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Computer Engineer to Astrophyscist?

  1. Aug 23, 2007 #1
    Hi people. I am an Indian and seek guidance on what to do about my career. First, a little bit on my profile:

    - Has Passion for science and astronomy
    - Loves Physics
    - Loves computer science - fascinated with AI
    - Admitted to Flotech and Arizona, Tucson for Bachelor's in Astronomy. Not enough $$$ to pursue.
    - Had to take next best thing - Computer Engineering Bachelor of Technology from India (mainly because of 4 year requirement to take Masters in the US - Indian physics degrees are 3 years only).
    - Applied to 9 Universities for Masters in Astro - good spread from middle-top to lower rank. No admission :(

    - GRE general - 800 Q, 700 - V
    - Gre Physics - 650 ( :( ?) (only once a year in India)
    - GPA - 8.65/10.00

    - Started work for Hewlett-Packard in India in the Software Services division to spend time usefully for time being.

    I would like some guidance as to what my options are. Is it futile on my part to try again? Even with a better GRE Physics score do i have good chance at a University that is at the forefront of at least one subarea of astro?

    What other options do I have in the Space industry? Space Science?
    What about Computational Physics? Do I have a good chance? There are precious few places that offer that. Any recommendations?

    Is there any other route I can use to study Astro in America?

    I would be grateful for any suggestions/ hints/ criticisms/pointers.

    I'd also consider any alternative careers related to my profile.

    Thanks and regards,

    Rahul Lakshmanan
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2007 #2


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    Well, it depends upon a lot of different information, but I would say that you should never give up on something-- it's possible to switch between the most bizarre subjects, especially pre-masters, so I don't see why it's not posible to do your switch. How much astronomy or astrophysics, or just physics in general have you studied? Did you take any extra courses, or fit some courses in as part of your degree if you thought you would be interested in the masters? If so, that would be a huge help, but if not then I don't think it'll be too much of a problem.

    I think it also depends specifically which area of the field you are applying to go into. There is a lot of computer programming and simulation used in, at least astronomy (I'm not sure where the umbrella of astrophysics actually ends) so there may be something you are able to do in this respect.

    I would suggest sending an email to either the admissions tutor at a university you want to apply to, or a professor in the field explaining your current situation. If you do that, and have a conversation with them before you apply, then you are more likely to get accepted.
  4. Aug 23, 2007 #3


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    I'm not a physicist, so take this advice with a grain of salt, but you're probably not going to stand much chance of admission without going back and getting a bachelor's in physics first. You can probably complete one in just a couple of years.

    - Warren
  5. Aug 24, 2007 #4
    Thank you cristo and warren for your inputs


    I have studied most of classical physics in school. I did a course on Electrical Engineering, one on Engineering mechanics and one in Modern Physics (Spl. Relativity, Quatum Mechanics basics, statistical physics, atomic).

    I think I'll do as you suggest about contacting admissions and telling them of my situation.


    Is there any alternative but related field that I do have a chance of getting in?


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