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Looking to major in Astrophysics

  1. Jul 1, 2008 #1

    I am looking to major in Astrophysics. I am currently attending a community college in New Mexico and hope to soon transfer to UNM or New Mexico University of Mining and Technology.
    One of my main questions is about the schools. UNM offers a limited degree into this field and the second lists it all the way up to the PhD level. I am wondering if i should head over to
    NMTech or instead go to UNM and then transfer to a different school to continue my education.

    With NMTech they say they offer up to the PhD level but I am curious if this is true and my education will be looked at correctly and possibly hired and able to work in an observatory.
    I have heard of Universities listing Astrophysics to attract students to a dwindling science and math classes and in the end is not recognized the same.

    Any opinions and thoughts are greatly appreciated,

    Thank You
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2008 #2


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    Re: Physics/Astrophysics

    Go to whichever offers the best undergraduate physics degree. Worry about grad school later.

    - Warren
  4. Jul 1, 2008 #3


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    Re: Physics/Astrophysics

    You might look at where the recent BS and PhD graduates from those schools have gone.
    Did the undergraduates participate in REU programs there or elsewhere?
    How many BS graduates went on to good PhD programs?
    How many PhDs went to postdocs and, hopefully, more permanent research or faculty positions?

    As chroot says, focus on getting the best undergraduate physics degree first.

    With the presence of an active PhD program, you may be able to take graduate courses as an undergraduate... and you might find yourself more contemplating a more challenging PhD program [since you would have already had a taste of that program]. Of course, you would hope that the school with a PhD program cares about its undergraduates.

    Some features that would attract me:
    an active colloquium/seminar series with external speakers...
    an active group of undergraduates interested in what I am interested in...
    at least one faculty member that I would like to learn from [e.g. be advised by and do research with].

    Something to keep in mind... what would plan B be?

    Some possibly useful information [including some data on undergraduates]:
    http://www.aip.org/gpb/pdf_files/293.pdf (U NewMexico)
    http://www.aip.org/gpb/pdf_files/047.pdf (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology)
    [Note that you can still study "Astrophysics" in Physics PhD program.]
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