WhoaNonstop wrote:Plenty of things I could say about this post, but let's get down to the important part.
You want a PhD in Physics/Astronomy/Planetary Sciences which all assume a background in physics. I would say at bare minimum you'll need a 2.5 to have even the slightest chance. I'm not sure how grabbing a second bachelor's degree really works. I'm assuming you'll only need to take specific classes and not have to redo general studies? Anyways, the first degree may cause some concern for committees deciding on your application. However, if you can demonstrate proficiency in Physics itself I'd assume that it won't be much of a hindrance. You must realize though, general physics at the community college level will lack in comparison to what a full on university will expect. Also, I'm fairly certain that most community colleges only offer the introductory course in physics. How do you plan to move from here? Do you feel confident you can do very well in a real physics undergraduate program?
Proteus wrote:Question: Do I really need to earn a 2nd Bachelors in light of this?
WhoaNonstop wrote:Proteus wrote:Question: Do I really need to earn a 2nd Bachelors in light of this?
I would assume that due to the degree you now have not being related to science and the GPA attached to it, you may need to look into getting this second bachelor's degree. I do think it is quite weird how the system is set up and I'm really not 100% sure how to go about getting a 2nd bachelor's myself. You could contact some programs you may be interested in and let them know your ordeal. However, traditionally they like to see a degree with some relation to science under your belt. I'm not sure that just courses will cut it and from my understanding most PhD programs will frown slightly upon community college courses. It depends where you're trying to get in.
TakeruK wrote:You will definitely need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, but not necessarily Physics if you are going for the Planetary Science route. Planetary Science is a growing into its own field and it is multidisciplinary, so while Physics -> Astro -> Planetary Science is a traditional way to approach this field, many programs will accept students from other fields such as geochemistry, atmospheric science, and so on. Of course, it depends on what aspect of "Planetary Science" you are interested in! You will still need a science undergrad degree, and you will have to learn some physics while in grad school, but just saying that you don't need Physics to do some aspects of Planetary Science.
On the plus side, multidisciplinary programs such as Planetary Science, will not discriminate against its applicants as much for not following the traditional route (i.e. high school -> college majoring in the field -> grad school) and will probably value your experience and background. That said, you will still need to have the same academic background as the other applicants.
By the way, the PGRE is not very highly weighted in Planetary Sciences -- Arizona's Lunar & Planetary Laboratory (i.e. their PS program) does not even want to see your PGRE score. Caltech's GPS (Geo- + Planetary- Sciences) only "strongly recommended" the PGRE -- Caltech GPS accepted me with a 44 and 51 percentile PGRE scores (while their Physics programs require much much higher).
I think your next steps do depend a lot on what you want your end goal to be (Physics? Astro? Planetary Science?) and the sooner you make a choice, the easier and clearer your path forward will be.
Etranger wrote:Guys, are you certain that applying to a MS program won't be possible if the OP maintains his 4.0? I can't remember the specifics but somebody on physicsforums.com - they posted in the "who wants to be a mathematician thread?" - had a bachelor's in an arts field and switched to math by taking classes at a community college and then going onto an MS degree. Would taking math and physics courses online not help at all?
TakeruK wrote:It is my opinion that you should spend the time getting a second bachelor's degree in physics/related field instead and then applying for PhD programs directly. A MS degree is meant to be taken after a BS degree, not in place of it.
bfollinprm wrote:To go along with that, the east coast, if you cann move, will probably be an easier path. Less state $ in education so less discrimination against 2nd bachelors. Columbia is one of the few that gives financial aid.
Try using CollegeBoard's search feature.
Columbia's School of General Studies has majors in physics, astrophysics and astronomy. Look into that and financial aid there.
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