1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Second bachelors in Physics?

  1. Oct 29, 2012 #1
    Hello All:

    So here is my story/situation. I started out college as a Chemical Engineering major. I made it through my first year well enough (~3.3 GPA), but I found I didn't enjoy the chemistry courses, or what I would be able to do with my degree. I also had a couple of thoroughly terrible professors that drove me away from engineering/mathematical sciences. For a lot of reasons I changed majors (multiple times) and eventually transferred universities. At my new university I chose the degree track (a BA) that would allow me to graduate in the shortest amount of time. Now, I will graduate this May, and I have come to realize the folly of that choice. I'm bored out of my skull, and have crap for employment prospects despite 2 semesters of paid research experience.

    I have taken two calculus courses, two chemistry courses, and an algebra based physics designed for science and engineering majors. Recently, to abate my boredom, I have begun to teach myself basic astrophysics, and have gotten hooked. For a long time now I have been drawn to academia, so I would want to pursue advanced study down the line.

    So then, questions:
    In your opinion would it be better to continue my self-study in all things physics and take the subject GRE, or to suck it up and pay for a second degree (my first is totally unrelated)?

    I'm really interested in cosmology, if I get a second bachelors should I pursue a degree from a math department, a physics department, or an astronomy department (keeping in mind that future advanced study is my goal)?

    Do any of you have recommendations for texts suited to self-study in general physics/particle physics (everything I've seen says you need to understand the small stuff to understand the large stuff)/cosmology?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2012 #2
    I think you would have some explaining to do to grad programs if you have a liberal arts degree and only two semesters of calculus under your belt, because it doesn't sound like you would be at all prepared for grad research in science. Most of the programs I look into have requirements saying a "bachelor's in physics, a related field or equivalent work experience [sometimes!]". With only one semester of algebra-based physics, it would take a massive amount of time to self-study for the GRE subject test, and it probably wouldn't be at the depth you would want if you eventually become a physicist. If you really want to pursue physics, I think your best bet would be to get a second bachelor's (which would probably take about 2 years if funding isn't an issue and you start at calc III).

    As for what to actually study, if you want to do astrophysics, get a physics degree, NOT an astronomy degree. You pigeon-hole yourself and your abilities far too much if you focus on astronomy at the undergrad level (and possibly even at the grad level). Get a physics degree and lean toward astrophysics topics for research.

    As for books... Dover is awesome. And cheap, I would say poke around their selection on Amazon. :p
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook