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Hey everyone

  1. Aug 30, 2009 #1
    So this is the deal, I'm 17, and I have a passion for science, especially Astrophysics, and I want to major in that department, but the thing is, a lot of people that I know tell me Astrophysics is way too hard, it's not stable, you need to be a genius to make something out of it, not enough money, etc. Now I'm not in it for the money at all, but the thing is, how many people that actually major in astrophysics get settled down to make a comfortable living? And is there a big percentage of people who find it too hard for them and end up switching majors?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2009 #2


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    The first thing to keep in mind is that there are very few jobs in the field if you don't get a PhD. And even if you do, there aren't a ton of jobs in the field. That might just be the economy right now, but it's something to keep in mind, so it's good to leave your options as open as possible. And that means majoring in physics, not astrophysics. If you do want to go to grad school in astronomy or astrophysics, physics is the best major for that, and it leaves you a lot of other options if astronomy doesn't work out.

    No, you don't need to be a genius (but it would probably help), you just need to be motivated and dedicated. It's a lot of work, and the physics doesn't come as easily to some people as others, so you might spend twice as long as someone else studying to get the same result.

    Even with a PhD astrophysics won't make you rich, but it will make you comfortable. We don't do it for the money.
  4. Aug 30, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the quick response, yea I read on numerous occasions that it's best to major in physics instead because it can leave much more doors open. I'm a very dedicated person; at least to the things that interest me. And no i'm not in it for the money lol.. but it would be nice to have some food on my plate. Just that a lot of people, like you, are saying that there's not many job opportunities out there for this career choice, and IDK what to make of that.
  5. Aug 30, 2009 #4
    You can always try to be come a professor.
  6. Aug 30, 2009 #5


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    For the most part, astronomers work for colleges and universities, national labs and observatories, and NASA. Most people going into the job want to become a professor; most people won't find a job as a professor. We're graduating many more PhDs in astronomy than people are hiring each year, especially right now. But since you've got about 10 years to go, I think it's a safe bet the economy will have cleared up by then. This is prime hiring time - and the AAS Job Register is listing ONE tenure-track faculty position in astronomy in the US right now. http://members.aas.org/JobReg/JobRegister.cfm#FacPosTen [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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