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Multiple Undergraduate Degrees

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posted on Sep, 10 2005 @ 04:46 PM
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First of all, I should say that I consider this a BTS topic; however, I could not find a BTS forum that this would fit into. It does, however, relate directly to education, so I felt it fit here despite not being any sort of conspiracy.

I am, as I have posted elsewhere, an electrical engineering student. I have just begun my final year of my undergraduate program. I am strongly considering taking more schooling after this, because I like learning so much.

I think a master's would be a good idea, but at this time I don't have any one particular area that I would like to focus on for research, plus my GPA is around the competitive entry level (last year I had a 3.39 out of 4 and competitively I should have at least 3.5) I also don't feel that I am prepared academically and intellectually to do a MSc right away.

So I am thinking about a second undergraduate degree. Right now, the two subjects that interest me most besides Engineering, are Physics and History. So either a BSc with a Physics major/History minor or a BA with History major/physics minor, seems to be the way to go. I imagine that I could get at least a year's worth of credit towards such a degree with what I've already taken in engineering, like my basic math and my introductory level history electives.

I am wondering if there would be any point to doing this, however. Financially, I could do it, as long as my parents don't kick me out of the house. In terms of employability, would there be any point, though? Would any companies care if I had a second degree? Also, is it worth investing the time into more formal schooling? After all, with my engineering training, I can pick up most scientific texts and understand fairly well what is going on. Would it be better to simply enter the work force and just buy lots of books and read them on my own, rather than obtain formal training?

I see my ideal career as research. That probably means grad studies eventually, but I don't have any problem with waiting a few years first. So I was thinking get a bit more scientific training (physics) plus some history (for personal enjoyment) which would take 2 years at least, probably 3, then do a masters and maybe PhD, with possibly some years taken off in between somewhere to work and gain practical experience (and $$$).

Ok, enough of my babbling, what do you think? I am particularly interested in people's opinions who are or were in the same position I am in now, i.e, on the verge of obtaining their first degree and considering the future, but I welcome anything that anyone has to say.




posted on Sep, 10 2005 @ 08:51 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
just buy lots of books and read them on my own, rather than obtain formal training?



Yes... 100% You'd be surprised how far 500 dollars goes when you refuse to pay more than 10 dollars for a good book. I always read Amazon reviews before buying.

Get a mentor outside of academia... actively look up to someone you can go to on a weekly basis for advice. Find someone that has made it in a way that you want to make it, even if they have other qualities that you do not hold high. Collect a repertoire of such guides for various ambitions you hold; each with their own subject of expertise.

I just graduated 3 years ago... I have yet to officially use my degree, but success continues to come my way through seizing opportunities and leverage capabilities and assets.

For what it is worth, I do not suggest you go back to school unless it is an absolute requirment for advancement in your field... ie brain surgeon. You'll learn more faster if you just exercise your Will.

Good luck,

Sri Oracle

ps, just out of college is an excellent time to find the philosophy section of the bookstore.

[edit on 10-9-2005 by Sri Oracle]



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 10:37 AM
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I've found that employment is 80% who you know and 20% your credentials. Just take a look at the FEMA director, Mike Brown if you don't believe me. So, for purposes of employment it's not a big thing, your networking skills are.

However, people do appreciate a person who is well educated so your opinions will count a bit more with a masters. Also, hate to say this but I think we're in for a big recession so being in school for another 2 years might not be a bad thing.

All in all, I say go for it but make sure you know what a masters will and won't do for you.



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 10:43 AM
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This is a decision you have to make because you want to. I'll be quite honest with you, you'll spend a significant part of your career making up the money for the additional degrees (if you actually ever do), but if this is what you want and you can afford to hang in there - go for it!

The Physics major/History minor combo sounds intriguing. I'm a straight math and science person so I only took electives because they made me...lol. But I can tell you that two of the most enjoyable classes I had while in college were History of Science I and II.



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 10:44 AM
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Can you find employment and have them contribute to the cost? Many, many companies are now providing education reimbursements.

It might be a reasonable compromise - yes, it'll take longer (as you'd be working and probably studying only part time as a result), but you'd have the best of both worlds; you'd be getting experience in the field and they'd be helping with the cost of tuition.

Is that plausible?



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 03:59 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
Can you find employment and have them contribute to the cost? Many, many companies are now providing education reimbursements.
...
Is that plausible?



I have heard of companies that will sometimes cover employee's graduate studies, but I seriously doubt they would pay for the undergrad in physics/history.


Originally posted by Valhall
This is a decision you have to make because you want to. I'll be quite honest with you, you'll spend a significant part of your career making up the money for the additional degrees (if you actually ever do), but if this is what you want and you can afford to hang in there - go for it!


The financial aspect of an additional degree doesn't bother me. I don't care about being rich, but I do want to have enough money to live comfortably. I look at what my dad earns and our finances, and compare that to what I could reasonably expect to make as an engineer, and I think I should have plenty of money for the kind of things I would want to do with it.

Certainly, as Valhall says, this is a decision I will have to make because I want to. I am strongly leaning towards doing the undergrad plan, and have been for at least a year or two. What I might do is apply for the undergrad program, and also hunt around for engineering jobs. If I haven't found anything I want by September, then I could continue school. If I did find a good job, I could just cancel my registration and do what Sri Oracle suggested.


Valhall: But I can tell you that two of the most enjoyable classes I had while in college were History of Science I and II.


I've taken 4 history courses (all 4 of my allowed arts electives) and one was History of Technology, which was pretty cool. The other three were basic introductory courses at the first year level. (the tech one was a 3rd year course) I even got to avoid taking a stupid management class by taking the technology course instead, hehe.

Thanks for all the input, it will give me some things to think about.



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 06:42 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
I have heard of companies that will sometimes cover employee's graduate studies, but I seriously doubt they would pay for the undergrad in physics/history.


The key is usually that your undergrad studies are relevant to the field of employment; Wyeth (for example) would pay tuition for degrees in psychology (usually), biology, physics, chemistry etc, and they were actually less likely to pay for post-grad studies! (That's not entirely fair of me - it's not that they were less likely, it's just their qualification criteria were a little stricter for post grad tuition reimbursement).

Most pharma. companies operate the same way (iow, undergrad courses - as long as they lead to a degree in 'the field' - are generally fine). As of 2003, I think their cap was around $9000/year.



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 06:52 PM
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Where in Canada are you, if you don't mind me asking. I'm going to be doing from scratch my degree in Political Sciences at the RMC in Ontario to further get employment in the Department of National Defence as an Inteligence Officer, as it were, the goverment will also be paying 80 percent of my tuition. This is a very inviting incentive, and I do know that many others are offered if one searchs astutely.

Best of luck.

Luxifero



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 07:09 PM
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Get some business courses in with your other areas of study.

I thought I was destined to be an academic but fate had other ideas.

If I would have had even a few courses in business I might not have struggled for so long.

You may be selfemployed at some time in your career. Be Prepared!



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
I am, as I have posted elsewhere, an electrical engineering student. I have just begun my final year of my undergraduate program. I am strongly considering taking more schooling after this, because I like learning so much.


Instead of going for another degree, you could simply opt, by way of an education extension, to go for a minor in both Physics [that is if they offer a minor in Physics] and History, thus postponing your graduation. This does depend on your school/campus and if they allow such. So basically upon completion, you would have your Electrical Engineering Degree and two minors: Physics and History.

Furthermore, you could opt to do these while in grad. school [also depends on the graduate school or program restrictions]. The thing with graduate school is that you could attempt to try to get into a graduate program where they pay for your schooling, books, housing, etc. while your getting your Masters degree. These type grad. programs are highly competitive though, but almost every school that offers a graduate program has such paying programs.






seekerof

[edit on 11-9-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 09:27 PM
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Luxifero: Where in Canada are you, if you don't mind me asking


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I go to the University of Alberta.


whaaa: Get some business courses in with your other areas of study.


Ugh :p I've never been a fan of business, although I have to concede its practical nature. I am taking a mandatory business/management course in the winter, though, so hopefully that will help out a little bit. The department recommends all engineers take an economics course in first year, but I gave them the finger and took a classical history course instead. Your suggestion is a good one, though, but telling me to take business courses is kind of like telling me to eat all my vegetables; it's a good thing to do, but not necessarily the most enjoyable thing to do.

Seekerof: I've never looked into what kind of extension program my university has; might be a good idea. Certainly, grad school in physics or history is an option, as well. In fact, I had a history professor whose undergraduate degree was chemical engineering, so I know it's possible. As for the programs to get all that stuff paid for me, I don't know if my GPA is good enough for something like that, but the worst they can do is turn me down.



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 04:44 PM
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Wow! You and I have a lot in common. I got my B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and this semester I just started working on a M.S. in Physics. I also love history, geography, and constitutions/maps/flags.


I, too, was considering getting a second Bachelor's degree -- this time in either Art, History, or Business -- after graduating with my B.S.E.E., and having a tough time finding a job. But I asked around, and was told that my money would be better spent getting a Master's degree, if I were continuing my education. (Doubling your education at the same level usually won't increase your pay; it'll just qualify you for two types of jobs instead of one at Bachelor's degree pay.)

I wonder what else we have in common? I love watching Toonami and Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, I love the NFL and college football, my favorites types of movies are sci-fi movies (like Star Wars) and comedies (like Austin Powers), I enjoy video games, love to read (particularly on the Internet), and I consider Anna Kournikova and Tara Reid the two hottest women on the planet.



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 07:00 PM
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Since this is my thread, I am going to hijack my own thread and go off topic a bit to reply to thundercloud.


I love watching Toonami and Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, I love the NFL and college football


Ugh, lol, not me. I'm not much for sports, other than world cup soccer every 4 years, I don't watch any, though I did watch hockey when I was younger.


my favorites types of movies are sci-fi movies (like Star Wars)


The star wars movies are my favourite movies of all time. I also like other sci-fi and fantasy movies (same as my taste in books) as well as what I think of as 'movies that make you think', like 'The Island' about cloning or 'The Butterfly Effect' where the past gets changed.


I enjoy video games, love to read (particularly on the Internet),


Me too, though I don't have much time for either with school. I play mostly single player RPGs and a few strategy games. As my titles say, I am a scrabble addict, and can be found on yahoo games literati or on ISC scrabble, with the same handle there as on ATS. (on ISC it is truncated to dragonsdem) I like to read sci-fi, fantasy & classics, plus nonfiction of so many sorts I won't bother to list them all.


and I consider Anna Kournikova and Tara Reid the two hottest women on the planet.


I'm more partial to brunettes myself :p On the tennis front, though, I think Maria Sharapova is absolutely breathtaking. Amanda Bynes and Sarah Michelle Gellar are another two I think are among the hottest women there are.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 12:59 AM
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*wipes dust off of old thread*

I don't know if anybody was wondering, but I figured I'd share my experiences over the last few months with respect to my plans for future education. Maybe somebody will get something out of it...

Well, I'll be graduating with my BSc in electrical engineering in a few weeks. I've decided not to do grad studies, at least right away; I may come back in a few years, once I have some experience and money, but I don't think it's that likely. If I were to come back to school, it would be more likely to be more undergrad courses; as mentioned before, I have an interest in physics and history, as well as several other subjects, like religion, and just about anything science-related. Taking a few years off would also allow me to save money if I wanted to attend school out of town, since I could never afford that right now. (and neither can mommy and daddy!)

My university also offers several evening courses (not nearly the selection as daytime courses, obviously) and I would strongly consider taking a few of these, if any good ones are offered. Taking one or maybe two of these a term would provide a good learning experience, without bankrupting my bank account or using too much of my free time. There's also other courses at other institutions; a buddy of mine who graduated last year from EE has taken some machining courses in the evenings and stuff like that.

Quoting myself, a few months ago:


After all, with my engineering training, I can pick up most scientific texts and understand fairly well what is going on. Would it be better to simply enter the work force and just buy lots of books and read them on my own, rather than obtain formal training?


I think this is what I will be doing, for the majority of my future learning. For one, it's probably cheaper than school. (unless I buy a *lot* of books) The time committment is easier to handle, since I can read and study whenever I want, and not worry about grades if life keeps me away from the books for a few weeks here and there. Plus, as people have already mentioned, additional undergrad degrees usually just qualify you for more jobs, not necessarily better ones. There are a few exceptions, like one lady who gave a presentation at school a few weeks ago; she had an engineering degree and a sociology degree, and worked for the gov't doing engineering ethics stuff, but for most people, they will just end up using one of the degrees.

So yeah, there you go. Hopefully I didn't put you to sleep with all that...



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 01:29 AM
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Im about to graduate with my Associates in Applied Science with a Major in computer networking. I graduate May 6.....So not far away and I was considering the same as you, whether to contiue to get a bachelor's in my field or perahps another field. alot of work. I feel like I did when I graduated high school.....lost.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 09:35 AM
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DD, congratulations on making it thru the academic minefield.
I don't know what the graduation rate is in the Great White North
but in your neighbor to the south; I think only 1 in 10 that start college
graduate.

Another odd statistic is that only 1 in 5 end up in the field they studied.

Buena suerte!

XP, in my experience; no matter how much education you get, the lost feeling never goes away completely.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 05:10 PM
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Thanks
I don't know what the college graduation rate is here in Alberta, but the high school graduation rate is sitting around 67 or 68%. (there was an article in the newspaper about this a day or two ago) We have the lowest HS graduation rate in Canada, primarily due to the abundance of well-paying, no-schooling-necessary jobs in the oilfield, if you are willing to work your arse off doing hard physical labour. In engineering, the graduation rate is similar here (about 2/3 finish, 1/3 drop out, usually after 1st year) but I have no idea what other faculties are like.

And xphiles, ya I feel kind of lost, too; I have no idea what I'll be doing in the next few years. Hopefully I can find a good job soon after graduation and start making some money. I want to stay local, too, which may limit my opportunities some, but there should still be some decent jobs around here. There's lots of engineering companies here, although many of them only want to hire ppl with about 15 years experience



posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 11:36 AM
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DragonsDemesne, I would say you are 100% correct in picking up a second major, as long as it is not History or in the Liberal Arts. An employer will not give a care if you can quote Aristotle or cite the date of every battle in the American Civil War. My brother-in-law has a Bachelor's degree in History, and he can't do jack-squat with it. It is a useless degree. Pursuing one in addition to a science degree would be a waste of your talent, time, and money.

Physics is a great degree - it is the solid core of engineering. I, personally, will be graduating in chemistry in a month. I already have a job lined up as a chemist the Monday after I graduate.

The way that science is changing, however, people seem to really like a Chemistry background. I had a friend who graduated in Biology a couple years back. He had the option to take additional upper-division biology credits to replace Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. However, the first questions that interviewers ask him are... did you take Organic Chemistry? Did you take Biochemistry? That's all they care about now, I guess.

Of course, electrical engineering is different than biology, the red-headed step-child of the sciences. However, I do not doubt in the least bit that a chemistry degree would go unnoticed or unappreciated. Chemistry is so widely applicable - nanotechnology for instance is a branch of chemistry. Engineers have spelled nano-words and made cool golf clubs with the technology, but its the chemists that developed Buckminsterfullerene (C60 bucky-balls) and nanotubes. You''l have the Physical Chemistry series under your belt, which consists of Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics. I know that engineers get their fair share of Thermo, but this way you would have that other viewpoint. Inorganic Chemistry has a lot of wide uses too.

If you are considering doing an advanced degree, consider this as well. The chemistry Masters program at my University costs money to enroll in. The chemistry PhD program here will actually waive your tuition and give you a small salary on top of it as well. At a certain point along the way of your PhD program, you have to option to bail out and walk away with a Masters - free of charge. People who just want their masters degree do this frequently. I would suggest it if you just want a masters.

If you want to show how "into" electrical engineering you are, I would vote for a Physics Degree. However, if you want to show a little bit of diversity without wasting your money on a liberal arts degree, I would vote for Chemistry.

[edit on 20-4-2006 by Ralph_The_Wonder_Llama]



posted on Apr, 20 2006 @ 02:46 PM
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Ralph:

You bring up some good points. Employers would probably not care much about an arts degree; if I took one, it would be solely for personal enjoyment. I do like the idea of getting a physics degree, but I can't really afford it right now, so I'm going to work for awhile and maybe go back in a few years, if I decide I still want to. I don't have the same interest in chemistry as I do physics, but I wouldn't mind getting some of the basics in.

I did take two first year inorganic chem classes and a second year thermo class, as well as a couple of nano classes and a materials engineering course, so I do have a bit of knowledge there, and more than most of my peers, since the nano and materials courses were optional. I haven't done any organic chem or biochem, though I did take a couple of biomedical engineering courses in my third year. (they were two of my lowest marks in my whole degree, hehe)

I do have a friend who is graduating with me this semester, who has previously obtained a degree in mathematical physics, and is finishing EE now. He's one of the few guys I know who has a job lined up for May; he will be working for the power company, travelling all over the province, maintaining their equipment. Of course, his almost-perfect GPA may have contributed to his hiring, too! I think it was both the extra degree and his good marks that helped him land that job. (there were over 100 applicants and they only took him)

So I will start with reading and learning stuff on my own, while I work for awhile (as soon as I find a job; I don't have one lined up yet) and in a few years when I can afford it, go back and pick up another degree, if I'm still in that frame of mind.




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