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Physics Can I work at NASA with a B.S in physics and computer science?

  1. Jul 18, 2011 #1
    I go to a small liberal arts college but I have a good GPA, comfortably above 3.5, could be higher if I wasn't forced to take a bunch of writing courses that don't pertain to my major.

    Could I go into astronomy with these two degrees?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2011 #2


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  4. Jul 18, 2011 #3
    But I've heard of people with only a B.S degree who get paid by NASA to complete their PhD. :confused: Not sure if that's realistic, only what I've read.
  5. Jul 18, 2011 #4


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    I didn't say it wasn't possible, I said it was unlikely.
  6. Jul 18, 2011 #5


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    NASA doesn't pay anyone to get a PhD, nor do they grant PhDs. However, they do have scholarships and programs for grad students through the students' own university. You have a decent shot at an astronomy or physics graduate program, and then you can apply for something like the GSRP or one of NASA's other programs.

    Astronomers do a ton of writing - you need to be able to write papers, grants, proposals, and a lot more. Those writing classes are very closely related to what you think you want to do with your life, so certainly don't dismiss them. You'll also need to do a lot of reading and public speaking.
  7. Jul 19, 2011 #6
    That's what I had in mind.

    I see, thanks. I'm not really aiming that high, just exploring my options. I'd probably work for NASA towards the end of my career when I have more experience, if I do go into that field.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  8. Jul 19, 2011 #7
    Well, I can't speak for the future...

    but what I can say is you should look for universities that are in the same cities as NASA centers. These Universities almost always have very strong ties to NASA. You'd pretty much be working with NASA staff day in and day out while technically being a student at the school. Several of my colleagues do this, and love it.

    Be warned, however, that you're still a grad student, and not a NASA employee. It does help tremendously for getting connections though.
  9. Jul 19, 2011 #8


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    I'm always puzzled whenever I read this type of question.

    It is already difficult enough to want to work in a particular field. Is there a reason why you want to work not only in a particular field, but for a particular employer??!! Is there a reason why you want to narrow your job marketability that much and handicap yourself even more?

    A lot of people are blinded by the "prestige" of working somewhere. Do you realize that a lot of the so-called NASA projects are actually done by people who are NOT NASA employee? Many people work on many NASA projects, but they are either university staff, contractors, etc. The same is true for CERN/LHC, Fermilab/Tevatron, etc.. etc.

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