1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Night School?

  1. May 22, 2009 #1
    Hi! I've read the links posted by MathGangsta in the "too late to be a physicist" thread, but I'm wondering if someone could comment on just getting the Bachelor's degree. I'm 30 with the wife/mortgage/kid package, and I already have a career. I think a career change to physics is a bit out of reach, but nonetheless I'd like to get my Bachelor's in physics. Has anyone even heard of a program that would work for people like me? I can't take off of work for classes, and I'm also a bit worried about research/lab requirements.

    I'm not really concerned with the amount of time it would take me to finish the degree (moving towards it is the important part).
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    You might want to start out taking a few night courses at a local community college. First year physics courses are popular enough that it shouldn't be too hard to find. In fact you could probably do the first two years towards the degree like that - then transfer to a full university to finish. It's rare for an entire undergraduate physics degree to be available through night school and/or correspondence, but not completely unheard of.
  4. May 22, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the response. I somehow forgot to mention that I just finished my Associate's degree, and took physics along the way. I guess the first step is to get a catalog and see what's available and what I can take, but I'm very afraid of something changing midway through and running into a class that just isn't doable.
  5. May 23, 2009 #4
    You may have to retake the physics courses depending on your school & how long ago it was. Are there programs that will work with you? Maybe at the lower levels, but at the higher levels most of the time only one class is available. So yeah, you'd pretty much be stuck at taking the class whenever its schedule. So if your job is flexible then yeah, if not, it might be pretty tough.
  6. May 23, 2009 #5
    Thanks very much. I'm afraid you're right.
  7. May 24, 2009 #6
    It might be worthwhile googling the "open university".They are based in the UK but I dont know if they stretch further afield.If not there may be something similar where you live.
  8. May 28, 2009 #7
    hi. i've got the family/ mortgage/ job thing going on, too. i've found that my public state university has many upper level evening math/ physics classes. if you can't take time off your work, per se, would it be possible to move around your schedule? for example, you can take a Tues/ Thurs evening class and just come in a couple hours early every Tues/ Thurs morning to work so you'll be out in time for class. i don't know if your managers could work with this, but it'd be worth asking.

    best of luck. due to my schedule and the limited availability of classes, i'm only able to take 2-3 classes a semester. i think any education, even if it takes awhile, is worth it, though.
  9. May 28, 2009 #8


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Working full time and taking 2 classes per semester seems too time consuming. Study-time will be difficult to manage. Think: 40 hours normal job work + ~8 class hours + ~16 study hours = at least 64 hours busy per week - more likely MORE than that! Would you be studying hard classes? All this would be hell. One course per term would be tough, but easier. Some people might be good enough to handle 2 or 3 course while working so if you are one of them, then don't feel discouraged; it's not for everyone.
  10. May 28, 2009 #9
    Thanks for all of the wonderful replies. I'm not planning on taking more than 2 classes at a time, and I plan on starting out with 1. I'm not in a big hurry. I have started going through course catalogs and then schedules seeing if anything would work for me. If I must wind up getting a BSBA, then at least I could say I tried to study something that actually interests me!
  11. May 29, 2009 #10
    I am 38 with Family, with a previous degree, and returning to school as well. I am lucky that my work schedule is very flexible but, being in a remote area for now, I have found distance courses are my way to go.

    Living in BC (Canada), I have been doing my math courses through Thompson Rivers University:

    I understand that Athabasca in Alberta is decent as well:

    The Open University in the UK (mentioned above) is the grand-daddy of Distance programs. Unfortunately they are not really set up for people outside Europe.

    As you will need to make sure that the courses will transfer to the school you will ultimately finish the degree at, you have to do some reaseach...

    If you have good study skills and the discipline to find other sources (video lectures, etc.) it can work ok. However, for anything requiring a lab, you are stuck going to a physical school. I am hoping to be able to move closer to a decent school once I finish Calc III this winter.
  12. May 29, 2009 #11
    Best of luck and thanks for the input.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook