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

  1. Feb 3, 2007 #1
    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
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2007 #2

    how many years did that take?
  4. Feb 3, 2007 #3
    Maybe four years total.

    Now how about some help on my questions.
  5. Feb 3, 2007 #4
    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.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2007
  6. Feb 3, 2007 #5
    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.
  7. Feb 3, 2007 #6
    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.

    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?
  8. Feb 3, 2007 #7
    I dont 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
  9. Feb 4, 2007 #8
    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.
  10. Feb 4, 2007 #9


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    I'm wondering just how prestigious your college was.
  11. Feb 4, 2007 #10
    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?

    Well, what I understand of CS is it's all sitting at a desk crunching numbers and the pay doesn't seem commensurate.
  12. Feb 4, 2007 #11
    Designer. How come?
  13. Feb 4, 2007 #12
    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.
  14. Feb 4, 2007 #13
    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?
  15. Feb 4, 2007 #14
    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.
  16. Feb 4, 2007 #15
    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
  17. Feb 4, 2007 #16
    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.
  18. Feb 4, 2007 #17
    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...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.
  19. Feb 5, 2007 #18
    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.

    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. :)
  20. Feb 5, 2007 #19
    Again, you want to get a job when you graduate don't you? If you go pure math, alot of my friends who are doing pure math majors can't find jobs and are thinking about becoming highschool teachers because they don't want to go to grad school alot of the companies don't want them becuase they have no engineering background.
  21. Feb 5, 2007 #20


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    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.
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