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How to be a cosmologist?

  1. May 9, 2015 #1
    Hi there,

    I'm in my final 2 years in high school studying mathematics, physics, further mathematics and chemistry.
    I'll be applying to universities next winter. But, here in the UK, there're courses for physics in the uni titled: Physics with Theoretical Physics or Physics with Astrophysics. And I'm not really sure which to apply to in order to be able to go into cosmology research in the future.

    I've a strong inclination to the relationship between physics and maths as well as the study of stars and the observable objects in the universe. And I'm really confused which to decide with. Can someone clarify to me more what cosmology is and which degree of those shall be more preferable to a cosmologist?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF.
    In generan, an astronomy track tends to favour astrophysics and thus cosmology.
    However, there is little demand for cosmologists though so pretty much any path can take you there.
    The existence of an astronomy track suggests the University has active astronomy research... however, you should really ask the University. Get the prospectus and look at the advanced papers and what their prerequisites are. You are unlikely to see much cosmology as an undergrad.
  4. May 9, 2015 #3


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    For undergraduate, your best bet is to major in physics.

    To go into cosmology as a profession, you'll really need a Ph.D. eventually, so aim for a Ph.D. in physics.

    In order to do well in cosmology as a career, it's a good idea to get into a good school. It's unfortunately extremely difficult to become a professional cosmologist (there are lots of people and few permanent jobs). So your best bet is to go to the most prestigious university you can make it into, both in undergraduate and graduate. The good thing about this is that if you have a hard time making it in cosmology, you can always do something else (and probably make a *lot* more money). The unemployment rate for people with Ph.D.'s in physics, astrophysics, or cosmology remained close to zero, even in the worst of the current depression.
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