Physics as a second degree.

In summary, the individual has completed a biological science degree in the UK but discovered a passion for physics towards the end of their degree. They are currently working in a banking job but are looking to transition into a career in physics. They have considered various options, including studying part-time with the Open University, saving up and studying full-time in a few years, or continuing with self-study. They are seeking feedback and advice from forum members on the feasibility of these options. It is suggested that they may be better off pursuing a masters or PhD in biology with a focus on a topic that combines biology and physics.
  • #1

I have completed an biological science degree in the UK but realized towards the end of my degree that my real interest lay in physics. I'm now in my mid 20's, paying the bills working full-time in a banking job but I am looking to move into physics as this is what I'm really passionate about. I have studied some material in my own time but I am now trying to develop a more concrete plan moving forward.

I have considered a number of options but I would like to hear the opinions of the forum members here.

1) I have looked into doing the mathematics and physics course offered by open university part-time but the cost seems prohibitive. If I was to invest in this I would have to be fairly confident that their was a realistic chance the course would open up a career in physics for me.

Could anyone with some familiarity with the course tell me if they think its suitable for someone looking to go on to do graduate physics? I am concerned that the material covered appears a little sparse.

I am more interested in the theoretical side but does anyone know if open university courses include any laboratory work? I couldn't find the relevant information on their site. If anyone has some experience with this course, I would love to hear from you.

2) Save up and study full-time in a few years. I'm a bit concerned that the longer I wait the more difficult it will be to make this change and I would rather start sooner rather than later. If anyone here has made the leap into a physics career from another discipline I would be interested in hearing about your experience.

3) Continue with my self-study. I have a strong mathematical ability and having previously done a science degree, albeit in a different field, I am confident I could manage most undergrad topics myself. My concern with this option is the lack of accreditation. It has been suggested to me by a friend that I could study for some exams such as the physics GRE and then try to get on a physics masters course using these results in combination with my previous science degree but I am unsure how realistic this plan would be. Is self-study, even if well structured, a viable option?

Any helpful comments would be appreciated.

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  • #2
Well, never trying to discourage someone from physics, but it may not be in your best interest to go back and start a physics degree. You may be better of continuing your schooling in Biology (masters, phd) and focusing your research path on something that would unite you with physics.

There has been a growth in programs like quantitative biology. Looking for something like that may be a better way for you to use and build on what you have while working towards where you want to be.

This is assuming that you would like doing research in biophysics and that you are not looking to expand into some other field like cosmology.

What is Physics as a Second Degree?

Physics as a Second Degree refers to the pursuit of a degree in Physics after obtaining a previous degree in a different subject. This is typically done by individuals who have a strong interest in Physics and wish to expand their knowledge or career opportunities.

What are the benefits of pursuing Physics as a Second Degree?

Pursuing Physics as a Second Degree can provide individuals with a deeper understanding of the fundamental laws and principles that govern our universe. It can also open up opportunities for careers in research, engineering, and education.

Do I need a background in Physics to pursue it as a Second Degree?

No, a background in Physics is not necessary to pursue it as a Second Degree. However, having a strong foundation in mathematics and a basic understanding of scientific principles can be helpful.

What are the career options for someone with a Second Degree in Physics?

There are various career options for someone with a Second Degree in Physics, including research positions in government or private institutions, engineering roles in industries such as aerospace or telecommunications, and teaching positions at universities or high schools.

Can I pursue a Second Degree in Physics while working full-time?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a Second Degree in Physics while working full-time. Many universities offer flexible programs, such as online or evening classes, to accommodate working professionals. However, it may take longer to complete the degree compared to someone who is studying full-time.

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