Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Part Time Physicist

  1. Dec 14, 2011 #1
    Hello all,

    I am new to this site and first let me say how wonderful this is. I have question for any physicists and any aspiring physicists out there. I am currently 27 years old and I have a huge interest in physics i even study a little in my spare time. I have 3 years of college in Psychology , I went to college straight out of high school focusing on neural sciences in psychology. I decided to drop out thought at the time, because the jobs were scarce in this field. I then went back to receive an associate's degree in computer sciences. I currently work full-time in the I.T. industry, but I would like to go back for a Physics degree. I originally thought about EE, because i enjoy this field too and even design my own circuit boards, but i figure physics is the foundation of all engineering. i also have noticed many I.T. people have back ground in physics, which is not surprising to me at all. So my question is is this possible to work full-time and pursue physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2011 #2
    In a similar boat as you. Most will say it's extremely difficult to impossible. On the other hand, you can find accounts of people working insanely hard to go to school and work. Obviously, I can't give you any advice since I'm staring at the same situation as you, but I think it just depends. It depends on how devoted you are, what program you go into etc.

    Of course, make sure it's 100% what you really want. In the end, there's only one way to find out for sure if YOU can do it.
  4. Dec 14, 2011 #3
    Thanks. Good luck to you by the way. I always loved physics and i have the mind for it. It seems like some force is driving me towards this.
  5. Dec 15, 2011 #4
    Of course you can learn physics in your spare time and get a degree in it and such, but there is absolutely no such thing as a 'part time physicist' anymore than there is something like a 'part time doctor'. It's a career. You cannot do physics research of any appreciable quality without having a PhD, a full-time job, and funding. So I would not fantasize about being an engineer by a day and a physicist by night.

    If you want to go back for a physics degree while working, that is perfectly fine. Just be warned, you probably do not have the requisite math yet. That will take some time to build. I have talked from many people who want to make the jump from CS to physics or engineering to physics and usually their math comes up short and they get frustrated. Since you are only going to school part time, your B.S. may take a little longer than 4 years but my one piece of advice is not to try to pile on classes to get through quicker. It will be a long road, and it is so even for full-time students, but if you like it, it will be worth it in the end. Good luck!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook