PhD in Astrophysics with a BSc in Natural Sciences?

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NJT98
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Hello. I will start a BSc (Honors) Physics degree with the OU on February but I would prefer doing the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Astronomy and Planetary Science) as this is what interests me. I checked other Unis and I know that normally entry requirements for a PhD in Astrophysics is a BSc in Physics, Astronomy, or Astrophysics. Are BSc in Natural Sciences accepted as well for the PhD in Astrophysics? Does it necessarily need to be in Phy, Astrophy, or Astronomy? I am afraid that by doing the BSc in Natural Sciences instead of Physics might cut off the opportunity for a PhD in Astrophysics. Thanks in advance and excuse my long thread.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by NJT98)
Hello. I will start a BSc (Honors) Physics degree with the OU on February but I would prefer doing the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Astronomy and Planetary Science) as this is what interests me. I checked other Unis and I know that normally entry requirements for a PhD in Astrophysics is a BSc in Physics, Astronomy, or Astrophysics. Are BSc in Natural Sciences accepted as well for the PhD in Astrophysics? Does it necessarily need to be in Phy, Astrophy, or Astronomy? I am afraid that by doing the BSc in Natural Sciences instead of Physics might cut off the opportunity for a PhD in Astrophysics. Thanks in advance and excuse my long thread.
It's not the degree name that matters as much as the content. If you haven't even started the undergrad it's too soon to tell.
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NJT98
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
It's not the degree name that matters as much as the content. If you haven't even started the undergrad it's too soon to tell.
Thanks. Do you maybe know if Unis give out a list of content needed to apply for a specific course? On Unis webpages they only tell about what degree is needed and what grade not the content needed. I am just now entering "university world" so I am unaware os some thing probably.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by NJT98)
Hello. I will start a BSc (Honors) Physics degree with the OU on February but I would prefer doing the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Astronomy and Planetary Science) as this is what interests me. I checked other Unis and I know that normally entry requirements for a PhD in Astrophysics is a BSc in Physics, Astronomy, or Astrophysics. Are BSc in Natural Sciences accepted as well for the PhD in Astrophysics? Does it necessarily need to be in Phy, Astrophy, or Astronomy? I am afraid that by doing the BSc in Natural Sciences instead of Physics might cut off the opportunity for a PhD in Astrophysics. Thanks in advance and excuse my long thread.
Most universities will require an MSc before entry to a PhD, few will consider a candidate with just a BSc. That does however give you a chance to take a masters that fills any skill gap, though a nat sci degree with lots of physics options is likely to be fine for astrophysics. Its not the detail of individual courses but the overall strength of the candidate that matters when you recruit a research student.
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NJT98
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(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
Most universities will require an MSc before entry to a PhD, few will consider a candidate with just a BSc. That does however give you a chance to take a masters that fills any skill gap, though a nat sci degree with lots of physics options is likely to be fine for astrophysics. Its not the detail of individual courses but the overall strength of the candidate that matters when you recruit a research student.
Thank you Mr Wednesday, that helps a lot clearing up things
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chazwomaq
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I would be highly surprised if BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Astronomy and Planetary Science) was any better than Physics for astrophysics PhD. Looking at the course specification, there is specifically a 3rd year module on astrophysics so it should be fine.
(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
Most universities will require an MSc before entry to a PhD, few will consider a candidate with just a BSc.
This is half true. Most (science) PhDs will have done a Masters degree. However the masters can be integrated into the PhD i.e. you apply for a 4 year postgraduate course involving a 1 year MSc and 3 year PhD. In that case, it's important you have the right UG degree.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by chazwomaq)
Most (science) PhDs will have done a Masters degree. However the masters can be integrated into the PhD i.e. you apply for a 4 year postgraduate course involving a 1 year MSc and 3 year PhD. In that case, it's important you
have the right UG degree.
Yes, good point, but only if there is a CDT in the right area.
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mnot
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(Original post by NJT98)
Hello. I will start a BSc (Honors) Physics degree with the OU on February but I would prefer doing the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (Astronomy and Planetary Science) as this is what interests me. I checked other Unis and I know that normally entry requirements for a PhD in Astrophysics is a BSc in Physics, Astronomy, or Astrophysics. Are BSc in Natural Sciences accepted as well for the PhD in Astrophysics? Does it necessarily need to be in Phy, Astrophy, or Astronomy? I am afraid that by doing the BSc in Natural Sciences instead of Physics might cut off the opportunity for a PhD in Astrophysics. Thanks in advance and excuse my long thread.
As above I think your undergrad degree content will be more important than the degree title.
What will be important is: Can you sit and discuss at a good level the detail of what you wish to embark on research wise...

Im going to be honest I think the Open Uni may not raise any eyebrows when applying for a PhD (especially funded ones), will this BSc included a Disso?. & regardless of undergrad institution you may well need to do an MSc with a big research project.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by NJT98)
Thanks. Do you maybe know if Unis give out a list of content needed to apply for a specific course? On Unis webpages they only tell about what degree is needed and what grade not the content needed. I am just now entering "university world" so I am unaware os some thing probably.
Science PhDs don't work like that. Broadly, a senior academic gets a research grant to research something big, and then divides up their research funds and spends some on funding PhD students to research smaller blocks that contribute to the bigger research. In your Second or third year, you need to start looking around and the various teams at universities that are working in whatever emerging area of the subject you are interested in (which is never 'Astrophysics' it is something much more detailed within that broad theme) and you apply based on the modules you have taken. It's up to you to prove you have the right skills and experience. Right now, the senior academics might not have even applied for the funding that might sponsor your PhD in 3-4 years time. it works slightly different in the Arts and humanities where PhDs tend to be individual pieces of research that are not team based.

I'll see if this summons astrotemp who I think is all over this subject.
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astrotemp
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(Original post by NJT98)
Thanks. Do you maybe know if Unis give out a list of content needed to apply for a specific course? On Unis webpages they only tell about what degree is needed and what grade not the content needed. I am just now entering "university world" so I am unaware os some thing probably.
The easiest way to do this is to look at the degrees offered by key, well-known universities. Think "Manchester" or something. Somewhere you might like to do a PhD one day. Don't look at their PhD degree though, look at their BSc Physics. Look at what classes their students are doing, including labs and any dissertation/Masters components. That's what they teach their own students and so that's what they're going to expect from any applicant to their PhD programme. That's your minimum bar. If the degree from the OU doesn't cover as much fundamental physics as Manchester's does then you might struggle to get admission to a PhD.

I'm not familiar with the OU personally (I'm not familiar with Manchester either), but you should be prepared that physics is a highly lab-based science and I'm sure there will be people who are distrustful of an online degree for a lab-based science. So if the astro BSc isn't up to par with the e.g. Manchester physics BSc, don't take the risk, don't do it. If your degree is lacking fundamental courses that all brick-and-mortar unis offer then adcoms to PhD will notice and they will question it. Don't give people any reason to doubt your preparation. And doing an astronomy/astrophysics BSc doesn't make you a stronger candidate for an astro PhD. In many cases, physics is the preferred BSc.

Beyond that, the specific classes you'll need to make your application as strong as possible are in the "electives" (classes you choose between in your last 1-2 years). The "right" electives will be the ones that lead into your PhD project, but as has already been said, you don't know what your project/topic will be so there's no way for you to choose those yet.

(And just an interesting note: I'm in a 3-year PhD having done nothing more than a BSc (Hons). My degree is Australian, but we do use the same system, so it's definitely possible to skip Masters in some circumstances)

(thanks for the summon threeportdrift!)
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