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1st year ugrad at UofT; considering cosmology.

  1. Dec 23, 2011 #1

    I am a first year undergraduate student at University of Toronto planning to pursue cosmology as a field of study in the future. There are currently two specialist programs being offered that relate to my interests (unfortunately, I was unable to find a direct link to the programs, so the reader will have to scroll down to get to the section listed as the specialist program; sorry about that). They are:

    Mathematics and Physics Specialist
    Astronomy and Physics Specialist

    The programs provide course codes to various required and optional courses with links that lead to the course description.

    My concern is as follows - will I be required to take certain courses in astronomy (eg. AST221, AST320 - links provided under Astronomy+Physics Specialist) to be able to grasp the advanced concepts in cosmology? I should mention that the only prerequisite to the advanced cosmology course is a 4th year general relativity course PHY484; thus it is not so much a matter of strict prerequisites, as it is of the required knowledge on my part.

    However, this is the case in UofT. As I should also mention, I may choose - considering I get in - a different graduate school.

    The deadline to enroll in the specialist program is 09/25/12. I will provide any other links required upon demand.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2011 #2
    Graduate schools are looking for someone that has a physics degree primarily and I can assure you that doing the math and physics specialist will be far more beneficial than adding an astronomy major. Cosmology is different than astrophysics or astronomy, cosmology is the study of the evolution of the universe (space-time) as whole and its origins. Astrophysics is the study of structures inside of space-time like galaxies or solar systems.
  4. Dec 23, 2011 #3
    Thank you for the quick reply. I will keep that under consideration. And you're right about the differences between cosmology and astronomy. What confused me was the description of some of the astronomy courses offered.
    For example, AST222: Concepts of basic physics applied to a treatment of stellar systems and the structure of the Universe.
    And AST320: The formation, equilibrium and evolution of structure on all astronomical scales from the largest to the smallest: universe, clusters of galaxies, galaxies, clusters of stars, gas clouds and stars.
  5. Dec 23, 2011 #4
    I'm not well versed in this but from what I've read from other people that have attended graduate school, if you chose to study cosmology in graduate school you'll learn the necessary material. Many people don't take general relativity until graduate school and you'll be ahead by taking Relativity I & II (graduate courses offered to undergraduates). I can't say a lot more but you won't be doing in depth cosmology in AST222 and AST320 until you learn general relativity.

    For example, this is a Masters level course in Cosmology (the topics covered don't include things like galaxy structures etc but are much more theoretical): http://www.perimeterscholars.org/312.html
  6. Dec 23, 2011 #5
    I have got to say, I am thoroughly impressed by the format presented on that website. I probably won't understand most of it till I am in grad school, but I am saving that link. Thanks again for all the help.
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