to eventually obtain my Phd.

Thanks!
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
what_is_going_on said:
I am 32 now and wanting to go a totally different direction in life. I have obtained two bachelors in Criminology and Psychology. Took a year off, then ended up going into a graduate program for Chinese Medicine.
Those are majors for law enforcement officer candidates. Can you say what turned you off from your law enforcement career trajectory?

what_is_going_on said:
The main reason I did not pursue math/physics initially is because I was young and did not know my potential for rigorous studying and simply put did not think I was smart enough. Now I know better.
What is your math background so far? Have you taken a year or two of calculus, or do you still have that ahead of you?

Also (and you don't have to answer this if it is too personal), it seems that you have a large amount of financial support behind you at this point based on your multiple degrees and extra education efforts. Is money any issue at all going forward in your education, or is that not any consideration?
 
  • Like
Likes gwnorth, scottdave, russ_watters and 2 others
  • #3
First off, this is not a path that has a high chance of success. Doing physics is considerably different from listening to physics.

Will you be a full or part-time student?

You will not get a job until you are in your 40’s. Have you considered the financial ramifications of this?

How good was the school that you attended? How well did you do?

Do you know calculus? Have you taken any physics? What other technical courses have you taken?
 
  • Like
Likes gwnorth, russ_watters, symbolipoint and 1 other person
  • #4
I highly recommend Harvey Mudd College, this school provides excellent undergraduate education for STEM majors.
 
  • Like
Likes what_is_going_on
  • #5
Except that Harvey Mudd doesn't admit students who already have a bachelor's degree.

To a very high degree, there is no financial aid available for 3rd bachelor's degrees. So you need to find somewhere that a) will accept you, and b) that you can afford. You also need enough cash on hand to not just cover the college expenses, but to compensate for the fact that you won't be earning money when sitting in a classroom. Is this the empty set?
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes CalcNerd, gwnorth, russ_watters and 3 others
  • #6
Vanadium 50 said:
Except that Harvey Mudd doesn't admit students who already have a bachelor's degree.

To a very high degree, there is no financial aid available for 3rd bachelor's degrees. So you need to find somewhere that a) will accept you, and b) that you can afford. You also need enough cash on hand to not just cover the college expenses, but to compensate for the fact that you won't be earning money when sitting in a classroom. Is this the empty set?
That's a good fact to know. I didn't know that HMC doesn't admit students who already have a Bachelor's degree.
 
  • Like
Likes what_is_going_on
  • #7
A lot of places don't.
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes MatinSAR, symbolipoint and Math100
  • #8
Vanadium 50 said:
A lot of places don't.
Yeah, instead of trying to obtain another Bachelor's degree in either mathematics or physics, I think the OP should earn either a Master's degree in criminology or psychology, since the OP already has Bachelor's degrees in those two majors. In addition, the Bachelor's degrees that the OP already earned are all humanity majors, none of them are related to either mathematics or physics.
 
  • Sad
  • Like
Likes jbergman and symbolipoint
  • #9
How is an advanced degree in the same field going to help the OP change careers?

I see from your profile that you are not in school but have gone as far as high school. Is this still correct?
 
  • Like
Likes what_is_going_on
  • #10
Vanadium 50 said:
I see from your profile
Apparently directed to @Math100, not to the OP of this thread.
 
  • #11
Correct.
 
  • #12
The best advice I have to offer for a question like this is that you should consider first taking a couple night school courses in physics. The quantitative problem-based learning in physics courses can be a lot different than the majority of coursework you would have done in your other degrees, and you might want to test the waters before committing yourself to four+ years of it.
 
  • Like
Likes CalcNerd, gwnorth, russ_watters and 8 others
  • #13
Vanadium 50 said:
How is an advanced degree in the same field going to help the OP change careers?

I see from your profile that you are not in school but have gone as far as high school. Is this still correct?
Can certainly bring advancement in OP's career, at least. Earning the third Bachelor's degree might be a challenge since many schools won't allow it, just as you mentioned earlier. After I graduated from high school, I started working and I self-study mathematics, as of now.
 
  • #14
Idk if this helps, but im 28, and I'm doing a distance learning course. It's accredited in my country so it's reliable too. I know of people who've gone to prestigious universities for their masters and PhD after doing this course, so the rigour is there despite it being self taught/distance learning

Maybe look for a distance learning course because it'll mostly likely work out more affordable?

Best wishes, good luck etcetera!
 
  • Like
Likes what_is_going_on
  • #15
Math100 said:
I highly recommend Harvey Mudd College, this school provides excellent undergraduate education for STEM majors.
thank you!
 
  • Like
Likes Math100
  • #16
Choppy said:
The best advice I have to offer for a question like this is that you should consider first taking a couple night school courses in physics. The quantitative problem-based learning in physics courses can be a lot different than the majority of coursework you would have done in your other degrees, and you might want to test the waters before committing yourself to four+ years of it.
thank you, I do like this advice
 
  • #17
Math100 said:
Can certainly bring advancement in OP's career, at least. Earning the third Bachelor's degree might be a challenge since many schools won't allow it, just as you mentioned earlier. After I graduated from high school, I started working and I self-study mathematics, as of now.
That bolded part, referring to his current field earned the bachelor degree, still is a problem for OP. He does not want that field of study. For whatever reason it is not properly suited for him and feels a strong need to change.
 
  • Like
Likes Vanadium 50

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
11
Views
767
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
8
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
9
Views
898
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
642
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
32
Views
488
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
29
Views
689
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
17
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
954
Replies
42
Views
3K
Back
Top