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Master's during undergrad?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:19 am
by betelguese05
Hello all,

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?


Re: Master's during undergrad?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:27 am
by grae313
It's not unheard of, and several students entered my PhD program the same year as myself already having a masters.

Are you thinking of petitioning for a masters from your current institution or from your eventual PhD program? The requirements for this degree and whether your classes taken as an undergraduate can count towards it, just like everything else, depends on the school so you'll have to look into this yourself. While grad schools care much more about what courses you take and how you perform in them rather than the piece of paper you get afterward, I think having a masters at your stage in education is pretty impressive and will have a positive impact on your applications. When you do begin a PhD program, you will be able to spend much less time taking classes and will be able to begin research and thus graduate quicker. I don't see any disadvantages.

Re: Master's during undergrad?

Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:44 pm
by CKtalon
For my undergrad school, I was informed that I needed to be enrolled in the Graduate College to be awarded the Masters since it comes as a terminal Masters in a PhD program. I'm not sure about your school, but you could ask the graduate student advisor what the procedures are. The Masters qualifications might not affect admission chances, but the courses you take to fulfill the requirements might be impressive if you complete courses like QFT, GR, etc by the end of your undergrad.