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Online degrees?

  1. Aug 9, 2012 #1
    Ok let me preface this a little without getting lauged at.

    I posted on here twice before. I am a banker, with an undergrad degree in business/economics (total joke). I am mostly interested in physics because 1) I am always curious about how everything works 2) my girlfriend is a chemistry major and I always feel stupid around her (even though she thinks I am smarter than her).

    I do actually enjoy finance but I am very unsatisfied with my understanding of the world. So, combining these two ideas, I think the best route is to go back for a physics undergrad degree, and then eventually get a phd. I am 23 now..I figured I could finish my phd by 33. With the phd, I will have the knowledge I want, feel smart, and then I can go back to finance and make even more money. With a business degree, banking experience, and a phd in physics, I think I can easily land a job as a derivatives trader, making a lot of money. Although money is not as important to me as it is to most bankers, I like to make a lot of money, and I am ok with sacrificing years if it means I will make money down the road. There are so many things I want to learn in life...after physics I would probably take an interest in chemistry, engineering, or computer science, or maybe even fitness which I really love.

    Anywho, so I checked out all of the colleges near me....there is NO way to take night classes and major in physics. The latest science classes are 4pm. I cannot afford to quit my dayjob for my passion. I need nightclasses.

    I have always regarded online universities as a joke, mostly because the people I know who take them are all lazy/stupid.

    However, are there any online universities that offer physics majors that I can take on nights and weekends? Any suggestions for which are best, and if it is worth it? Also, would I be able to get a phd later in life, or would grad programs laugh at me? I am wondering if it is possible to do this, without having a lab.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2012 #2
    A Ph.D. in physics is a terrible way to get a job as a derivatives trader (and besides derivatives trading is dying anyway and could be totally dead by the time you get your Ph.D.).

    You are more likely to get there if you internally network. Find any excuse you can to get close to the front desk.

    You might be able to do something with Thomas Edison State College or Open University. The trouble with that path is that I don't know of anyone who has done it.
  4. Aug 9, 2012 #3
    I looked into the Open University when I was applying for degree courses, and although the syllabus looked similar to the traditional university course (unsurprisingly I suppose) the cost shocked me. I think I probably would have gone for it if I'd not been able to afford to be a full-time student. I too don't know anyone who has done a whole degree through the OU, but people who have done other short courses and been very happy with the whole experience. The flexibility is a major plus!
  5. Aug 9, 2012 #4


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    After a few years of reading posts on this forum, I can confidently state that wanting to "feel smart" and "make more money" will be woefully inadequate motivators for finishing a graduate degree in physics. I realize you're curious about how things work, but you do not need to get a Ph.D. to obtain a reasonable understanding of the physical laws to which we're subjected. Many community colleges offer night courses; you should see if an introductory physics course is available.

    I'm not trying to discourage you to the point of giving up, but I don't think you understand how grueling the road ahead is going to be. A Ph.D. in physics isn't really something you just pick up to build your résumé and/or self-esteem. There's a lot of failure involved, which is often too much for even the most passionate students. I wish you the best of luck in your quest for knowledge. :smile:
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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