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Schools Astrophysics university course - advice

  1. Feb 8, 2013 #1
    Hello everybody, my name is Paolo!
    I am now attending my 4th year (out of 5) of high school in Italy and I would like to study astrophysics at university. Space has interested me since I was at primary school, so I'm very determined about my decision.
    Yet I have some doubts.
    First of all, whether to apply for university in Italy or abroad. I suppose that studying in Italy would give me a good theorical knowledge, but abroad I would certainly spend more time practising in laboratories. (I gathered such information comparing university websites). I'm also not sure about the reputation that Italian universities have abroad.
    What do you think would be the best choice?
    Which are the best universities for astrophysics in English-speaking countries?
    Which mathematics and physics topics are the most important in order to succesfully pass an admission test abroad (generally speaking)?
    Besides I am not well informed about the work opportunities for this discipline, so I hope you could give me further information.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2013 #2
    Hi Paolo,
    I am a third year physics undergrad in the UK. First of all you won't be disadvantaged studying in italy. Practically 25% of the PhD students in my department are Italian. I think the main motivation for them to move is funding. So don't worry if you want to stay in italy.
    There seem to be fewer Italian undergrads probably 2-3 in my year.
    I think UCL or Queen Mary in London are quite good for astro. Obviously Cambridge if you're good enough. But I wouldn't worry too much about reputation in specifically astrophysics. A generally good reputation uni that has an astro program you like will be fine.
  4. Feb 11, 2013 #3
    UCL has a good astro program(I am currently at this uni taking some of their courses), but IMO I think a formal physics bachelors with a stronger emphasis on the basic physics and math will better prepare you for real astrophysics research, speaking from experience.

    Afaik Italy has really good physics & astro departments, Bologne for example. There are 1 or 2 distinguished astrophysics lecturers/profs here that got their undergrad and/or phd at said university, if I remember correctly.
  5. Feb 11, 2013 #4
    Thank you both for your advice!
    Lavabug I was already considering the university in Bologna and I'm pleased to hear its reputation is good even abroad. It's difficult to tell when you just live in your country's reality.
    I've been suggested a formal physics bachelors a couple of times so far, so I should really take that into consideration!
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