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Second undergraduate degree

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  • Thread starter jaruta
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello,
this is my first time posting on these forums, so I'd just like to say hello (again).

My problem is somewhat silly. Most people have an interest in getting out of school asap, but I'm the opposite. I'm just about to finish a degree major/minor in econ and math. Now, economics is a great subject, but I feel that I can develop my intellectual potential, and my curiosity, if I were to pursue another degree in another field. I was thinking of pursuing a double major in physics and chemistry at McGill (in Montreal). I figure that not only is one getting an edumacation, but there is also an opportunity to learn a foreign language. (The classroom language is English.) Yet, another 3, possibly, 4 years! Would it be better to just get an MA in econ and read natural science as a course of personal development?

What makes this all the more difficult is that I've no idea what to do with my future. I already have previous education in accounting and vocational training in banking and FS. I'm 22. Just turned. So there is alot of time. Money is rarely an issue. And I have a very supportive family.

If anyone has any advice whatsoever I will greatly, tremendously, appreciate it. This is something that is really beginning to bug me.

Cheers
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
261
1
FWIW, my first B.A. was in Sociology/Psychology at age 24

Now at age 32, Im about a year and a half aways from a B.S. in Math/Physics.

I guess a second option to consider might be to try doing a math grad degree and maybe do your research in a physics/chem field thats more slanted towards the math aspects of those sciences. I know of a couple of grad students in Math that never took a course in UG Physics, but are doing work in molecular modeling and such.
 
  • #3
chiro
Science Advisor
4,790
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Hey there jaruta and welcome to the forums.

Given that you want to do a double major in the sciences, then I guess that you would have to do a whole new degree for this since the only overlap with your old degree is the math.

If you want to learn a language then the best way is to travel and get your feet wet. Its hard on everyone but its the best way to learn. Maybe as a substitute you could find some kind of club or gathering where people speak and maybe even write in the language, but I would suggest you get in that situation and have a pocket dictionary on you.

As far as reading science, I guess you could do that. There are people out there who do a lot of their own research into all kinds of things and there is no reason why you couldn't as well.

However for most people, the best way to learn science in a minimal amount of time without skimping on the quality would be to do it in a degree. Any university worth its salt will have people there that will provide you with the equipment, get you to do the experiments yourself so that you are actively being scientific, and having you surrounded by people who all have their own analysis on results obtained, logic behind results, conjectures, hypothesis' etc, as well as having people with years of experience that you can ask for help.

I might get flamed for this, but sometimes it can be better to learn yourself without having any outside relative reference: it can take longer (usually a lot longer) but sometimes this process of discovery is invaluable. I would argue that in a university environment (and yes I have physics, math, and comp sci "labs") that it goes very quickly and a deep understanding of it doesn't quite reach you (its usually very superficial). You usually get the deeper understanding when you go to work or when you do a PhD.

I think the best way would be to combine the two approaches: initially go to uni to get a grounding, but after that go independent. Look back on every experiment you have done and you have doubts about something, then be scientific: investigate, experiment, ask around, analyze the logic and assumptions that have been made, maybe challenge assumptions or generalize them, and do this to your hearts content.

In terms of using language for science, most journals, articles and so on are done in English, even in non-English speaking countries.

Also the reason why you should do science (to start off with) at a uni is because its hard for many people to study and learn a field of knowledge properly by themselves. People have done it, but not many people have the drive to pursue something in that capacity in solitude. The environment of university which includes group labs and lecturing provides a social environment that for most people "ignites" learning. Most people need other people for motivation and this is not confined to just university, but pretty much anything in life.

Thats my two cents, so take it or leave it, and good luck!
 

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