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I have completed my Masters(5 year Integrated) in Optics recently with average CGPA. I have couple of projects experiences in Theoretical Physics, but no publications. My masters course had rigorous higher mathematics papers yet I find that I have very little knowledge and experience in doing even the undergraduate math, though I am very much interested in it, may be because my course was designed to give more importance to experimental physics. Thus, I started improving math using online lectures and our mathematics stackexchange forum, and I can feel I am able to gain much more than what I could during the course. But many told me not to take a gap by spending time on maths after masters as it'd affect my chances of a Phd admission, as I am already 26.

So is it a good idea to do a second bachelors degree in Mathematics(distant education) before applying for a Phd in theoretical Physics in Europe/Australia ?

Or is there a better way to compensate the time I spend on improving maths myself ?

Note: The reason I was thinking of doing a bachelor's while improving my math is, that way at least I could show that I was doing something while I was away from academia.

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So is it a good idea to do a second bachelors degree in Mathematics(distant education) before applying for a Phd in theoretical Physics in Europe/Australia ?

In general, getting another bachelors degree after getting a masters degree is not seen very favorably. I understand your though process - show the admissions committee you'll do grade-A work in math.

In reality, it's much more likely to signal to the admissions committee you don't have a clear purpose, and make them wonder why you didn't just switch to a masters in math. Furthermore, since you already have an advanced degree, they are less likely to be impressed you went back to undergrad and aced another bachelors degree.

The admissions committee is most likely to weight your academic performance doing your masters degree heavily. If you are truly set on switching fields, I would recommend you get another masters degree in mathematics OR applying for a PhD in mathematics.

  • In some countries you might not be able to get directly a master's degree in maths after a physics master's. You'll need the undergrad. Unless maybe it is a bad master's, in which case it might not be worthwhile. For a PhD, it never ceases to amaze me how apparently anyone can apply to them without the qualifications needed and get the positions. This is crazy. So yeah, if OP wants to switch to maths then he might have to start from undergrad, maybe third year all the way up. If OP wants to do theoretical physics then the best way is probably a master's in theoretical physics rather than math – Evariste Sep 21 '18 at 17:58
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    I've know several European PhD students that swapped from Physics to Math or Math to Computer Science (or other fields with significant overlap). Many universities will work with students to figure out how to fill in the gaps. – sevensevens Sep 21 '18 at 18:16
  • I think may b u r right. But, undergraduate maths is really necessary for theoretical works, isn't it ?. People often suggest to take mathematical physics paper and 'll be fine with it. But, I feel I should improve math separately, don't know only me have that feeling. – ss1729 Sep 22 '18 at 12:47
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    @ss1729 - I've know several PhDs who switch fields from undergrad to grad school. There is nothing stopping you from getting a second bacholors, but I think you should look at doing a 2nd masters and finding a professor that is sympathetic to your case. – sevensevens Sep 24 '18 at 14:39
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    A bachlor's degree is not just a few math courses: it has a lot of other things it comprises of which makes it a 4 year education. Don't get the degree. Just sit in on a few courses, read on your own, and join in the master's courses. End up with a masters if you really need it, but as long as you learn what you need then you can do the PhD. – Chris Rackauckas Oct 21 '18 at 18:18

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