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Obtaining a Master's while working?

Vrtra TheoryVrtra Theory Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I've been looking into going for a Master of Mathematics (likely Applied or Industrial Mathematics). I'm working in a company right now that I don't plan on leaving for at least five years, and I work 40-45 hours a week, so I'm not sure I can take on more than one course a semester (and, of course, it'd have to be a night/weekend course).

I was wondering if anyone here has experience obtaining a master's degree while working. Also, based on the reading I've done, it looks like I'd need 5-6 years to complete the degree unless I can cram in more than two courses a year - that seems like a long time.

As a related question, anyone had experience with online post-graduate courses? I'm pretty skeptical, as what I've seen of online learning has been poor at best, but I'm willing to be shown otherwise.

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Posts

  • Not SarastroNot Sarastro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2007
    Don't know about in the US, but I'm doing something similar with a Masters in the UK, and it doesn't take nearly as long as 4-5 years. I'm doing mine in 1, most people working in the City etc do theirs in 2.

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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    That seems unfortunate that you have to keep working, as I think one of the really fantastic things about science/math grad degrees, is th big bucks(seriously) you get from being a TA, and for so little hours worked.

    I'm curious as well about this, like general suggestions for part-time course loads, standard university policy for allowing semesters off.

    What's the total hour courseload you need for this? I would have guessed about 48-50 hours, which you could do in 4 years(not even counting summers) at two courses per semester.

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  • Bob SappBob Sapp Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I work full-time and am completing my Masters (Comp Sci) by the end of the year. I managed three courses (night classes that met once per week) per semester while working full time. It really depends on how much work the courses are. I went for my Masters the same place I got my BS, so I knew what I was getting into. Really the only issue was group work, since that'll have to happen on the weekends. Since you're math, I'm not sure you'll have much group work.

    Anyway, under no circumstances do I think you should take less than two courses per semester. It'll take too long to finish the program if you do one course, and two classes is very do-able even while working full-time.

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  • PorkChopSandwichesPorkChopSandwiches Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    My wife works 50 hour minimum weeks and finished her Master's in a little over a year. You can definately manage more than just 1 class per semester. Try 6 hours or so the first semester and see how it goes. The longer you stretch it out, the more expensive it is going to be.

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    One of my uni mates has done most of undergrad working full time, taking 2 subjects a semester (which is about 6-8 hours of class time and twice that working on your own, for comparability's sake). Its definitely do-able, you just have to be organised.

    The Cat on
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  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Possibly silly question: What's the payoff for getting the Masters? By the time you've done your current job for 6 years, that experience will be what's dictating your pay cheque, not the Masters.

    Lewisham on
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    Its the pre-req for a doctorate in a lot of fields, but it also demonstrates to employers that you're capable of self-managing a complex project (assuming its project based). If its coursework-only, it just means you know more stuff. Technically :P coursework majors aren't always worth it.

    The Cat on
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  • Vrtra TheoryVrtra Theory Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    @Lewisham - I don't expect a payoff (financially) for the degree. But, I work in a huge corporation, and I'm hoping to be able to switch areas based on my focus in math (the path I'm interested in taking is algorithmic stuff - fourier transforms, pattern recognition, image & audio processing and compression, etc.)

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