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Second Bachelor's Degree-Help

  1. Oct 13, 2011 #1
    This spring I'll be graduating with a BA in English and German. I'll potentially be traveling to Germany next year to teach on a Fulbright grant, and I might possibly do the Teach for America program for two years. However, either immediately after I graduate, or after one of those programs, I'd like to return to school to ultimately get a graduate degree in physics.

    What is the best route to take? I realize most universities do not admit students who already have a bachelor's degree, but I've found a couple that have second-degree programs. I'm also aware of the LEAP program as Boston University for engineering. If I were to do a second-degree program, I'd obviously like to minimize cost and time. Does anyone have any advice as to the best path to take?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2011 #2


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    First, you should understand some of your advantage. With your education (degree) and experiences, you could teach English, which is in very strong demand, and you may expect to have a secure career in this.

    Second, depending on the way in which you would live, you could use your job or career as a teacher to build up funds for your education for Physics.

    Third, very generally, you might look for various kinds of alternative undergraduate programs for Engineering or Physics.
  4. Oct 14, 2011 #3
    Actually, many Universities have second degree programs. Why wouldn't they?

    It varies a lot by country and by institution, but some will give you credit for part of the work in your first degree. In countries with extensive "general education" requirements, much of it is often waived as they assume you did enough the first time around.

    Check with the schools you want to apply to.

    As for switching to Physics, what is your background in Math? If you haven't done much, take time to get up to speed as soon as possible.
  5. Oct 14, 2011 #4
    This is not a trivial a question as you may think. Not all universities will admit you for a second bachelors. I know mine and a bunch of other top physics programs will not accept you, as they prefer to make room for first-time degree seekers. Yes, waah waah, very sad, but that's how it is right now.

    There are some schools who will admit you for a second bachelors. I can tell you that there are no shortcuts for you, sadly. A physics degree is not going to be easier for you because you already have a degree and you may actually be farther behind than a brand new freshman if your math isn't up to snuff. A B.S. in physics is four years. Minimum. And grad school is about 5-8 more years after that almost universally. You're looking at 9-12 years of your life in school. If you want to do this and you have a damn good reason to then get your math up to speed first of all. You must be ready to start calculus your first year. Other than that, tenacity will get you far. Good luck.
  6. Oct 16, 2011 #5
    I just completed a second Bachelors in Physics (following a B.S. in neuroscience and then a teacher certification program where I realized I would not be happy teaching for the rest of my life). I am now applying for PhD programs in physics.

    For my second Bachelors I was at Indiana University, and although they take the second bachelors admission very seriously (you must have a good reason) they are extremely flexible with credits toward the degree. I ended up take 0 ******** requirement-fulfilling liberal arts classes, just doing the necessary math and physics. It took 2 years for me, although I had taken Calculus I-III, Physics I&II and lots of biology and some chemistry in my first Bachelors. Note that you are not eligible for typical undergraduate financial aid as a second degree student.

    My advice:
    Unless you think you would be absolutely, abysmally unhappy pursuing a career with your current degrees don't go for the second one. Read up on personal finance (I recommend Mr. Money Moustache's blog) - by being frugual and investing wisely you can easily retire after 10-15 years at a decent salary. So ask yourself whether you really want to pursue up to 10 more years of school + loans in comparison to working for 10-15 years and then being basically financially independent.
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