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Currently, I am studying for a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance in Australia. Although I find my program enjoyable, I have a particular interest in mathematics, particularly on the econometrics and proof-based economics side, and I believe that pursuing a STEM degree would allow me to further challenge myself while building more questioning skills.

Therefore, I am considering pursuing a second Bachelor's degree in Mathematics after completing my current degree. I am wondering if this would be a worthwhile endeavor and what other factors I should take into consideration before making this decision. Additionally, I am also contemplating dropping my current degree to start the B.Math program immediately. However, I am aware that there may be other factors that I am not considering and would appreciate any advice on this matter.

I have also researched into "conversion programs" - would these be worth pursuing vs another Bachelor's?

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  • I think the answer depends on your situation, which is not clear. How far are you into your current degree? Can you take math electives that would satisfy your interests? Why do you feel you should restart a bachelors vs applying to a graduate program that aligns with your interests and career goals once you graduate? What long term opportunities would a bachelors in math serve that your current degree would not?
    – sErISaNo
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 5:40
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    Thank you for the reply! Figuring out how to use StackExchange now, let me know if its unconventional to reply in another comment. My current degree is four years long, and I am currently in the first half of the 3rd year. I can take math electives, but I only have three left. I am also planning to do an honours thesis, which should have a strong quantitative grounding (I am looking to examine market anomalies for a finance thesis). I initially looked toward another bachelors as I began reading finance literature, and found myself more drawn to mathematical finance. Cont. in next comment Commented May 15, 2023 at 5:41
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    After reading some mathematical finance research, I loved the subject matter and could see myself pursuing it as a career. However most practitioners of mathematical finance, particularly those making heavy decisions (buy-side), tend to be from more mathematics grounded backgrounds, often PhDs. Thus I thought a Bachelor's in mathematics would be useful to begin pursuing this. However, I am unsure if I would want to commit to a PhD; I plan to explore whether I enjoy research through my honours year. Hopefully that provides enough context, please let me know if anything else is needed. Commented May 15, 2023 at 5:46
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    Another more irrational factor was that I really enjoyed Specialist Mathematics in high school, and I miss having those challenging problems to work at. However, I understand that learning techniques and then solving pre-solved equations can only really last at a high-school level, while the real world requires innovation to thrive in. Commented May 15, 2023 at 5:48
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    Does this answer your question? Are two undergraduate degrees better than one master degree?
    – Sursula
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 6:34

2 Answers 2

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After reading your comments, it sounds like you are interested in a subfield of finance and economics. And it sounds like you are concerned about liking research and committing to a graduate program. This is not my field so I can only offer advice based on my general experience.

I personally would not do another bachelor's. Committing to a PhD can be intimidating. But is it really significantly less of a commitment than a second bachelors considering that it sounds like you would still need a PhD in the end? If you don't like research, what does this second bachelors alone get you? Perhaps someone here or at your university could provide you with some field specific insight. But for now, I'll assume that you need a PhD.

So my advice is:

  1. If possible, spend your remaining time exploring this new interest. Take electives that are related to or important for that field.
  2. If you want to pursue it further, apply for graduate programs. Masters are almost always shorter than both bachelors and PhDs. Also, (field dependent) masters often do not require research to the same extent as a PhD - sometimes a thesis that can often amount to a large literature review. I assume there are master's degrees available in this or a closely related field. If you wanted to pursue a PhD, it would be much easier to pivot in that direction from a masters.

I found myself in a similar situation in undergrad. I completed a masters and pivoted into a professional doctoral program vs accepting a PhD position at my institution. No real time was lost, and I never felt like I was "stuck" with a decision. There were other factors in my decision, obviously my situation is not the same as yours. But to sum up, don't be afraid to "commit" to a field you are interested in. There are plenty of ways to pivot if you want. You're never going to be stuck.

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    Thank you for the advice, it helps a lot. I'll keep a look out for masters to pivot with. Commented May 15, 2023 at 7:27
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Persons usually do not actually earn two separate bachelor's degree. They simply take additional courses in another field, and the university gives them another diploma. But in most cases, they do not retake the first two years of a bachelor's degree program. Regardless, adding another degree at the bachelor's degree is useless, unless you switched to a subject like electrical engineering, etc from something like history. In most cases, you are better off to add a master's degree in your chosen field.

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  • I'm not sure it's fair to say that people "usually do not actually earn two separate bachelor's degree". People often earn duel majors by doing as you say, taking extra classes. This doesn't seem to be the case in the OP's question.
    – sErISaNo
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 3:28
  • I suppose my transition may not be as drastic as history -> EE, so hopefully I can find something around a conversion degree or diploma that can transfer me to more mathematical endeavours. Commented May 18, 2023 at 11:12

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