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Scientific/Engineering degree while in graduate school in another subject.

  1. Apr 14, 2010 #1


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    Hi, My situtation is as follows, I plan next year to start graduate school in math, though I would like to pursue a career as a mathematical physicist in academia, the odds are against me, so I need somehow to have a backup plan.
    Iv'e noticed in my school a few graduate students who also learn alongside their Msc or Phd a degree in the humanties, philosophy, languages, etc.

    So taking another Bsc in the humanities (in parallel) is possible, now I wish when the time will be right (i.e when I won't have to take grad courses in math) to pursue CS or CE degree.

    The problem is from what I understand I need some clearance from eduaction commitee in my department.

    So has anyone hear tried to do a Bsc alongside his Phd studies, and if both are in exact sciences or Engineering how did you accomplish that? did you need some clearance to do that?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2010 #2
    Are you allowed to take physics courses as a supplement to your math coursework?

    I don't seem to notice the math grad students in my physics classes, but I've had two graduate math courses (5000 level, so undergrads can take with department signature), and both times there were a couple of physics grad students enrolled that were taking extra math courses to supplement their physics PhD because they wanted to do theoretical/mathematical physics.

    I don't know how many physics classes you've had, but if you're in a graduate math program and doing well, I can't imagine why they would be horribly opposed to you taking an undergraduate E&M and Quantum Mechanics class with the physics department.

    I'm planning to enter grad school for physics but have checked to make sure that all of my top schools allow some level of 'cross-over' so that I can take graduate math courses each semester as well.
  4. Apr 14, 2010 #3


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    I see I haven't elaborated, I am finishing a Bsc degree in math and physics, so I have most of undergraduate courses which math and physics majors have in their belt.

    I do plan to take graduate physics courses here and there, but I guess I will need to get my schedule programme approved by the academic advisor.

    Anyhow, my question was and still is has anyone done a Phd while learning alongside for another Bsc in another scientific or engineering degree? if yes, were there any hurdles along the way, did you need to get a special approval by your department?
  5. Apr 14, 2010 #4
    It's common to earn a second master's degree in a field that will help your PhD research. I've never heard of anyone earning a second bachelor's degree while going for a PhD, and I can't quite see the point. One problem is usually PhD students are funded, and no one will want to pay your tuition for unrelated undergraduate courses.

    Plenty of interdisciplinary research can be relevant to multiple fields and require extra graduate coursework. Did you have any other field in mind besides math and physics? You're already covering two different departments there.
  6. Apr 15, 2010 #5


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    I don't think you can take alongside your PhD a second Msc, cause both of them are research based degrees.

    As I said in the begining, ideally I would like to continue in academy but if that won't work out I need a second plan, I've seen that there are more jobs for CS/CE majors than math Phds.
  7. Apr 15, 2010 #6
    I'm finishing up my undergrad, so I'm certainly not an expert, but I'd imagine that if you have a solid physics base from your undergrad and continue to take physics courses during your math PhD, you would be able to continue your research in Mathematical Physics.

    See if you can find the path John Baez took. He was a math major as an undergraduate and I don't think he double majored in physics.
    It hasn't seemed to trouble him too much as far as research in mathematical physics. I've heard he's even moving more and more away from the "pure" abstract math to more practical/applied forms of math-physics.
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