Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I want to go for a Msc in Astrophysics but dont have the sufficient skills

  1. Jun 14, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone. I have a challenge that has been bothering me and i would welcome any advice i can get right now. I have a BSc in Industrial Physics with applied Geophysics option. The problem is i dont know have a full knowledge of university physics and mathematics...am not even sure of my calculus but i love astronomy...it had always been my dream to be an astrophysicist....but i dont have the sufficient knowledge of university maths or physics to even attempt the physics GRE. the reason is that my foundations where not treated properly...in first year and i just had to cram my way through just for the grades (and i took some courses for granted) so i have scrappy knowledge of everything.

    Right now i am doing Matrices in Linear algebra...i dont know complex variables...i dont know differential equations, i have a scrappy knowledge in calculus...i dont know taylor series...fourier series...and all the advanced maths course from 2nd year up. As for physics..i dont know classical mechanics...i have a little knowledge of quantum...and absolutely nothing on Electrodynamics.

    So the question is can i still cover all these before the next graduate school entrance year and how long does it take to cover all these...should i start all over again as an undergraduate...or should i just forget about being an astrophysicist. i really love astrophysics...i read any publications i can get my hands on the latest in the subject..but i dont have the knowledge to understand them. So pls, is it too late for me???..
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If you really want to become an astrophysicist, I'd suggest you to enroll into a bachelor degree in physics. You seem to be honest and from what you've described, you wouldn't have a complete first year of a B.S. in physics.
    I don't know you but why do you think it would it be too late for you to restart a degree?
  4. Jun 19, 2012 #3
    i think its because of the age.....and the resources......am in Africa...Nigeria to be precise...and i want to do my education in the US because there are no good universities offering astrophysics here....that is why am asking if i was to do self study of all the fundamentals for masters in astrophysics...how long is it going to take...restarting is going to take like 4 yrs (am 23 now) and resources are limited so i need a way i can maximize both resources and time..
  5. Jun 19, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    You may wish to explore opportunities at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

    About AIMS - http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/ngt1000/aims.pdf
  6. Jun 20, 2012 #5
    thanks...but does AIMS cover all areas in mathematical physics...and a mathematical fundamentals needed for masters level astrophysics...because checking through the only ones relating to physics are statistical mechanics and harmonic analysis....
  7. Jun 20, 2012 #6
    i need a program that deals with the necessary skills in maths and physics for masters in astrophysics....for at most a year
  8. Jun 20, 2012 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    AIMS is affiliated with several universities, e.g., University of the Western Cape. There are opportunities in astrophysics.



    What area of astrophysics is of interest. It is a diverse field. One could pursue cosmology, stellar astrophysics, planetary science, solar system dynamics, galactic dynamics, . . . .

    One could observational research and/or theoretical research.

    One needs a good foundation in mathematics, e.g., understanding and experience with multivariable calculus, particularly partial differential equations and systems of ODEs/PDEs.
  9. Jun 21, 2012 #8
    so can AIMS teach me the maths fundamentals i need to know for astrophysics??....or do they teach masters level maths
  10. Jun 21, 2012 #9
    as for the area of interest...am not really sure yet..but am thinking cosmology/stelar astrophysics....i want to go a bit deeper into the big bang theory... i feel there is something missing and i wish to explore it... but i just need the necessary maths and physics tools
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook