Third bachelors degree so I can get a job! :o

  • #1
Ephesus
10
0
Okay, thus far I have two bachelors, one in philosophy and one in religious studies from a prestigious liberal arts college. As you can imagine, I don't have a job - I wonder why? : )

Anyway, now that bills are coming in and credit card inquires are being declined, I need to get serious and find a job.

I am interested in physics and mathematics. Why? Well, I did an internship where I learned the material and loved it. I have *NO* formal education in either discipline, though, I have read Calculus by Spivak and understood it all.

I was wondering, if I only go for a math BA/BS, if I could do it online? Would employers care? Do they care if you did half your degree at a community college to save some money? What about the latter question if I combined a physics degree?

Does it really matter where I go? I am sure I could get in anywhere, my graduating GPA was 3.96 and my GREs were quite good. If the new adcomm won't take that into consideration, I may have a problem: I dropped out of high school when I was young, obtained a GED, took the SATs (scored in the 1500s awhile back) and went to a community college, then transferred.

I am not sure the field of math I'd like to pursue (or even physics [if you can't tell, I am leaning towards just math]), and like I said, I have no formal review in either.

I did some coursework online in my other two degrees and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd enjoy taking a degree online, if possible. If not, then, I'll go the traditional route, but where to begin...

That's the question. I'll await the answers. :)

Keep thinking
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ki Man
539
0
Okay, thus far I have two bachelors, one in philosophy and one in religious studies from a prestigious liberal arts college. As you can imagine, I don't have a job - I wonder why? : )


how many years did that take?
 
  • #3
Ephesus
10
0
Maybe four years total.

Now how about some help on my questions.
 
  • #4
arunma
927
4
Okay, thus far I have two bachelors, one in philosophy and one in religious studies from a prestigious liberal arts college. As you can imagine, I don't have a job - I wonder why? : )

Anyway, now that bills are coming in and credit card inquires are being declined, I need to get serious and find a job.

I am interested in physics and mathematics. Why? Well, I did an internship where I learned the material and loved it. I have *NO* formal education in either discipline, though, I have read Calculus by Spivak and understood it all.

I was wondering, if I only go for a math BA/BS, if I could do it online? Would employers care? Do they care if you did half your degree at a community college to save some money? What about the latter question if I combined a physics degree?

Does it really matter where I go? I am sure I could get in anywhere, my graduating GPA was 3.96 and my GREs were quite good. If the new adcomm won't take that into consideration, I may have a problem: I dropped out of high school when I was young, obtained a GED, took the SATs (scored in the 1500s awhile back) and went to a community college, then transferred.

I am not sure the field of math I'd like to pursue (or even physics [if you can't tell, I am leaning towards just math]), and like I said, I have no formal review in either.

I did some coursework online in my other two degrees and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd enjoy taking a degree online, if possible. If not, then, I'll go the traditional route, but where to begin...

That's the question. I'll await the answers. :)

Keep thinking

Heh, most interesting. I have degrees in physics and math, and have often thought about going to a seminary. Looks like we're in opposite situations (well, except for the fact that I ultimately decided to apply to graduate school in physics).

Anyway, here's my $0.02. If you're looking for enlightenment and knowledge of the universe, then major in physics. If you're looking for a job, go for engineering. Though I knew I was applying to grad school, I applied for several jobs during my last year of college, just to see what sort of offers I'd get. I've got good grades and research experience, and I still found it very difficult to find jobs. Everyone is looking for engineers and computer scientists. Almost no one (at least no one in my job search) looks specifically for physicists. So if you want a degree that makes you employable, it seems to me that engineering is the way to go. If you want a job as a physicist, you have to go to grad school first. But for what it's worth, I've found that relatively speaking, mathematics is more marketable than physics.

Oh, about the GED and community college issues. I can't speak first hand on this, but from what I've heard, what matters most is where you got your degree. Going to a community college probably won't hurt you at all. And as for the GED, only one of the seven graduate schools I applied to even asked me for the name of my high school. So it seems to not be important.
 
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  • #5
Ephesus
10
0
So, where should I be looking to go for a degree in math and/or physics? Is there a ranking somewhere?

I don't want to do engineering or I'd look into that. I think it's because my dad is one, and I can't stand him. Some psychological barrier that isn't going to break.
 
  • #6
arunma
927
4
So, where should I be looking to go for a degree in math and/or physics? Is there a ranking somewhere?

I can't personally tell you, but I'm sure that U.S. News and World Report has a list of top math programs. You could probably find it at the library. I'm of the opinion that where you do your undergraduate degree doesn't really matter, especially in math. My undergraduate school's math department was listed in the top 10 in the nation. I certainly didn't get a better math education than anyone else (I'm not saying it was bad either, but I could have gotten the same education practically anywhere). It seems to me that school rankings really start to matter only in graduate school, where it helps to do your thesis under a top researcher.

I don't want to do engineering or I'd look into that. I think it's because my dad is one, and I can't stand him. Some psychological barrier that isn't going to break.

Oh, I see. I understand. My dad is also an engineer. And while I get along great with my dad, let's just say I wouldn't want him as a colleague. Computer science, then?
 
  • #7
Ki Man
539
0
Oh, I see. I understand. My dad is also an engineer. And while I get along great with my dad, let's just say I wouldn't want him as a colleague. Computer science, then?

I don't know, i think it would be interesting to stike up a conversation with my dad about electrical engineering.:rolleyes:

are you more interested in being one of the designers, being a number cruncher, or the guy who actually sees to it that stuff gets done
 
  • #8
quark80
61
0
I recently posed the idea of going back to do a 2nd PhD...And one of the things that was brought up by the posters on this forum was how I would address the question of being a "perpetual student" and not getting a job of some description for a while first.

Have you thought about how you'd address that question (if it's relevant to your situation)? Even if it's not a job directly relevant to your previous degree(s), maybe it might be worth working for a while to prove to the admissions board that you're capable of working in the real world? Just an idea.
 
  • #9
verty
Homework Helper
2,185
198
Okay, thus far I have two bachelors, one in philosophy and one in religious studies from a prestigious liberal arts college.

I'm wondering just how prestigious your college was.
 
  • #10
Ephesus
10
0
I can't personally tell you, but I'm sure that U.S. News and World Report has a list of top math programs. You could probably find it at the library. I'm of the opinion that where you do your undergraduate degree doesn't really matter, especially in math. My undergraduate school's math department was listed in the top 10 in the nation. I certainly didn't get a better math education than anyone else (I'm not saying it was bad either, but I could have gotten the same education practically anywhere). It seems to me that school rankings really start to matter only in graduate school, where it helps to do your thesis under a top researcher.

I think they (and NRC) only have rankings for graduate schools. I know it makes sense, but there *are* some undergrad schools in one program better than others. Take for example, Reed College, my alma mater, is ranked 50-something in US News for liberal arts schools, but by the philosophical gourmet and every PhD program in the world, they're ranked in the top five schools to get your undergrad philosophy degree in due to grad placement rates, etc.

I know I don't want to go back to a liberal arts school, I just want to get to a good university ie., Berkeley, where I can finish my degree rather quickly (or something online).

I think there are two reasons I am choosing -- or attempting to choose -- math over physics: time involved and labs. I am not sure I could start being in a lab completing an experiment over and over again that's been proven a million times thus.

Are these myths or am I correct?

Oh, I see. I understand. My dad is also an engineer. And while I get along great with my dad, let's just say I wouldn't want him as a colleague. Computer science, then?

Well, what I understand of CS is it's all sitting at a desk crunching numbers and the pay doesn't seem commensurate.
 
  • #11
Ephesus
10
0
are you more interested in being one of the designers, being a number cruncher, or the guy who actually sees to it that stuff gets done
Designer. How come?
 
  • #12
Ephesus
10
0
I'm wondering just how prestigious your college was.

Why? Because I don't have a job? There aren't many for philosophy grads. Because I didn't go to grad school? I got accepted, I just chose not to go.

Do I regret it? Maybe.
 
  • #13
complexPHILOSOPHY
365
2
I know I don't want to go back to a liberal arts school, I just want to get to a good university ie., Berkeley, where I can finish my degree rather quickly (or something online).

I am not sure if this matters but the UC system is unique in that at each university, there are several liberal arts colleges which you belong to. Obviously, you have access to a massive research facility so it is different in that respect.

Where are you located? Do you mind moving?

You mentioned that you understood Spivak's Calculus, but did you actually solve the problems, or just read through?

I can read through lots of math books and understand it but when it is time to solve a problem, I have to practice, practice, practice. No amount of conceptual understanding or axiomatic memorization makes me a good problem solver. It gives me a solid theoretical framework of the mathematics that I am doing which does help significantly with problem solving but I still have to do a lot of problems and work through each step, summarizing why I am doing it.

Have you worked through any other mathematics books?
 
  • #14
Ephesus
10
0
I'm located in New York and no I don't mind moving.

It took some work, but I worked through all of the book. I found it quite easy.

I haven't tried any other math books.
 
  • #15
Ki Man
539
0
Designer. How come?

basically as a technician/engineer/whatever you're going to end up being one of those categories. just something to think about when choosing a major
 
  • #16
Ephesus
10
0
So, isn't mathematicians doing a lot of physics work? Is there any way I can do physics with a math BS? I looked at a few schools and the SUNY schools seem good.
 
  • #17
arunma
927
4
Why? Because I don't have a job? There aren't many for philosophy grads. Because I didn't go to grad school? I got accepted, I just chose not to go.

Do I regret it? Maybe.

Yes, this is true. As you've probably seen by now, philosophy won't get you a job unless you go to graduate school. But a religious studies major can certainly get you a job in ministry. I'm guessing this isn't your thing anymore?

So, isn't mathematicians doing a lot of physics work? Is there any way I can do physics with a math BS? I looked at a few schools and the SUNY schools seem good.

Well...yeah, sort of. It really depends on what your math education focuses on. There certainly are math courses you can take that have a physics emphasis. But as I said earlier I have a math degree, and I didn't learn much physics in my math education. A specific education in physics gives you a lot that you can't learn through math courses. For example, doing physics research helps you to understand the intrinsic science involved in physics, as well as the experimental process. Math is a tool in physics, but it isn't physics.

Now, if you supplement your math education with physics courses, then yes, you'd be qualified for graduate study in physics, or perhaps even for a job that involves physics. But no, math by itself won't qualify you for work in physics.
 
  • #18
Ephesus
10
0
Yes, this is true. As you've probably seen by now, philosophy won't get you a job unless you go to graduate school. But a religious studies major can certainly get you a job in ministry. I'm guessing this isn't your thing anymore?

Well, I was never interested in ministry, I just liked learning about different religions. I thought I was going to grad school to write a PhD thesis on how religions affect politics.

Well...yeah, sort of. It really depends on what your math education focuses on. There certainly are math courses you can take that have a physics emphasis. But as I said earlier I have a math degree, and I didn't learn much physics in my math education. A specific education in physics gives you a lot that you can't learn through math courses. For example, doing physics research helps you to understand the intrinsic science involved in physics, as well as the experimental process. Math is a tool in physics, but it isn't physics.

Now, if you supplement your math education with physics courses, then yes, you'd be qualified for graduate study in physics, or perhaps even for a job that involves physics. But no, math by itself won't qualify you for work in physics.

What type of math courses? Would you recommend me going the math or physics route? What schools should I begin looking at? I think I'd be more interested in pure mathematics, it just sounds better. :)
 
  • #19
mr_coffee
1,629
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Again, you want to get a job when you graduate don't you? If you go pure math, a lot of my friends who are doing pure math majors can't find jobs and are thinking about becoming high school teachers because they don't want to go to grad school a lot of the companies don't want them becuase they have no engineering background.
 
  • #20
Gokul43201
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Science Advisor
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I think there are two reasons I am choosing -- or attempting to choose -- math over physics: time involved and labs. I am not sure I could start being in a lab completing an experiment over and over again that's been proven a million times thus.
I'm afraid you won't much enjoy math or physics then. Learning either of these involves getting familiar with things that have been proven tons of times in the past by practising them again and again till you can do them in your sleep.

For someone who's got two degrees that didn't lead to employment, you seem unafraid to get a third one that may end up with the same result. If you want to get a job, get a degree in something that makes you more employable (computer science, engineering, accountancy, finance, etc.). If you are ready to do 6 years of grad school after a four-year degree (and possibly, one or two post-docs after that), go into math or physics.
 
  • #21
J77
1,094
1
For someone who's got two degrees that didn't lead to employment, you seem unafraid to get a third one that may end up with the same result. If you want to get a job, get a degree in something that makes you more employable (computer science, engineering, accountancy, finance, etc.). If you are ready to do 6 years of grad school after a four-year degree (and possibly, one or two post-docs after that), go into math or physics.
This is spot on if you feel it necessary to do a third degree.

I'd also have an answer ready when a potential employer asks why you've done 3 undergraduate degrees.

People can think that staying in education is the easy way out when looking for a job.
 
  • #22
chemisttree
Science Advisor
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Why not stay in school... and teach.

I'm sure the local school system could use a math teacher. You would be great at it! Think, how many math teachers do you think worked their way through an advanced math book and enjoyed it?

You don't need a math degree to start doing something you enjoy involving math. Start now!
 
  • #23
winchiaze
1
0
So, isn't mathematicians doing a lot of physics work? Is there any way I can do physics with a math BS? I looked at a few schools and the SUNY schools seem good.

What an interesting dilemma you have. So, did you ever figure out whether you're going to go back for a third bachelor's?
I have will have a bachelor's in civil engineering from a good university in Southern California. There is no shortage of jobs in engineering, though some disciplines in engineering, namely mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering, have more entry-level employers attending our campus career fairs.
I think you really have to like engineering to make a career out of it. Engineering is kind of like a back office job. As an engineer, you don't really deal with people and you sit on your desk all day, slaving over design or crunching numbers or programming. Judging from your articulateness and ur background, you seem like the type of person who needs constant good conversation and who needs to be in a very sociable work setting. If you sensed that "psychological barrier" from your dad, chances are you will sense the same barrier from other engineers. I have spent all 5 years of my college life with other engineering students and I totally understand this psychological barrier you are talking about. I guess engineers are introverted in their own nerdy ways and most often times, arent very good conversationalists. Of course these are just my opinions and i don't mean to offend anyone.
 
  • #24
Llama77
113
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Idk how ya can't find a job, Philosophy majors are some of the most applicable people in any type of work. I've known Philosophy majors to go into science, math, business, English and just about every other field possible. Knowing and being able to debate on Philosophy is quite a good skill, you must just be looking in the wrong place.
 
  • #25
bravernix
188
0
Idk how ya can't find a job, Philosophy majors are some of the most applicable people in any type of work. I've known Philosophy majors to go into science, math, business, English and just about every other field possible. Knowing and being able to debate on Philosophy is quite a good skill, you must just be looking in the wrong place.

I suppose the difficult part would be convincing people that you are useful in those positions. The individuals you are talking about probably took additional courses (double majors?) in those subjects. Philosophy alone is a tough sell.
 
  • #26
Llama77
113
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I suppose the difficult part would be convincing people that you are useful in those positions. The individuals you are talking about probably took additional courses (double majors?) in those subjects. Philosophy alone is a tough sell.

I don't think so, Philosophy gives very good critical thinking skills. Notice how most mathematicians are also Philosophers and vice versa.
 
  • #27
bravernix
188
0
I don't think so, Philosophy gives very good critical thinking skills. Notice how most mathematicians are also Philosophers and vice versa.

So you are saying any philosophy major could walk right into a job where the employer is seeking a mathematician or say a physicist, without having taken any advanced courses in those subjects? I don't think so. Also, I do not believe the statement that most mathematicians are also philosophers, unless you are talking strictly about logic.
 
  • #28
animalcroc
59
0
With a degree in math or physics you can be at high school teacher and start out at 40k in california. If you're looking to start in the mid fifties in california you can be an engineer. Check out employment outlook for different careers.
You may like engineering. Browse through the books. I"m in a similar situation like you. I'd rather be doing math or physics but I'm being realistic about the future so I'm doing engineering science.
 
  • #29
jhicks
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It took some work, but I worked through all of the book. I found it quite easy.

I'd be a bit cautious about assuming you'd like to obtain a math degree because you found calculus quite easy. It's largely proofs-driven and extremely theoretical in upper division. If you want to make money, I'm not sure a math degree will get you too much further toward making money* unless you want to focus on something such as math in economics. Physics may be closer to what you are interested in, but again it's not exactly a degree that you go and get a job just anywhere in your field, unless you don't mind teaching.

*DISCLAIMER: I am an engineering major :p
 
  • #30
mr_coffee
1,629
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I agree with jhicks,

I'm a comp sci major and calculus I found quite easy but would I want to be a math major? F that.

You could maybe be a high school teacher if you go pure math but if you want a job right out of college engineering may be your best bet.
 
  • #31
JasonRox
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I have read Calculus by Spivak and understood it all.

I'm curious to know how long that took.
 
  • #32
animalcroc
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I'm curious to know how long that took.

there are universities that use spivak's book so assuming an intro to calc is 1 year, then it perhaps it took 1 year for him. But of course different people study at different speeds.
 

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