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Electrical engineer & physicist, advice on PhD astronomy

  1. Dec 2, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I have read a lot of the post here about being engineers and going on into astronomy or astrophysics. Thus, decided to join and ask for advice.

    I have a similar experience but I have a unique problem. I have an BSc in electrical engineering from a US university with focus on power and a MSc in physics from a UK university with a focus on physics at the nanoscale; I could not opt for astrophysics courses during my master degree due to it being a one year program and me having no prior knowledge in the field (I did not want to flunk out as there was little time to catch up). Since being a child I loved everything about space but was always discouraged by everyone I know to pursue a career in astronomy due to having very low job prospects in my country.

    After completing my master degree, I am finally interning with an astrophysics research team but due to my lack of knowledge I cannot be involved in their analysis or programming. I am self studying but find it very duel to stay reading for eight hours at a time with no real things to do or experiment with.

    My main problem is that I cannot travel to do a PhD but I have to find a way with the few available PhD programs in my country to fit into astrophysics somehow. The PhD programs which I think can remotely relate to astronomy and astrophysics available in my country are: a sustainable energy PhD program and an engineering PhD program.

    I desperately need advice in this matter as I would like to work in research and I need a PhD to do that.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Why not talk with the team members and find out what courses they needed to do the work that they are doing?

    Right off the bat, I'd say you need a good understanding of Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, EM Theory, Statistical Thermodynamics, Optics and General Relativity. To do that you'll need a good understanding in Calculus 1,2,3, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Boundary Value problems, Vector / Tensor Analysis some of which you may have covered in your EE and Physics programs already.

    ZapperZ has an article in the featured threads that covers becoming a Physics PhD that may give you some insight too.
  4. May 25, 2015 #3
    out of interested what country are you from? I say that because I think that the US should have allot of astrophysics jobs.
  5. May 25, 2015 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    I am afraid that it will be difficult to get a job as an astrophysicist with a PhD in sustainable energy. It also sounds like it is difficult to be employed as astrophysicist in your country period. I would therefore think about relocation.
  6. May 25, 2015 #5
    If you can only do these two PhDs without traveling and you won't travel, then you won't be doing an astrophysics PhD or astrophysics research(or any physics for that matter). Very simple.

    Now you have to choose out of only two possibilities; a lot easier than choosing from 20 possibilities.

    Not sure what form you think the advice you need is going to be.

    BTW, not being willing to travel and a PhD-level career don't really match.
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