Astrophysics student considering Phd prospects upon graduation

In summary, the student is studying for a degree in physics with astrophyisics (4 year course) in Ireland and is going into his final year. In his first two years, his grades were very poor due to lack of engagement and so on... but he has improved upon this in the year he has just completed (3rd year) and has acheived an overall 2:1 grade. He wants to move to the UK to study for a PhD, but what he would like advice in is the following - does receiving a 1:1 mean that he will almost certainly be able to find some phd position in the UK (that is also funded)? Ideally, he would like to study in the best quality university that
  • #1
SUDOnym
90
1
I am studying for a degree in physics with astrophyisics (4 year course) in Ireland and am going into my final year. In my first two years, my grades were very poor due to lack of engagement and so on...I have improved upon this a little in the year I have just completed (3rd year) and acheived an overall 2:1 grade.

I suppose fortunately for me, the weighting for the overall degree mark is:

0%(year1)+5%(year2)+15%(year3)+80%(year4)

which means that despite performing poorly in all other years, if I do well in my final year, I can still come out of it with a 1:1...

What I would like to do upon graduation is move to UK and study for PhD...

and so what I would like advice in is the following - does receiving a 1:1 mean that I will almost certainly be able to find some phd position in the UK (that is also funded)? Ideally I would like to study in the best quality university that I can but what is of utmost importance is that the phd position is provided some kind of mantainence grant...

Finally I should say that for me at least being able to write 1:1 on my CV seems very important as I do not have any noteworthy "extra curricular" achievements to my name that would demonstrate a strong ability in physics.
 
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  • #2
Having a first class degree will not almost certainly guarantee you a place, but it will give you a better chance than a 2:1. There aren't that many PhD places out there, and competition is tough (though not as tough as higher along the academic career path). It also depends what area you are interested in, as some are more popular/less popular etc..
 
  • #3
to your knowledge would you say that a many of these positions would come with a maintenance grant or other funding that is substantial enough to live off?
 
  • #4
Yea, all the positions that are competitive come with a stipend and payment of tuition fees. If you're willing to pay for your PhD then it is a lot less competitive (a lot of departments will take you on unless you're clearly not going to make it).

What specific area are you interested in? You might want to start looking around (if you want to start in October 2012, the deadlines will be just after Christmas).
 
  • #5
My grades are stronger in the astrophysics and computational modules (again only in my 3rd year...in previous years I performed very poorly).
So I feel it would be better to find positions related to this...I do not know what the competetiveness/availability is in these areas however...

From my point of view it is unfortunate that the deadlines for October 2012 postions close so early - as I said I feel that I could make a strong improvement on my grades in my final year and this would give me much more than I currently have to show.
 

Related to Astrophysics student considering Phd prospects upon graduation

1. What are the job prospects for astrophysics PhD graduates?

Job prospects for astrophysics PhD graduates are generally very good. Many graduates go on to work in research positions at universities, government agencies, or private research institutions. Other common career paths include teaching at the university level, working in industry, or pursuing postdoctoral research opportunities.

2. What skills and qualifications are necessary for a successful astrophysics PhD program?

In order to be successful in an astrophysics PhD program, students should have a strong background in physics, mathematics, and computer science. They should also have excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Strong written and oral communication skills are also important for presenting research findings and collaborating with colleagues.

3. How long does it typically take to complete an astrophysics PhD program?

Astrophysics PhD programs usually take between 5-7 years to complete. This varies depending on the individual program, research project, and student progress. Some students may also choose to pursue postdoctoral research opportunities after completing their PhD, which can add an additional 1-3 years to their training.

4. What kind of research opportunities are available for astrophysics PhD students?

Astrophysics PhD students have a wide range of research opportunities available to them. They may work on projects related to cosmology, planetary science, astrophysics instrumentation, or other specialized areas within the field. Many universities also have collaborations with other institutions or observatories, providing students with the chance to work on cutting-edge research projects.

5. What is the average salary for astrophysics PhD graduates?

The average salary for astrophysics PhD graduates varies depending on the specific job and location. According to the American Institute of Physics, the median annual salary for physicists and astronomers in 2018 was $119,580. However, this can range from $75,000 for postdoctoral researchers to over $150,000 for tenured professors at top research universities.

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