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Masters (PhD if possible) online

  1. Nov 5, 2015 #1
    I am brand new here. So be kind! :) I have a few questions for you pros!

    I am in my late thirties and working as an airline pilot for a US major airline. I have a Bachelor's of science in 'Aeronautics' (non-engineering). I have always been fascinated in astrophysics and it has grown to be a major interest/hobby of mine.

    Now I am looking to pursue a Master's or PhD in this subject - online. My goal is to get a formal education in the subject. And I would like to do some independent research after graduation. Maybe write a blog, seek out any public speaking opportunities (however small) etc.

    The opportunity cost associated with quitting flying temporarily is too high for me to consider attending a conventional university. And as much as I wish to be in academia full time after graduation, I've spent too much time building a career as an aviator: and changing careers is not in my future.

    So here are my questions:

    1. Can you guys and gals recommend any such online programs? From my research I found only 2 graduate programs. And I didn't find any PhD programs. Anyone know of any other options other than the 2 listed below?

    2. These are the programs I found online:
    a: Master's in Astronomy from the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia
    b: Master's in Astrophysics from the Liverpool John Moores University in United Kingdom

    Out of these two, what would you recommend? Though both of the program content looks similar, one is a degree in 'Astronomy' vs. 'Astrophysics'. Does that make much of a difference when it comes to recognition?

    I know these are not Ivy League schools. As I don't intend to pursue a full time career in the field, I don't care much about it. However, I don't want the physics community snickering behind my back when I tell them where my graduate degree is from and what it is about! :)

    Any advice, guidance and suggestions will be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2015 #2


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    I don't know much (anything) about Liverpool John Mores University, but Swinburne has a reasonably high profile research department for astronomy. I don't know about their online program, but their grad students are certainly not a joke.

    ETA: However, I don't think a masters degree (of any variety, but particularly an online one, especially if it's coursework only) equips you to do independent research. But if you're just doing it for the sake of getting the degree, then go ahead.
  4. Nov 5, 2015 #3
    Thank you. That's exactly the kind of information and feedback I was hoping for!
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