Darvin Rio
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Report Thread starter 6 years ago
I wanna be an astrophysist.
wat course should i take.
which university should i apply
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Report 6 years ago
I'm assuming you are currently studying for your A-levels (or equivalent)?

you're obviously going to want to do a course in Physics or Astrophysics (I would personally take a more general course in physics and then specialise but this depends what other kinds of things you are interested in).

I think a good starting point would probably be to, with the help of your school, make a judgement as to what kind of grades you are expecting. This will allow you to narrow down the choice of universities to those that have entry requirements that are achievable, but make sure you keep a range open. Then, just have a look at the websites, and read up on the universities themselves (their locations and general environments, etc) and the relevant courses they offer. Hopefully, with time, you will be able to narrow it down to universities you like the look of, who offer courses that look interesting. Going to open days and speaking to teachers will help you make these decisions.
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Report 6 years ago
Hi, I'm finishing up my Doctorate in astrophysics and once done will be a fully fledged astrophysicist so thought i could help :-)
>wat courses should i take
I don't know what level of education your at, so I'll start from the bottom
Preferably you need to take triple science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology as separate GCSEs) , and ofc you will need the other basics (Maths and English).

A2: Maths and Physics are essential.
if available take Further Maths if not try and take to at least AS level. If Further Maths isn't available at A2 something like Chemistry or Computing would be a good choice.

-Undergraduate degree (BSc/MSci/MPhys)
Here your options get a bit wider and there’s multiple routes. My personal advice is to take an undergraduate Masters as you will need a Masters degree (see later in post), and student finance will fund the undergraduate Masters year (I did this route).
Courses: If you know you definitely want to be an astrophysicist take a straight astrophysics degree (I took an MSci in Astrophysics).
If your not entirely set on astrophysics and want to do more 'main stream' physics something like 'Physics AND Astrophysics' would be a good idea (50% physics, 50% astrophysics). Note this is different to 'Physics WITH Astrophysics' (75% physics and 25% astrophysics) so be careful when selecting this.

-Postgraduate(MSc, PhD)
To become an astrophysicist the minimum requirement for a research position is a PhD (Doctorate). To undertake a Doctorate you first need an undergraduate degree and, realistically to be accepted you will need a Masters degree. To get a Masters degree you can either do:
BSc (3 years) -> MSc (1year)
MSci/MPhys (4 years).

The MSc is a postgraduate 1 year course which has a taught aspect (lectures) and then an extended research project
The MSci is an undergraduate 4 years. The first 3 years are the BSc and then the 4th year is the Masters year which has a taught aspect (lectures) and then a research project (but this won't be as long as an MSc project)
To gain entry to a PhD it doesn't matter which route you take. An MSci is an undergraduate degree and thus student finance will fund you for the whole 4 years. The MSc is a postgraduate degree and student finance will NOT fund you. You will have to fund it yourself (this is very expensive) or win some form of scholarship (very few and far between and very competitive). If you want to become an astrophysicist I strongly recommend the MSci/MPhys route, if you change your mind whilst on the degree you can always change to a BSc (its alot harder to change from a BSc to an MSci/Mphys however).

Ultimately you need a PhD which is essentially a 3 year original research project, you will have a supervisor (someone who advises you) and to gain a PhD you must write a thesis (book) on your research which you will then be verbally examined about. During this time you will also write scientific papers with are published in science journals.

Once you have gained a PhD you will get the title 'Dr'. You can then apply for post-docs in astrophysics (entry level research jobs) and work your way up.

>which university should i apply
For undergraduate I suggest doing a UCAS search for astrophysics courses and then looking at the course structures and seeing what you would be covering in lectures over the 3/4 years of studying and choosing
a) what suits you the best
b) a course which you meet the entry requirements for (UCAS points)
c) has a good rating after taking point a) and b) into account. To check how good the course is use this use one of the course league table comparison websites (e.g. unistats).

For postgraduate it will entirely depend on your research interests upon completing your undergraduate (as each astrophysics department will have different main interests).

Hope that helps! :-)

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