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Astrophysics masters' or PhD after engineering degree?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hey all! I'm new to this forum. Anyway i have a burning question which i cannot seem to find among these forum posts (even after toiling through). Is it possible to pursue astrophysics or theoretical physics for that matter in your post grad studies, even though I got an Mechanical Engineering(ME) degree (with specialization in aeronautical engineering)?

Thanks! :D
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
SteamKing
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Your thread has been moved to the Academic Guidance forum.
 
  • #3
ZapperZ
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Hey all! I'm new to this forum. Anyway i have a burning question which i cannot seem to find among these forum posts (even after toiling through). Is it possible to pursue astrophysics or theoretical physics for that matter in your post grad studies, even though I got an Mechanical Engineering(ME) degree (with specialization in aeronautical engineering)?

Thanks! :D
Without you revealing where you are, where you got your education, where you intend to pursue your education, etc. (why do people often neglect these things?), I can only point to a thread that has a lengthy discussion on a similar topic:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/can-i-get-a-ph-d-in-physics-if-my-bachelors-degree-isnt-in-physics.64966/

Zz.
 
  • #4
Ohmigosh, my apolicies as I was too excited crafting out my question, my bad

I'm currently awaiting my GCE A Level results, studying in Singapore; universities here offer Most engineering degrees and science courses. However, there's no one science course that narrows down to the theoretical or astronomy aspect. I'll only be able to enrol in university in 2017 (due to the mandatory Army service we have to serve for 2 years)

The only promising ones are Mechanical engineering (with different specializations such as aeronautical, energy systems, offshore/oil technogy)
and engineering science (specialisation in nano tech, optics, computing, chemical systems)

However id really like to pursue astrophysics or even theoretical physics in the end (I plan to do my phD)

My question is: is it even possible for an ME grad to take masters then PhD in my field of interest? For me funding and age where I settle down are not such big issues here.

Thanks and sorry for not mentioning this earlier!
 
  • #5
ZapperZ
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Most universities do not offer such specialization at the undergraduate level. If you want to do "theoretical physics" (do you even know what that is?) or astrophysics, then you should major in physics at the undergraduate level, not "mechanical engineering". That latter doesn't adequately equipped you with the necessary undergraduate education to pursue a graduate work in those two areas.

Zz.
 
  • #6
Oh I see, hmm. Not even engineering science allows for it?
I did my work and came across this degree offered by NUS: Physics(with specialisation in astrophysics)
Sounds good?

But I also am concerned about the demand for such jobs now adays (will it ever shrink in demand etc etc)

Come to think of it, I like thinking out if the box and understand things--and try to create things too. Sounds rather contradicting eh?
Thanks ZapperZ for your advice! :)
 
  • #7
QuantumCurt
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What do you mean by theoretical physics? In common usage that phrase has come to be synonymous with string theory, the big bang, and the "theory of everything." In reality, theoretical physics is simply physics with a theoretical emphasis. There are theoretical physicists working in condensed matter, solid state, classical mechanics, thermodynamics, astrophysics, quantum physics, and any other branch of physics you could name...and there are also experimentalists in all of these fields.

At the undergraduate level, very few schools offer specialized physics degrees. Most of them just offer a general physics degree that covers all of classical and modern physics. A handful of schools offer a bachelor's degree in astrophysics, but those are rare.That really comes down to a physics major with an astronomy minor anyway, and the same level of knowledge can be obtained at essentially any school that has both physics and astronomy departments.

It's certainly not unheard of for people with degrees outside of physics to go on to graduate studies in physics. However, you'll have a lot of catching up to do. A graduate program assumes knowledge at the upper-undergrad level of classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum physics, thermodynamics, and others. A ME doesn't get exposure to all of these courses typically. Most engineers take an introductory physics sequence and perhaps a few more upper level physics courses, but they don't get the breadth or the depth that a physics major gets. You should take the time to read through the thread that was linked above. It's about this very topic and has 6 pages of discussion.

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/can-i-get-a-ph-d-in-physics-if-my-bachelors-degree-isnt-in-physics.64966/
 
  • #8
Alright, I'll go take a good read and thanks for your help @QuantumCurt! :D
 

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