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Masters and Bachelors Simultaneously

  1. Mar 10, 2007 #1
    How do you feel about this? Good idea? Bad?

    I pursued this option in the mechanical engineering depart for which I am majoring in to simultaneously graduate with both degrees in 4 years of coursework. The idea was immediately rejected by the graduate committee. The physics department however, is not opposed to earning both degrees (bachelors in mechanical engineering, masters in physics) and walking twice on the same day if all the physics coursework and thesis can actually be completed in time. Given that the universe aligns its self in such a way so all the courses are offered in the right order and without schedule conflicts with each other, do you think it would be a good idea to further pursue this? (I do intend to enter a masters or PhD program in nuclear engineering immediately after four years of university coursework, I do not want to be here a fifth year)
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2007 #2
    Why do you want to enter this hell?
  4. Mar 10, 2007 #3
    Why the rush? Take it slow and attempt to thoroughly learn the subject matter, instead of cramming it all into 4 years.

    Also, why not just get your BS and then apply directly to a PhD program. The master's is not really necessary.
  5. Mar 10, 2007 #4
    Unless you can finish your undegrad in the first two years, dont hold your breath.
  6. Mar 10, 2007 #5

    Just out of curiosity, what ever made you think about trying to get your masters as well? At my school, there is an established program that we can apply for in order to do our masters while we do our bachelors.

    Well I would say, don't go for a masters if you are already going to get one, just go for the PHD.

    My opinion is that if you are going to enjoy it and if you can handle it, then go ahead. I myself am getting my masters and bachelors simultaneously (already applied and got accepted to the masters program). I am currently in my third year as an undergrad and I took my first grad on spring quarter of my second year. My case might be significantly different from yours. I am doing math for both of my degrees. One of the things that I have do is take alot of classes each quarter. I have taken 6 classes one quarter (only 3 math though). This quarter I am taking 5 math classes. I do this because I enjoy it and can handle it. When I can't I don't do that. When I took my first grad class I dropped down to just 3 classes that quarter because although I would have been able to handle what I was planning on taking (6 math classes), I would not have enjoyed it and would have hardly learned.

    Some maybe wondering what me taking alot of classes has anything to do with your situation. The point is that I am going to be just like 2 classes away from finishing both of my degrees after this spring quarter. I could actually finish, if I took 6 classes which I could handle and enjoy. But I will probably just take 4 and start doing some research. Regardless, I will stay for my 4th year and can have at least 10 classes which I will be taking and not need for anything, more than that if I take 6 next quarter and/or more than 4 per quarter next year.

    So even if you don't take alot of classes per quarter, you can still finish both your degrees very comfortably. Plus if everything as far as scheduling works out perfectly as you say then you have everything set. Just make sure you can handle the load you take, and that you enjoy it. Take classes you like, etc.
  7. Mar 10, 2007 #6
    That's a bit presumptuous. Maybe he can do what he's planning to do and learn just fine.

    Well taking grad classes and getting a masters (getting good grades and doing good on required exams) at the same time probably looks alot better than just doing a BS.

    Its more like 3 probably but that might depend on the program. I have a classmate (he's also a third year) who will also get his masters and BS simultaneously, he's applying to the program this quarter. Now he has not taken as many classes per quarter as I have. I think the most he has taken is 3 per quarter. He is still in the position where he can finish his by masters next year. He'll be done with the BS after spring quarter. (I'm done with it after this quarter). He's actually going to stay on a fifth year and take more classes so when he applies for grad school, he can show that he has been successful in graduate level classes.
  8. Mar 11, 2007 #7


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    I share the same thoughts as leright and cyrus. I doubt that an undergrad program in MechE would provide sufficient background to support an MS in Physics - especially if one is planning to be competent in Physics - unless one is taking the core courses in the undergraduate physics program concurrently with those of the MechE program.

    I suppose with a lot of effort, it can be done.

    Why get an MS in Physics? And what is the area of specialty?

    In what specialty? It would be a better use of time to use the undergraduate program to prepare oneself for the graduate program in Nuclear Engineering. NE's specialize in several areas, e.g. core physics, thermalhydraulics, materials and radiation effects on materials, . . . .
  9. Mar 11, 2007 #8
    I would highly recommend against this. I took graduate physics courses as an undergrad, and they aren't easy. Graduate students take a smaller course load than undergrads, and they have a better working knowledge of physics, and so they can handle these classes. I shudder to think of how you'll take engineering courses alonside cosmology or graduate classical mechanics.

    Incidentally, why do you want to do a physics MS? This is useful for preparation for a physics PhD, or if you want to teach physics at a small college. But I don't see how it would help you with an engineering PhD.
  10. Mar 11, 2007 #9
    I entered undergrad with a lot of coursework out of the way, and so I considered the idea of doing a master's along with my bachelor's (both in physics). My undergrad advisor's response was essentially that if I were to take graduate courses, I might as well be in grad school, where I wouldn't be paying for it.

    I think he was right. (And I graduated early instead.)
  11. Mar 11, 2007 #10
    I'd like to just ask why you're so dead set on doing everything as quickly as possible? (No complaints, just curious - seems to make more sense to me to firstly decide what you actually want to do, then find the steps required to achieve your goal - then carry them out. No matter how long it takes.)
  12. Mar 11, 2007 #11
    Thank you guys for your input!

    Right now I'm a second year student but I'm much further ahead than that in the curriculum. Essentially what will happen is that in my last three semesters of undergraduate work, I'll only have 2 classes per semester due to the sequencing, also making it impossible to graduate early. I feel that while I'm in school here, I should maximize the amount of coursework that I can reasonably handle (taking things that are interesting to me or that will help prepare me for grad school). Essentially, I'll be taking tones of extra classes anyways (for one of those semesters, I have to to keep NCAA eligibility by taking more classes towards minors or another degree).

    Undergraduate research in mechanical engineering, physics, or math is not an option here. The school is too small, the funding and projects don't exist. I have been applying for summer research positions elsewhere.

    For a masters in physics, I would have to spend next school year taking the rest of the physics core classes in addition to the sequence of engineering courses in order to take most of the graduate courses and thesis my senior year.

    For graduate preparation in nuclear engineering, the physics department here offers a few undergraduate courses, Quantum Mechanics 1, Quantum Mechanics 2 (Quantum 3 and 4 are graduate level only), and Nuclear Physics and Technology (essentially a basic intro class to nuclear physics). QM 2 and Nuclear Physics are offered very rarely which are often canceled because not many students take them. In graduate school, I would like to specialize in reactor physics and design.
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