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Job prospects for a B.S. in Astrophysics or Physics?

  1. Dec 20, 2013 #1
    Hello all!

    I'm thinking of getting a B.S. In Astrophysics or Physics and I was wondering what kind of jobs they're applicable to. Are Masters or PhD programs a must?

    Thanks in advance for any responses,

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Dec 20, 2013 #3


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    It's tough getting a job with just a BS in Physics. Hiring managers typically aren't aware of the skills that you have, which puts you at a big disadvantage to engineers.

    I wouldn't recommend getting just a bachelor's in physics. My advice: go for engineering instead.
  5. Dec 20, 2013 #4
    I've looked into engineering but I was really wanting study space. I realize that it will probably shrink my options quite a bit but I'd like to see what may be available before I make any decisions. Thanks for giving it to me straight though.
  6. Dec 21, 2013 #5
  7. Dec 21, 2013 #6


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    The overwhelming majority (if not all) of people who work in what you have in mind have PhDs in the appropriate area. I'm not sure if you are aware of this since you only asked about a B.Sc degree.

    So if you want to work in that area, especially having a career as a researcher, etc., then you will need a PhD. If not, then there is a very high probability that you won't be doing what you had in mind. Most people with just a B.Sc in Astrophysics/Physics end up with a career outside of those areas. This is not necessarily a bad thing (many work as "engineers"), but this is something you need to be aware of.

  8. Dec 21, 2013 #7
    Are there any more specialized fields of physics with other job prospects? For Astrophysics is it absolutely necessary to go to a PhD? What if I want to work in an observatory?

    Sorry for all these questions, I'm just excited about all the honest and helpful answer.
  9. Dec 21, 2013 #8


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    The only thing you might be able to do with at an observatory with a BS is menial stuff, like calibrating the equipment, writing lab manuals, etc.

    There are plenty of things you can do with a BS in physics. Just not actual scientific research.

    You'll be competing for entry level jobs in other industries with people who are more specifically qualified for those positions. You getting hired will hinge upon the skills you picked up along the way to your BS(programming, etc) and whether or not the employer thinks you might have more potential having obtained a physics degree than the average finance major or computer science major. Which is kinda silly if you think about it.
  10. Dec 21, 2013 #9
    That's true. So if I want to do astronomy a PhD is a must have then.
  11. Dec 21, 2013 #10
    adding yet another confirmation about no shortcuts
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