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Master's without related bachelor's degree?

  1. Oct 23, 2014 #1
    I graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Economics and no clue of what kind of career I wanted. I fell into insurance and don't care much for it. Since graduating, I have become better acquainted with myself and discovered an interest in astrophysics and computer programming. I desperately want to learn more and possibly switch career paths, but that seems unrealistic unless I am able to obtain a related education. I am quite sure that a second baccalaureate degree is out of the question, but I have read that obtaining a Master's in engineering is possible without having a related bachelor's degree. Is that correct?

    If so, what is the best method of educating myself to a level in which I can be accepted into a Master's in aerospace or electrical engineering? Should I take classes a community college, obtain an Associate's degree, or just self educate?

    My apologies if this has already been asked. I would appreciate your helpful feedback.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2014 #2
    Thanks for the post! Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
  4. Nov 2, 2014 #3
    It is correct if you have an acceptable background which I don't think Econ is. I have a BS in Math and will have a MS in Mechanical Engineering this Dec. My math and science background is what allowed me to get in the program without an undergrad education in ME.
  5. Nov 2, 2014 #4
    Your Econ degree might be accepted (I think) in a few engineering MS programs such as Operations Research, provided you are sufficient strong in math. But, that does not get you very close to astrophysics at all.

    You are the best person to evaluate whether you can self educate or not. Why did you go to college? Why did you not simply self educate for that?
  6. Nov 3, 2014 #5
    Hello charlizar,

    I get what kind of situation you are actually stuck in. You are right that switching career path 'can be' unrealistic, but in the end its just a 'can be' situation. What I want to say is, there is still a chance, as you mentioned about self educating.

    You can possibly do courses in Computer Programming with the background you have. There are organisations which conduct classes and teach programming. As for Astrophysics, you can do online courses (few website which provide the courses www.coursera.org, www.edx.org, etc.). These online courses are conducted by universities as video lectures and there are also test taken with regard to the lectures. Some of them can be paid courses which can count as a proof.

    After this step, you can mail the university or college about your knowledge and ask them if you are allowed to do a masters degree in their institution. Some universities may consider such applications. Or a better and safer way would be having an idea to work on (like a project or a research topic, but something new). With this you can also enter a PhD directly. This will definitely take a lot of time, but if luck is good, something can strike your mind at an early stage too. Also having just the idea is not enough, you should be able to answer the How, Why, What and your expectations from the topic. You should be able to convince the institution.

    One thing you should really keep in mind is time and money. You have resources which can use, but you need appropriate time to utilise it. Also, you should be able to do this parallel to the job you are doing. But if you are a risk taker and confident enough that you can do pretty well in this new field, then go ahead. Do calculate about managing your finance if you go for quitting (you are an economics guy, you should do it pretty well ;) ).

    And I am sorry I am not much aware of the Associate's Degree, but you can definitely check in the eligibility.

    Also, I am sorry about not able to support my answer with strong evidences. I have answered this with all the things that I have come across on university websites and of course the awareness I have. So please don't depend on this answer completely, it would be good if you consult some experts with regard to what I have answered.

    All the best :)

    (Do ping me if anything is not clear!)
  7. Nov 3, 2014 #6


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    I think you can rule out the Associate Degree as preparation for graduate work. An aerospace engineering program is not likely to look with favor on an Assoc Degree in Aero as adequate preparation for an MS in Aero.
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