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US school suggestions for second BS in Physics

  1. Jun 28, 2010 #1
    Hello. Longtime reader, first time poster.

    I'm 28, and graduated from a decent school in Philadelphia in 2005, though I wasn't a very good student--mostly a lack of maturity and discipline. Having obtained a BS in Information Systems has led to work in various IT careers that haven't been too fulfilling or rewarding, though compensation has been fine. In addition, having such a specialized degree means that I have an insufficient pure sciences background to pursue study at the graduate level, though I've taken 2 semesters of Calc and enjoy math and science in general.

    Recently, I moved to the San Francisco Bay area in hopes that in a few years time, I could get into a school in either the UC or Cal State system. Unfortunately, the odds are against us for second BS applicants due to the state's horrendous budget deficits and the schools' dependence on state funding. I have a decent job that pays well, but also have quite a bit of student loans that I'll need to pay back in the coming years.

    Returning to school has been on my mind since graduating, and I feel that academia is where I belong at this point in my life--it is something that I cannot ignore.

    Within this time, I've concluded that Physics is THE major to study for its intellectual stimulation, and promotion of critical thinking. Physics provides many avenues if I ever wanted to pursue graduate school, or return to the workforce for something more rewarding. I admire Physics for its universality and power in understanding nature and the universe. Perhaps I would even consider teaching someday at the community college level.

    Should attempts at school in California fail, I'm willing to move somewhere else that has a good Physics faculty/program. Forget about the first or second-tier of schools, I simply don't have the credibility for admittance.

    Ideally a public school would be great for its lowered cost (and understand I'd have to pay out-of-state tuition the first year and try to get in-state rates for subsequent years once residency is established), and an area with a low cost of living. I suppose its either that or just finding a job and working for a year before starting.

    I could always move back home to PA with my family to save money. But the the local educational offerings aren't that great imo.

    In the meantime, I continue to self-study using Halliday-Resnick and Mathematical Methods in Physical Sciences.

    In closing, I wish there was a school that would offer either a full or partially online degree program in more of these traditional majors. It's disappointing that many of these online programs available today are tailored primarily to vocational objectives. However, I do concede that there is likely insufficient demand to satisfy a niche of people like myself who want to get a second BS in Physics because it's unconventional.

    I welcome your suggestions, especially those from instructors, professors, and advisors from the Physics community.

    Thanks you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2010 #2

    try speaking to someone in the one of the physics departments you may be interested about what the core courses they require for acceptence into their grad program. I think a better option, time-wise, is to avoid doing a new BS from scratch and instead self study to the point where you can jump right into 2nd, 3rd , or 4th year courses. From here, assuming all goes well, you could probably jump right into a graduate program with a year or two of catching up. I just did the exact same thing, but with math (starting grad school in sept) instead of physics. Good luck.
  4. Jun 30, 2010 #3
    Cool, thanks for the advice! I started reached out to one of the state schools where I'm from and was surprised to see that they had a great Physics department with many of their grads going to the top schools. Tuition's cheap too. Wish I knew this 10 years ago!
  5. Jun 30, 2010 #4
    I agree with some_dude... skip the second BS, and try to get into an MS program after jumping into some upper division undergraduate courses. Since you mention that you are in the Bay Area, I know that SJSU has a program called "Open University", which you can call "Show up and pay for courses"... you can take up to 24 units of undergraduate courses or 6 units of graduate courses without being formally admitted. I'm sure other state schools have similar programs.

    Good luck!
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