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James Cook University Online Astronomy Degree: Worth it or Not?

  1. Nov 4, 2011 #1
    Hey everyone! I am new to the forum so be kind. I tried using the search function to find an answer to this question but could not dig one up. I have come to a point in my life where I need a career change I am 26 and considering a few options to shake up my life. I have long had a passion for astronomy and physics, and I regret not pursuing this area during undergraduate. Currently, I have a career (and a lot of debt from undergraduate) and I am looking to go back to school in such a fashion that will allow me to keep my current job. The main option I want to consider is pursuing astronomy...so really my question is does James Cook University's graduate degrees in astronomy carry any weight for working in this field? Or are they more of the type that just "make you feel good about being an astronomer/physicist/whatever other programs they offer"? Thanks everyone and once again sorry if this has been asked a 1000 times...couldnt find it with the search function.
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  3. Nov 4, 2011 #2


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    I had never heard of the school, so I looked it up. It looks as though you only have to complete two classes and a thesis for the PhD. The class descriptions appear to be at the introductory undergraduate level, certainly not graduate level, their only instructor does not have a PhD himself, it's entirely web-based, and most of their links don't work. It looks like they'll admit anyone to the program, regardless of math and physics background. I would say this is basically a scam. It certainly would not be taken seriously by any employer or other school.
  4. Nov 4, 2011 #3
    Err, no. Perhaps you should go and reread the entry requirements:

    http://www.jcu.edu.au/eps/disciplines/astronomy/JCU_080272.html" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Nov 4, 2011 #4
    Thanks for the replies. Yeah, they don't seem to just let anyone in, however I have no idea how strictly they preclude people from their program. Although, from what I have read about internet programs, most tend to not be too selective. Does anyone have any experience who second hand knowledge about this program? Once again, thanks everyone
  6. Nov 4, 2011 #5


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    OK, that was one of the dead links I tried to click on originally. So they do have some entrance requirements. What I'm most skeptical about is what they're actually offering, especially if their own professors don't have doctorates and their classes sound like intro level undergrad courses.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  7. Nov 4, 2011 #6
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  8. Nov 5, 2011 #7
    I think you need to go back and check the other links before you level any more accusations at those professors.

    To the OP: you will almost certainly require a Phd in order to obtain a career in astronomy research. Note, however, that even with a Phd it is not guaranteed you will have that career!
  9. Jul 29, 2013 #8
    James Cook Online Astronomy Degree

    The Masters program was extensive and difficult. The work was far harder than my astronomy work at Berkeley that I did as an undergrad. My professors had PhD's. JCU is one of the better science Universities in the Southern Hemisphere. That being said, I am not sure that the program is still being offered.
    I was able to apply the work that I did at JCU for use in summer work at the National Solar Observatory, so it was certainly valuable. That being said, most of the work that I did was at the University of Western Sydney, and then the program (and most of the faculty) moved over to JCU.
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