I'm in the position to start taking graduate physics classes spring of my sophomore year or fall of junior year. (I did a lot of physics in high school, started relatively far into the undergrad track as a freshman, and the rest of the physics curriculum can be breezed through since my honors program lets us waive prerequisites (state school).) As such, it may be that before I graduate undergrad--assuming 4 years--I have more than 30 hours of graduate coursework, which is technically the requirement for a master's in physics (including a thesis). I would assume that a master's could then be claimed by petition (would I have to be admitted to the graduate school first?), and if so, what would be the advantages or disadvantages of doing this? Is this kind of thing unheard of?