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Astrophysics

My son is currently doing his GCSE. He loves space research and fascinated by the possibilities. He likes to take up astrophysics as a career option. I don't know much about the learning pathway . I was hoping to get some advice on the pathway to become an astrophysicist.
Reply 1
Basically he needs to take maths and physics A level plus one other. Ideally he would take further maths A level. Following that a degree in a subject like physics/ astrophysics or maths.
Original post by Learning guru
My son is currently doing his GCSE. He loves space research and fascinated by the possibilities. He likes to take up astrophysics as a career option. I don't know much about the learning pathway . I was hoping to get some advice on the pathway to become an astrophysicist.

Hiya,

I'm a current 3rd year astrophysics and cosmology student at Lancaster Uni and the previous response to this post is correct: he does need to take maths and physics at A Level. Further maths is not a requirement for most unis but would definitely be a good subject to take if he thinks it is somehting he would like to do during A Level as it does make his uni application better and would make him more comfortable with the maths done within the degree as a whole. Personally, I took it for my 1st year of A level (year 12) but then decided to drop it and just focus on 3 subjects instead of 4, as it wasn't a requirement for the course I wanted to apply to (astrophysics at Lancaster).

Ultimately, it is a peronal choice whether he wants to pursue further maths or not and it also depends on the courses he wants to apply to for his degree.

I hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
Wishing him all the best for his GCSEs!
-- Arya (Lancaster University Student Ambassador)
Original post by Learning guru
My son is currently doing his GCSE. He loves space research and fascinated by the possibilities. He likes to take up astrophysics as a career option. I don't know much about the learning pathway . I was hoping to get some advice on the pathway to become an astrophysicist.

My daughter originally went down the Astrophysics route. She studied triple sciences, and did Physics Maths, Further maths and Chemistry, but almost ditched the Chemistry as it got a bit much. You can apply to unis without the further maths Alevel because you catch up in year one at uni anyway. Unless its somewhere like oxford/cambridge or ucl/imperial then maybe FM might be favorable.
She went to astronomy society in notts once a month which did look good on the personal statement. Also did a summer school at a university so thats always worth a look under summer school/summer residential. Thats where they stay at uni for 4-5 days studying that subject with other students who have just finished year 12.
She did work experiance at Nottingham uni in year 12 in the physics dept and there was around 18 students and she got put into the particle physics and cosmology group, and thats where she found her true calling.
Year 12 she would start to visit universities to get a feel if she liked a city or campus uni. She chose Oxford, Lancaster, leicester and york. York and Leicester was physics with astrophysics.Oxford physics, and lancaster physics with astro/physics with particle and cosmology. Oxford she had to do an entrance test, then got to interviews and then got rejected. She went to Lancaster doing physics, particle and cosmology. Its all under the term physics now, but the module choices are the same, so come year 2 into year 3, you can hone in more on the topic that suit your son. Which is great because he might find he likes quantum more, or electrodynamics even. He might like the computational side.
She is going into particle physics research and has a phd place at Manchester for september all being well with her 4th year exams which shes in at the moment. She has got friends in astrophysics and that subject for phd research is more competative, so when it comes to applications, its best to apply to as many unis as possible.

For now, physics and maths is key for alevels. he might was to do computing /IT if it helps.
Proffessor poveys perplexing problems is a good book she enjoyed during her alevels https://www.amazon.co.uk/Professor-Poveys-Perplexing-Problems-Pre-University/dp/1780747756 Also worth watching PBS spacetime on you tube.
Original post by Learning guru
My son is currently doing his GCSE. He loves space research and fascinated by the possibilities. He likes to take up astrophysics as a career option. I don't know much about the learning pathway . I was hoping to get some advice on the pathway to become an astrophysicist.

It’s great that your son has a good idea what he wants career-wise.

My university flatmate did an Astrophysics degree, a long time ago. She took A levels in Physics, Maths and another science, Chemistry I think, and possibly Statistics.
Gained a 1st class degree, then a PhD (also in Astrophysics). She did some post-doctoral work in a university, then worked in the private sector for about 6 years.

After that, she changed career, going down a fast-track management route into the Civil service. She became a senior manager, loved it, was well paid and worked there until she retired!

I wish your boy well.
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hiya,
I'm a current 3rd year astrophysics and cosmology student at Lancaster Uni and the previous response to this post is correct: he does need to take maths and physics at A Level. Further maths is not a requirement for most unis but would definitely be a good subject to take if he thinks it is somehting he would like to do during A Level as it does make his uni application better and would make him more comfortable with the maths done within the degree as a whole. Personally, I took it for my 1st year of A level (year 12) but then decided to drop it and just focus on 3 subjects instead of 4, as it wasn't a requirement for the course I wanted to apply to (astrophysics at Lancaster).
Ultimately, it is a peronal choice whether he wants to pursue further maths or not and it also depends on the courses he wants to apply to for his degree.
I hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
Wishing him all the best for his GCSEs!
-- Arya (Lancaster University Student Ambassador)

HI, That really did help. I just have a few more questions. What did you do in terms of work experience to make your application stronger? Are you enjoying your course? What are your long term career plans?
Kind regards
Sree

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