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Can you get two bachelor's (one after the other)

student01student01 Posts: 785Registered User Member
edited October 2012 in College Search & Selection
For instance, after getting a bio degree at USC, you decide to change your mind and get a compsci degree at UT... possible?
Post edited by student01 on
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Replies to: Can you get two bachelor's (one after the other)

  • winnarwinnar Posts: 27Registered User New Member
    If you feel like spending the money, you could get as many bachelor's degrees as you wish. College is a business, it's not as if they WON'T take your money if you want an education.
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    You can.

    But not at all universities. Some universities don't offer second Bachelor's degrees. IOW, they won't allow a student who already has a Bachelor's degree to be admitted to seek another Bachelor's degree. They may nonetheless allow you to take individual undergraduate courses to prepare for a Master's degree in another field.

    Even at universities that don't have a blanket prohibition on second Bachelor's degrees, you may have to convince the university that you have specific academic goals which actually require the second Bachelor's degree.

    It's worth noting that many forms of financial aid are unavailable to second Bachelor's degree candidates. However, Stafford loans are generally available if lifetime borrowing limits have not been reached.

    A student who wants two separate degrees (and who cannot double major for some reason) might be better off completing them simultaneously for financial aid and admissions reasons. Obviously, this doesn't work if you've already completed one degree and now are considering changing careers.
  • pandempandem Posts: 1,364Registered User Senior Member
    It would make more sense to just look into a masters program.
  • ljbwljbw Posts: 48Registered User Junior Member
    A lot of schools have post-bac programs, where if you have a bachelor's but want to work/obtain an advanced degree in a different field, you may go back and take certain prerequisite classes at the bachelor's level (without having to do the whole bachelor's program again). I believe this is most common for students who graduate college and later decide they want to go to med school - they can go back and take pre-med required courses before applying, without having to get another bachelor's.
  • Hope2getriceHope2getrice Posts: 1,154Registered User Senior Member
    why would you want to??? and why not just a double-major???? and why would you be so indecisive that within those 4 years, you couldn't decide on a double major or switching majors?

    I don't think anyone is really that brainless to need to take 8 years to get two separate bachelor degrees
  • chuychuy Posts: 3,914Registered User Senior Member
    I know someone who got his bachelors in one discipline of engineering, got his masters in another, and is currently getting another bachelors in yet another. I guess he likes school.
  • Hope2getriceHope2getrice Posts: 1,154Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ part of that might just be a fear or disillusionment about facing the REAL world.
  • chuychuy Posts: 3,914Registered User Senior Member
    I met him when he was doing a year long internship, so that probably isn't completely true. The guy is nearly 30 now, and last I heard wanted to go get one more masters (this time in the same field as his second bachelors degree) before settling down on a job. He's married and supports himself with the internships/part time jobs though, so more power to him I guess.
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    Normally, a second Bachelor's degree wouldn't take four years. Typically, the amount of time required depends on the university's residency requirement. This is a requirement that to earn a degree from a university, a specific number of credits must be earned at that university. The residency requirement is frequently 60 semester hours, meaning that a second Bachelor's degree would take approximately two years of full-time study to complete.

    The number of credits needed to fulfill the residency requirement is usually greater than the number of credits needed to actually complete the major requirements. For this reason, many people who plan to go to graduate school in a different field simply take individual undergraduate courses as correctly pointed out by ljbw.

    However, there are numerous reasons why a second Bachelor's degree may make sense in some cases.

    * A second Bachelor's degree may be sufficient to break into a new career. It's also likely to take less time than taking individual undergraduate courses and then completing a Master's degree.

    * Depending on the university, completing just the major requirements might put one close to meeting the residency requirement. In this case, one might as well get the second Bachelor's degree even if one is certain that they wish to continue on to a Master's program. This is especially true at schools where the residency requirement is only 30 semester hours.

    * Graduate education isn't a substitute for undergraduate education. The two levels have fundamentally different goals. Specifically, graduate education is focused study on a specific subject area. Undergraduate education is intended to provide a broad academic background. If it is desirable to take courses in a variety of subject areas, one could do so within a second Bachelor's program. By contrast, graduate programs frequently leave little to no room for taking courses outside the area of study.

    * Any number of factors can get in the way of completing a Master's program. One could have funding problems, get sick, or simply flunk out. In such cases, if one completed the second Bachelor's degree, one at least has that. By contrast, without the second Bachelor's degree, one has no degree to show for their efforts.
  • iluvpianoiluvpiano Posts: 1,987Registered User Senior Member
    If you want 2 bachelors degrees in different majors, it would be dumb to go 4 years for one and 4 years somewhere else for another and then to graduate school. You should go to a school that will let you do a 5-year Double Degree Program- 2 bachelors degrees, but at the same time so it doesn't take 8 years like it would to do one 4-year degree after the other.
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    If you can do a Double Degree Program, that makes a lot of sense. Getting both Bachelor's degrees simultaneously avoids the admissions and financial aid issues.

    This doesn't help someone who already graduated and decides they want another degree. But even in that case, the second Bachelor's should rarely take four years for the reasons I noted above.
  • student01student01 Posts: 785Registered User Member
    Yes, but what if you were doing something but you decided you TOTALLY want to change your career? Then I think in certain situations a second bachelors from scratch might be necessary...
  • Take3Take3 Posts: 416Registered User Member
    @student01: The situation you describe is more or less my situation. That's what drove me to thoroughly research this issue.

    Even if there is little overlap between one's current career and one's intended career, it shouldn't be necessary to completely start from scratch. Second Bachelor's applications, where allowed, are usually treated like transfer applications. Basically, you transfer in all of the coursework from your first Bachelor's degree as individual classes. So transfer credit covers most or all general education requirements. You then have to complete the requirements of the new major and fulfill the residency requirement.
  • mick12mick12 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I too am in a similar situation to take3 (and I assume student01) (btw sorry if I'm a bit late in joining in here!).

    I got a degree in journalism in 2003 and worked more or less in that particular industry up to now but decided I'm really ready for a change of career, and want to go into business. Pretty much all jobs and opportunities I've looked into require a relevant tertiary background. I looked into my options re masters degrees in different fields, but everywhere I ran into the same issue, not having a related enough undergrad background. My grades were average anyway and I've often thought I wish I could go back, do a different degree, put a lot of effort in and really excel (I'm certainly in a better frame of mind for it than back when I was a teenager).

    So I've decided to start again (almost) from scratch. I had to think about it for quite a while as I'm 27 (28 soon) and had some misgivings about spending what will be another 3 years on a 2nd bachelors, and being in the lectures with a bunch of young 'uns planning to tear up the town every other night. There's also the fact that friends/family get the impression you simply don't want to work (doesn't bother me that much, it's just their opinion and I know it's not true). Quite a few people have told me something along the lines of "Everyone knows you don't do a 2nd bachelors", but I really don't see it as being so much worse than doing a year of undergrad for the necessary credit then going on to a masters, spending the same amount of time and potentially lacking the necessary background for the masters then anyway. Even so after a year of undergrad the master's is still an option.

    So all in all I really think the change of direction will be good for me so I've decided to go for it. Nice to hear from others in the same situation!
  • FutureActuaryFutureActuary Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    I'm in a similar situation to mick12.

    I graduated in 2003, with a B.A. in Sociology from a selective LAC. I finished my first undergrad experience in 3 years, for financial/social reasons. During my freshman year, my dad lost his job and my mom became disabled after the removal of a large tumor from her spine, so I was needed at home(my school was only about 1 hr away) and neither of my parents had an income to continue helping me. So I rushed through my coursework in 3 years. I just did exactly what I needed to graduate quickly and didn't really get to explore different majors/interests. I did manage to graduate magna cum laude in 3 years, so that's helped my transition into the job market.

    So fast-forward to 2010 and now I've been in the corporate world for almost 7 years. I'm finding that I need a business-related degree to advance into a better-paying, not so deep in the trenches position. For quite a while I was considering an MBA just to take care of that requirement, but I haven't been able to commit to that on an emotional level. I work in the insurance industry and the role that has my interest, that I feel I would like to invest myself into, is that of an actuary. Actuarial Science courses are pretty much the polar opposite of Sociology, but I've always loved math, logic, statistics and the like. So the gen Ed requirements should be more than covered by my first BA, but the only course I've taken that relates to being an actuary directly is a Calc 1 course.

    Pretty much everyone I've spoken to has been discouraging about getting a second bachelors. Since I already have 1 Bachelors, I am disqualified from any state grants, so my aid options are very limited. I will need to continue to work FT, perhaps even more hours than I'm currently working to afford the added tuition costs. MY EFC is about $12K roughly equal to the cost of tuition at the 2 in-state publics that I applied too, and that will be quite a stretch for me.

    So pretty much my options are:
    1. Go for Second Bachelor's taking on nearly full expenses. Going Part time - It will take another 4 years. Plus it'll probably take another 2-3 years after that to pass all my remaining actuary exams.
    2. Complete the undergrad courses I need at Community College - probably about 2 years worth. (About 1/3 the cost of the 2nd BA.) Then go for Master's in Actuary Science, where I may qualify for some aid. Then add in the time for the exams after that.

    Looking at these options, I feel Option #1 is actually the better educational route for what I want to do, and from my research I believe for an actuary the bachelor's is a sufficient degree - it's more about the exam progress. Option #2 while not an exact educational match, seems like the more financially viable option.

    Any CC'ers with thoughts regarding my situation? Any advice on where to look for aid for non-traditional students?

    Thanks in advance!
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