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Stuck In Required Classes

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Stuck In "Required" Classes

I'm a freshman in college right now. I've tested out of MAT 419, PHYS 460, and CHEM 424.

I have to take classes such as ENG 101, PHI 101, and ECN 101.

What could I possibly do to start working on the Master's level math, physics, and chemistry courses while I don't even have an associates degree?

My guidance counselor says there's nothing the school is able to do until I have my actual degrees in the respective fields.

Anyone been in this position before?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
cjl
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Course numbers tell us very little about what the courses actually are. That having been said, I find it unlikely that you tested out of senior level (I'm assuming that's what the 4** designates) courses as a freshman. Where/how did you learn the material?
 
  • #3
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What makes you think you can handle masters courses as a freshman?
 
  • #4
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They let you test out of those classes? They didn't let me test out of the basics and I got bored having to take classes that, if I haven't had the equivalent of before, nevertheless knew everything from from self study...
They don't even have harder classes to test into at the community college and they won't let me into the four year college because I have too few credits to transfer and they won't let me just dump my credits and go there as a freshman...
 
  • #5
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I agree with Micromass. I don't know why you would want to start taking masters level courses without having a BS/BA under your belt. That would be insanely difficult/realistically impossible. EVERYONE gets a bachelors degree. There isn't a single person (I'm aware of) who has skipped a bachelor's degree and gone straight to a masters/PhD. There are people who fly through the bachelor's in an insanely short amount of time, but none who skip it. And as I've said previously, you won't be able to pass master's level courses (especially for math) without having taken the prereqs that everyone else is going to be taking. I wouldn't bring this up with your peers (if you haven't already) as it could give off a very elitist attitude, which is the last thing you want to do.
 
  • #6
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I don't understand why people post numbers on forums. We have NO IDEA what they mean. Tell us the course names. Also, just take the damn classes lol.
 
  • #7
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Why can't you pass out of the humanities classes? Or take AP tests for credit maybe (if they let non high schoolers do that that is...)
 
  • #8
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EVERYONE gets a bachelors degree. There isn't a single person (I'm aware of) who has skipped a bachelor's degree and gone straight to a masters/PhD.
A few years ago, there was an interesting obituary in the NY Times... the man was a professor and scientist (I think he did sex research, but I could be incorrect). Anyway, he had dropped out of high school to start his bachelors degree, and then in turn dropped out of college to start his Ph.D. research. They reported that at one point, his studies weren't going very well and he was despairing that if he dropped out of the Ph.D. program, he wouldn't have a single academic qualification after completing grade 8!

He did finish, of course, and apparently had a successful career. This was also a very long time ago, and it's doubtful that anything like this could happen these days. I regret that I can't recall his name or find the article, but I wanted to relate the story anyway.
 
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  • #9
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Oh I want to do that! Wait how do you get permission to do that? A rich kid perhaps?
 
  • #10
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I took a couple of masters courses during my undergrad, albeit not as a freshman. I found they were a very stimulating supplement to the introductory-level classes, and I was able to perform well on the coursework too. None of my peers thought I was an elitist for doing so (they all knew how big of a nerd I was).

Does your institution offer graduate classes? If so you should identify the particular classes you are interested in and speak to the professors about wether you have the necessary knowledge-base to handle them.

If you are not able to find masters classes that you can actually enroll in, auditing is also an option.

I would recommend that, unless you have significant prior experience with college-level work, you wait until at least your Sophomore or Junior year before considering enrolling in graduate courses so that you have time to get used to a college workload and build background knowledge which will be helpful when you move on to more advanced work.
 
  • #11
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Don't waste time taking coursework you don't need. You are probably done your math requirements so start taking other coursework you need to complete your degree. That way you might be able to graduate a year earlier and save tons of debt.

Advanced Real Analysis isn't going anywhere for the next 300 years. There's no rush to take it. Finish your degree faster and save $. Then take the courses for completely free through a PhD or job that pays for a masters.
 
  • #12
eri
1,034
20


Oh I want to do that! Wait how do you get permission to do that? A rich kid perhaps?
While not completing college before starting graduate work might have been acceptable 50 years ago, grad schools can lose their accreditation if they try that these days. You must earn a bachelors before staring graduate school. No amount of money will change that.
 
  • #13
cjl
Science Advisor
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While not completing college before starting graduate work might have been acceptable 50 years ago, grad schools can lose their accreditation if they try that these days. You must earn a bachelors before staring graduate school. No amount of money will change that.
That's not entirely true - first of all, at many universities, you can take graduate coursework without being enrolled in a graduate program, though this would usually be done in place of a junior or senior level elective (and I've never heard of a freshman taking graduate courses this way). In addition, some universities (including the one from which I obtained my degrees) have a concurrent BS/MS program, in which you can be admitted to the graduate school after your junior year rather than senior, and your graduate courses count both towards the masters degree and towards the bachelors (as technical electives). Of course, at my school, the application for this program requires the successful completion of the fall semester junior year, with even more strict academic requirements (GPA, specifically) than normal graduate admissions.
 
  • #14
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If I were in your situation, I'd email the professors who teach the classes you want to take, and ask for permission or if you can "independent study" a topic of your interest.

Good luck!
 
  • #15
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He did finish, of course, and apparently had a successful career. This was also a very long time ago, and it's doubtful that anything like this could happen these days. I regret that I can't recall his name or find the article, but I wanted to relate the story anyway.
Somebody here took physics class up to quantum mechanics before entering college.

There was post by a guy in Willmott forums who, in his sophomore year at Dartmouth, was finish the graduate math sequence.

Perhaps some departments are more willing to accommodate students with varying levels of preparation. At the top schools - having been on their websites - one can assume that there entering freshman each who test out of more courses than just the calculus sequence. (according the "math placement" pages)

UChicago, for example, allows certain freshman to start directly with their honours analysis sequence.

How do students get that level of preparation? I guess they just like math. Or they were bored in high school. Or they got caught up in the "cross-registering for courses at the local college" frenzy.
 
  • #16
274
1


Somebody here took physics class up to quantum mechanics before entering college.

There was post by a guy in Willmott forums who, in his sophomore year at Dartmouth, was finish the graduate math sequence.

Perhaps some departments are more willing to accommodate students with varying levels of preparation. At the top schools - having been on their websites - one can assume that there entering freshman each who test out of more courses than just the calculus sequence. (according the "math placement" pages)

UChicago, for example, allows certain freshman to start directly with their honours analysis sequence.

How do students get that level of preparation? I guess they just like math. Or they were bored in high school. Or they got caught up in the "cross-registering for courses at the local college" frenzy.
UChicago's honors analysis sequence uses Spivaks Calculus textbook so it wouldn't be something on the level of Rudin, not that it isn't a tough course. I am at OSU and we also are allowed to take this honors analysis course as freshman. I am actually in the course now. I am a sophomore though but there is even a high school senior in my class. Apparently his high school had special courses to prepare him for this stuff. I myself am not from Ohio so I don't know much detail about it.
 
  • #17
274
1


A few years ago, there was an interesting obituary in the NY Times... the man was a professor and scientist (I think he did sex research, but I could be incorrect). Anyway, he had dropped out of high school to start his bachelors degree, and then in turn dropped out of college to start his Ph.D. research. They reported that at one point, his studies weren't going very well and he was despairing that if he dropped out of the Ph.D. program, he wouldn't have a single academic qualification after completing grade 8!

He did finish, of course, and apparently had a successful career. This was also a very long time ago, and it's doubtful that anything like this could happen these days. I regret that I can't recall his name or find the article, but I wanted to relate the story anyway.
Looks like I just found my PhD topic...
 
  • #18
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Oh I want to do that! Wait how do you get permission to do that? A rich kid perhaps?
I looked it up and there are actually a few cases of younger people (mid teens) getting PhDs. They aren't rich; they're incredibly intelligent. They typically have the perfect combination of being home schooled right and possessing prodigial intelligence (one kid had literally started doing differential equations at age 5 :0).
 
  • #19
eri
1,034
20


That's not entirely true - first of all, at many universities, you can take graduate coursework without being enrolled in a graduate program, though this would usually be done in place of a junior or senior level elective (and I've never heard of a freshman taking graduate courses this way). In addition, some universities (including the one from which I obtained my degrees) have a concurrent BS/MS program, in which you can be admitted to the graduate school after your junior year rather than senior, and your graduate courses count both towards the masters degree and towards the bachelors (as technical electives). Of course, at my school, the application for this program requires the successful completion of the fall semester junior year, with even more strict academic requirements (GPA, specifically) than normal graduate admissions.
While anyone can take a grad level class, the school cannot grant you a graduate degree without the bachelors, since that's a requirement for a graduate degree. The BS/MS doesn't get in the way of that since again, you'd earn the bachelors either a year before or at the same time. You're not skipping the bachelors.
 
  • #20
847
8


UChicago's honors analysis sequence uses Spivaks Calculus textbook so it wouldn't be something on the level of Rudin, not that it isn't a tough course. I am at OSU and we also are allowed to take this honors analysis course as freshman. I am actually in the course now. I am a sophomore though but there is even a high school senior in my class. Apparently his high school had special courses to prepare him for this stuff. I myself am not from Ohio so I don't know much detail about it.
Nope. They use Spivak's Calculus for the honours calculus sequence.

They use "Introductory Real Analysis, by A.N.Kolmogorov and S.V.Fomin."
 
  • #21
274
1


Nope. They use Spivak's Calculus for the honours calculus sequence.

They use "Introductory Real Analysis, by A.N.Kolmogorov and S.V.Fomin."
Oh. Well that's an embarrassing mistake on my part.
 
  • #22
847
8


It shouldn't be embarrassing. There are schools who call their honours calculus sequence "intro to analysis" or a variation of that. My apologies if I came across as uptight. I only remember the UChicago math courses because I took a close look at them a while back.
 
  • #23
1,119
21


I looked it up and there are actually a few cases of younger people (mid teens) getting PhDs. They aren't rich; they're incredibly intelligent. They typically have the perfect combination of being home schooled right and possessing prodigial intelligence (one kid had literally started doing differential equations at age 5 :0).
I've known kids who were pursuing a Ph.D. at 16 or 17. However, they didn't skip their bachelor's degree... they just started it at 12 or 13. :smile:
 
  • #24
cjl
Science Advisor
1,772
360


While anyone can take a grad level class, the school cannot grant you a graduate degree without the bachelors, since that's a requirement for a graduate degree. The BS/MS doesn't get in the way of that since again, you'd earn the bachelors either a year before or at the same time. You're not skipping the bachelors.
Agreed - you can be admitted to the graduate school without the bachelors in those cases, but the receipt of a graduate degree is contingent on finishing the bachelors. Your original statement was that you must earn a bachelors before starting graduate school, which isn't always the case, but you definitely must earn a bachelors by the time you finish it.
 

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