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Best college in maryland area

  1. Dec 18, 2004 #1
    i am graduating from highschool this year and i want to know what school around here in maryland is best for a physics major, specifally astrophysics. the four colleges i applied to are university of maryland baltimore county, university of maryland college park, towson university, and penn state. any information as to how good these schools are in astronomy and physics would be great, thanks alot
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  3. Dec 18, 2004 #2


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    U.Md.-College Park has an excellent Physics program (particularly Condensed Matter), and at the College level, the specialization really doesn't matter. It's more important that you have access to good courses, teachers and labs. Penn State and U Penn also have strong physics programs. Also not terribly far away are U.Va. and V.Tech, both very good schools.
  4. Dec 18, 2004 #3
    Definitely University of Maryland, College Park. For all I know, they may have a Nobel Laureate. I believe their physics department was at one time the largest outside of the Soviet Union. I heard that the engineering department next door won first and second place in a recent engineering Olympiad, beating out CalTech and MIT. They provide the community with free lectures and sky gazing.

    Besides what Gokul mentioned, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (in conjunction with Goddard Space Flight Center) has an astronomy program involved with space telescopes like the Hubble, and used to have a considerable fusion program.
  5. Dec 18, 2004 #4
    thanks alot, as of now ive been accepted to penn state, towson, and university of maryland baltimore county, figures the best one im still waiting on. as far as johns hopkins goes im thinking about that being a possibility to transfering to in a few years but all i hear is that it is a great school.

    also, if i would be goin into a career with astronomy, about how many years of college do you think i would need, i really only got serious abuot physics and astronmy a few months ago.

    thanks guys, this board is great
  6. Dec 28, 2004 #5
    Wow! I saw this post and had to register and respond to this ASAP.

    I am also a senior in high school in maryland. For the schools in Maryland, I applied to UMBC and UM:CP. We should both consider ourselves lucky to be living in such close proximity to schools lauded for their physics departments, namely Johns Hopkins, UMBC, and UM:CP. UMBC has the largest telescope in the region I believe, and UMCP and JHU both have stellar (no pun intended) physics and astrophysics departments. (Not to mention the Hubble lab is located at hopkins). I spent quite a bit of time over the summer at the Physics building at Hopkins and it is a large, multi-million dollar piece of physics goodness. I even went to a Brian Greene lecture there a few weeks ago. Pretty cool.

    From what I've heard and seen, Towson U is full of idiots. I wouldnt look there.
  7. Dec 30, 2004 #6
    thanks alot man, im still waiting to see if im accepted to college park or not but thats seeming as my top choice right now. i am taking concurrent enrollment at UMBC now and it seems nice but its really close to home and i kinna want to get away from here. but as far as JHU goes i think its alittle ot of my reach, but my parents took me to their telescope one time when i was still a kid.

    what kind of things are there to do down at JHU, is there side programs i could and i wish i would of known about that lecture i watched a show he hosted the other night

    thanks alot and good luck with your colleges
  8. Dec 30, 2004 #7


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    This is entirely up to you, but from a purely education related standpoint, I might pick PSU over Towson and UMBC. You have to factor in several other aspects like location, fees, atmosphere, etc. before making your decision.
  9. Dec 30, 2004 #8
    yeh penn state seems very nice but my family is pretty against it since it would cost so much more since its the only out of state one, but yeh it does seem like the nicest school
  10. Dec 31, 2004 #9
    While I am biased towards Penn State (being Class of 2001), I've had a couple of friends at the Univ. of Maryland and JHU who really liked it there. I would note that PSU has both a physics department and an astronomy & astrophysics department, so be sure to check both out and not just the physics department. A double major is certainly possible, and undergraduate research opportunities are usually pretty abundant.

    While my interests don't coincide with the astrophysics (my interests are in biophysics, theoretical chemistry, & chemical physics), if you have questions about PSU, feel free to ask. I would also urge you to check out the honors program at PSU - while I wasn't in it, I did take a number of honors courses, which have the nice advantage of being smaller than the large lectures, especially in your first two years or so.
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