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Math Plan to enter physics/math field in late 20's

  1. Jul 29, 2009 #1

    I'm in my late 20's and want to enter the field of physics/math. Just trying to get a general plan of how to go about accomplishing that.

    First, I'm good at math. Not only am I good at it, I love it. Physics too. I'm a qualified member of Mensa (I stopped paying the dues, seemed pointless) and am very familiar with at least undergraduate math (algebra, calculus, etc.).

    Money & time aren't an issue. I'm married and my wife makes very good money. She loves her job and is content to let me do whatever.

    I never went to college before. I accepted a decent job right out of high school and paid my wife's way through college and supported us. I suppose I could have gone part time or something, but I didn't really know what I wanted to do as a career back then. I never really found my love of math & physics until a couple years ago. I had a good job, and didn't have a clue what I would study, so I figured why bother? In hindsight, I wish I could do it over, but what's done is done.

    Even though I'm good at math and have studied physics independently, I'm not under the delusion that I won't need an education. Therefore, my first goal is to acquire a bachelors of math and physics.

    I live in California, and the major university in my area I was considering (California State) isn't even accepting applications due to the California budget problems. So, I figure I'll go to a two year college and then transfer.

    What colleges have the best physics/math reputations in California? I'm assuming Caltech? I live a fair distance away from Caltech, and even though I did very well in high school I doubt they'd accept somebody like me, someone ten years out of high school who hasn't gone to college before, so I figured State was the way to go. Would Caltech be an option after the two year degree, assuming I achieve a 4.0 GPA or close to it? Any other universities I should be considering?

    Are there any pure physics/math jobs I could get with a four year degree? If so, what kind? As I said, money and time aren't really an issue, so I could continue and get a masters or doctorate if need be. Would a masters or PHD be required for the true math/physics positions?

    Is there anything I'm overlooking? Any advice?

    Thanks, in advance.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2009 #2
    Hi Cosmosgrav. Any of the Cal State schools would be a good option, and most of the UC schools are very well respected in their math and physics programs. Cal Tech is a very small school and extremely selective, so it would be difficult to get in. I'm just guessing that they would have some problems accepting someone a little older than their usual student, and you probably wouldn't even like it there considering the type of student that goes there.

    Getting a pure math job is not really an option with just a bachelor's, so unless you want to teach high school you will need to go on to graduate school. The bachelor's in physics is probably a little more flexible.
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