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    I'm currently studying BSc (Hons) Astronomy and Planetary Science with the Open University. My ultimate ambition is to have a career in scientific research.

    I would love to hear from anyone that has a degree from the OU and has a career in research (or who shares this ambition).

    Specifically, I would like to know about the pathway into research via distance learning. Is a masters a requisite for a PhD?

    Thanks in advance
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    (Original post by BenBancroft)
    I'm currently studying BSc (Hons) Astronomy and Planetary Science with the Open University. My ultimate ambition is to have a career in scientific research.

    I would love to hear from anyone that has a degree from the OU and has a career in research (or who shares this ambition).

    Specifically, I would like to know about the pathway into research via distance learning. Is a masters a requisite for a PhD?

    Thanks in advance
    To the latter question no, but it can be desirable. There are several astro PhD and post-docs that I'm aware of who are OU graduates in the field.
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    Below is what OU course director/research scientist, Andrew Norton, posted for a careers forum that might be of interest. In terms of doing an MSc, I suppose many students do one or a research Masters MRes because they believe that it will give them a leg up when trying to get on one of the competitive PhD programmes.
    The only careers really specialising in astronomy/astrophysics (apart from things like journalism, etc) are research and/or teaching jobs at universities or observatories. For any of these a PhD is essential. So, your intention to get a Natural Sciences BSc following a physical science pathway is an appropriate first step. You will most likely need a 1st class BSc (or at least an upper second – pass 2 in OU terms) and will then need to gain acceptance onto a PhD programme somewhere. Places for those are very competitive – maybe 50 in the UK per year – and only go to those with the best undergraduate degrees who can demonstrate other useful experience/skills such as computer programming knowledge, etc. Following a PhD, there are even fewer research / postdoc jobs – maybe 25 per year in the UK – so many people try to work in Europe or USA for a few years. The only permanent career posts are then university lectureships (typically 5 per year come up in UK astronomy, I would estimate). Don’t let any of this put you off, but it’s as well to have a realistic idea of what the field is like.
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    (Original post by Nitebot)
    Below is what OU course director/research scientist, Andrew Norton, posted for a careers forum that might be of interest. In terms of doing an MSc, I suppose many students do one or a research Masters MRes because they believe that it will give them a leg up when trying to get on one of the competitive PhD programmes.
    Thank you very much for this. I've received an offer from the University of Leicester for entry into their MPhys Physics with Astrophysics programme -- which I'm very much considering.

    However, I'm finding it difficult to convince myself to make the commitment to a full-time university...
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    (Original post by BenBancroft)
    Thank you very much for this. I've received an offer from the University of Leicester for entry into their MPhys Physics with Astrophysics programme -- which I'm very much considering.

    However, I'm finding it difficult to convince myself to make the commitment to a full-time university...
    Well it's only a year I presume and a Masters at a campus based uni would probably remove any doubts any PhD programme director might have about the practical/research skills you learned from your OU science degree.
 
 
 
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