What potential careers can I go into after studying astrophysics at uni? Watch

username3989988
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I'm considering what uni course to apply to and I'm keen to do astrophysics but I'm concerned there are no jobs that would apply what I have learnt. Obviously there are things like space agencies but that is very specific, is there a general section that would need astrophysics graduates or would it put me at a disadvantage? Also, would it be better to do 'physics with astrophysics' or just pure 'astrophysics'? Thanks in advance for any replies.
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username3989988
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del1rious
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Presumably you could do many jobs which are maths/physics based, including teaching of course. Some type of engineering maybe. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will come along soon.
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A-10
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There are quite a few jobs out there for physics/astrophysics grads, one of the main ones being finance. Because the degree is very mathematical and you learn a lot of problem solving and analytical skills physics graduates are very sought after in the financial sector e.g. investment banking.

Physics grads can also go into engineering (which is basically applied physics). Some examples are software and nuclear engineering. (there are many others)

Lastly there is the research option. You can get involved with industrial research (im not sure about prospecs for astro graduates tho) or the more fundamental stuff. To stand a good chance to doing this you basically need a Phd (may be able to get away with a masters for certain industrial positions but I'm not sure about this, you should ask someone more qualified e.g. a teacher or someone you may know who is in the field, even uni students on TSR)

About your course, I reckon (dont take my word for it, do some research) it may be better to consider doing straight physics because it gives you more choice and you can tailor your degree towards he astro side, and you can go into astrophysics in postgraduate anyway. That said, I would only go for astrophysics as a course if i was completely sure that was what i wanted to do- full disclosure I'll (hopefully!) be studying Physics starting this october.

in conclusion, consider whether its in your best interests to specialise now or broaden your options on the course a bit, do your research and ask around (there are much better peoplle to ask than me lmao).

if you have any further questions about a level subjects or uni or the quesstion you posted feel free to pm me ill try and get back to you.
oh and heres a helpful link i found: https://www.topuniversities.com/stud...physics-degree
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username3989988
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(Original post by del1rious)
Presumably you could do many jobs which are maths/physics based, including teaching of course. Some type of engineering maybe. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will come along soon.
Thanks, but there aren't alot that would use much of what I might learn on the course?
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(Original post by A-10)
There are quite a few jobs out there for physics/astrophysics grads, one of the main ones being finance. Because the degree is very mathematical and you learn a lot of problem solving and analytical skills physics graduates are very sought after in the financial sector e.g. investment banking.

Physics grads can also go into engineering (which is basically applied physics). Some examples are software and nuclear engineering. (there are many others)

Lastly there is the research option. You can get involved with industrial research (im not sure about prospecs for astro graduates tho) or the more fundamental stuff. To stand a good chance to doing this you basically need a Phd (may be able to get away with a masters for certain industrial positions but I'm not sure about this, you should ask someone more qualified e.g. a teacher or someone you may know who is in the field, even uni students on TSR)

About your course, I reckon (dont take my word for it, do some research) it may be better to consider doing straight physics because it gives you more choice and you can tailor your degree towards he astro side, and you can go into astrophysics in postgraduate anyway. That said, I would only go for astrophysics as a course if i was completely sure that was what i wanted to do- full disclosure I'll (hopefully!) be studying Physics starting this october.

in conclusion, consider whether its in your best interests to specialise now or broaden your options on the course a bit, do your research and ask around (there are much better peoplle to ask than me lmao).

if you have any further questions about a level subjects or uni or the quesstion you posted feel free to pm me ill try and get back to you.
oh and heres a helpful link i found: https://www.topuniversities.com/stud...physics-degree
Thanks for your reply. So there aren't many jobs apart from working in space agencies that will use any of the knowledge I would learn on an astro course? Therefore I might as well just take pure physics. The idea about specializing post grad seems interestin, I'll look into that more. I know physics course let you pick modules so I can learn about astro but if I know I want to study astro as my modules I could just pick physics with astro (which is a course that most unis offer)? I'll read through that link now. Thanks for your help and good luck for starting university!
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Joinedup
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Thanks, but there aren't alot that would use much of what I might learn on the course?
Some types of maths you'll be learning on an astrophysics BSc can be applied to some areas of finance quite readily...

But if you got a job in finance you wouldn't literally be doing astrophysics any more.
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Thanks for your reply. So there aren't many jobs apart from working in space agencies that will use any of the knowledge I would learn on an astro course? Therefore I might as well just take pure physics. The idea about specializing post grad seems interestin, I'll look into that more. I know physics course let you pick modules so I can learn about astro but if I know I want to study astro as my modules I could just pick physics with astro (which is a course that most unis offer)?
There are jobs other than space agencies in research, like many observatories around the world (talking astronomy here) and also universities which may have ties to such organisations. There are also astroparticle physicists etc etc. These jobs are however not numerous and there are more phd graduates than postdoc posiitions i.e. very competitive but that being said dont let it discourage you if you are good at what you do an =d you are sure you want this as a career.

Now, for this point you'll have to look up the course structre of individual universities but the first year is often the same across all the physics course offered at a particular uni (i.e. theoretical physics, physics and astrophysics, phys and cosmology etc), and they diverge in second year. This may be different in some unis which diverge after first term, and others which may not ggive you much choice at all and just do a physics course and a theoretical physics course. somee other interesting options out there (which i dont know much about mind you) include physics and philosophy and also mathematics and physics.

As Joinedup said if you go into finance you'll be using the maths, that is to say this is a degree which gives you transferrable skills i.e. in maths and also to an extent programming, as you learn to program to process large a mounts of data and model situations, which is appplicable in many fields.


So yeah good luck with your AS, and i hope you get those GCSE grades you need!
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marupe
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Are you talking about careers in physics, or any careers?
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username3989988
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(Original post by A-10)
There are jobs other than space agencies in research, like many observatories around the world (talking astronomy here) and also universities which may have ties to such organisations. There are also astroparticle physicists etc etc. These jobs are however not numerous and there are more phd graduates than postdoc posiitions i.e. very competitive but that being said dont let it discourage you if you are good at what you do an =d you are sure you want this as a career.

Now, for this point you'll have to look up the course structre of individual universities but the first year is often the same across all the physics course offered at a particular uni (i.e. theoretical physics, physics and astrophysics, phys and cosmology etc), and they diverge in second year. This may be different in some unis which diverge after first term, and others which may not ggive you much choice at all and just do a physics course and a theoretical physics course. somee other interesting options out there (which i dont know much about mind you) include physics and philosophy and also mathematics and physics.

As Joinedup said if you go into finance you'll be using the maths, that is to say this is a degree which gives you transferrable skills i.e. in maths and also to an extent programming, as you learn to program to process large a mounts of data and model situations, which is appplicable in many fields.


So yeah good luck with your AS, and i hope you get those GCSE grades you need!
Thank you very much. I think I'll look at pure physics and physics with Astro courses now. That will probably keep my options open.
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username3989988
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(Original post by marupe)
Are you talking about careers in physics, or any careers?
1) will astrophysics limit my options more for any career than physics or physics with Astro?
2) what careers are availibe for astrophysics graduates that actually use astrophysics daily? (Rather than doing done thing like finance)
Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Thank you very much. I think I'll look at pure physics and physics with Astro courses now. That will probably keep my options open.
ur welcome
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marupe
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
1) will astrophysics limit my options more for any career than physics or physics with Astro?
2) what careers are availibe for astrophysics graduates that actually use astrophysics daily? (Rather than doing done thing like finance)
Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
1. Yes, possibly. I'm willing to bet all three courses will have very similar first years, covering the fundamentals of physics. A specific degree in astrophysics will probably specialize early in 2nd year whereas you'll have more choice with the other two. There are few jobs out there for BSc physicists, you'd need a Masters and most likely a PhD to continue working in physics. Your choice of projects in these will be limited based on what you've done in your undergrad, what experience you have in your projects. So I would avoid specializing early tbh, either that or find a university where you can switch between the two degrees at the start of 2nd year if you happen to change your mind.
2. Ties into what I was saying above, there's not much, and you will absolutely need further qualifications for astro. There's research positions/academic careers in physics, and you could join a group working in astrophysics. UK space industry looks to be in tatters, according to the website about 70 people employed by UKSA so while it's unlikely you could try to join there. I imagine the competition is immense. There's the National Physics Lab, I don't know if they do astrophysics though. That's all I can think off on the top of my head, I'm sure there's more out there but you don't have the same amount of choice as say, finance.

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im not a physics grad so might end up being corrected by one, but I imagine it's a similar story as for chemistry
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username3989988
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(Original post by marupe)
1. Yes, possibly. I'm willing to bet all three courses will have very similar first years, covering the fundamentals of physics. A specific degree in astrophysics will probably specialize early in 2nd year whereas you'll have more choice with the other two. There are few jobs out there for BSc physicists, you'd need a Masters and most likely a PhD to continue working in physics. Your choice of projects in these will be limited based on what you've done in your undergrad, what experience you have in your projects. So I would avoid specializing early tbh, either that or find a university where you can switch between the two degrees at the start of 2nd year if you happen to change your mind.
2. Ties into what I was saying above, there's not much, and you will absolutely need further qualifications for astro. There's research positions/academic careers in physics, and you could join a group working in astrophysics. UK space industry looks to be in tatters, according to the website about 70 people employed by UKSA so while it's unlikely you could try to join there. I imagine the competition is immense. There's the National Physics Lab, I don't know if they do astrophysics though. That's all I can think off on the top of my head, I'm sure there's more out there but you don't have the same amount of choice as say, finance.

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im not a physics grad so might end up being corrected by one, but I imagine it's a similar story as for chemistry
Thanks for the reply, I'm also considering engineering but I fond astrophysics far more interesting. I'll probably look at pure physics and physics with Astro then As that is less limiting.
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marupe
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Thanks for the reply, I'm also considering engineering but I fond astrophysics far more interesting. I'll probably look at pure physics and physics with Astro then As that is less limiting.
all three options sound good good luck!
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madmadmax321
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Thanks for the reply, I'm also considering engineering but I fond astrophysics far more interesting. I'll probably look at pure physics and physics with Astro then As that is less limiting.
The difference (in terms of employability) between physics, astro and physics with astro is tiny. This is because they normally have the same core modules and then in astro/physics with astro normally instead of having the choice of optional modules like in physics, they are just preset for you.

If you are wanting to work in a job that uses the physics you learn in a degree then I would have a look at those types of jobs (research is the main one) as 99% of jobs open to you will use pretty much no physics knowledge. Most people work in finance, software dev, teaching, some engineering (but it is hard to get into and you need relevant work experience or you have no chance, don't believe the 'its easy to get into engineering with physics' myth, its hard enough to get a engineering grad job with a engineering degree as it is) and other general grad schemes (ie the aldi one).
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(Original post by madmadmax321)
The difference (in terms of employability) between physics, astro and physics with astro is tiny. This is because they normally have the same core modules and then in astro/physics with astro normally instead of having the choice of optional modules like in physics, they are just preset for you.

If you are wanting to work in a job that uses the physics you learn in a degree then I would have a look at those types of jobs (research is the main one) as 99% of jobs open to you will use pretty much no physics knowledge. Most people work in finance, software dev, teaching, some engineering (but it is hard to get into and you need relevant work experience or you have no chance, don't believe the 'its easy to get into engineering with physics' myth, its hard enough to get a engineering grad job with a engineering degree as it is) and other general grad schemes (ie the aldi one).
Thanks for your reply.
Would it perhaps be better to go into something like engineering which still gives me the option of working in space agencies but also gives me better options in general?
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Thanks for your reply.
Would it perhaps be better to go into something like engineering which still gives me the option of working in space agencies but also gives me better options in general?
Its doesnt give you better options as such, it just gives you options in X sector of engineering (though some sectors can be gained access to with a physics degree + experience, it depends on how you market yourself) other than that I think thats the only additional options open to you with engineering vs physics (which is little or huge depending on if you want to be a grad engineer or not)

Honestly the best advice I can give is decide a sector you want to aim for first then choose what degree you want to do, while you should definitely enjoy your subject, without a direction career wise you've got to ask yourself why you are going? A lot of people say its to further their knowledge, meet new people etc but you can do all that without going to uni and using your only shot at getting a degree.
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