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Physics Mechanical enginering + astrophysics, what are the prospects?

  1. Dec 14, 2008 #1
    I am studying mechanical engineering right now, but i want to master in astrophysics or cosmology after this, what are the possible careers for this route of study? also,what are the best universities for a masters in astrophysics? Since I am an indian national, I am looking for a university that offers scholarships to international students as I am not financially equipped to pay the entire fees. pursuing research is something i am keen on
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2008 #2


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    I'm not entirely sure that any scholarships in Astrophysics/Cosmology would be given to a student with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. Have you taken any courses in anything relevant to what you want to study?
  4. Dec 14, 2008 #3
    well thing is, so far everything I know about astrophysics is on my own study, I'm still in my first year so my courses are fixed, I'll have electives coming up next year that i can pick but, since I'm in mechanical I dont know if there will be any theoretical subjects. I did have a general relativity module in my first semester physics, next semester I'll have quantum mechanics.......
  5. Dec 14, 2008 #4


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    If you're in your first year of study, and know that you want to go to grad school to study astrophysics or cosmology, why don't you switch to a physics degree?
  6. Dec 14, 2008 #5
    note: well my passion isnt really just astrophysics, it's more towards cosmology, and theoretical treatment of reality so..........if thats the route I wanna take, what do I have to do...?
  7. Dec 14, 2008 #6


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    I would advise you to switch to a physics degree as soon as you can.
  8. Dec 14, 2008 #7
    well I have considered switching, see I'm studying in India right now, and the thing is there just arnt any universities in india that offer good education bachelors in physics, also , my college does not do transfer programmes. see the thing in india is that, there is this insane race where everyone wants to be either an engineer or a doctor, they choose courses according to what their parents tell them, and it is very stereotyped. as a result, the people who end up taking physics and math and chem degrees are the so called "lower strata" of the student population, and so schools that offer these degrees cant be much bothered to give a decent education. In india, the degrees for engineering and for science are different[B.Tech and B.Sc respectively] so a college that offers one of these courses usually does not offer the other, an angineering college would find it below them to offer courses in theoretical science. weird......I know.......
  9. Dec 15, 2008 #8
    how much astrophysical content is there in an astronautics graduation degree?
  10. Dec 19, 2008 #9
    Ever hear of Ramamurti Shankar from Yale? He got his B. Tech in electrical engineering in India but received his PhD in theoretical particle physics here in the U.S.

    He has done rather well for himself without a physics B.S.:

    "Ramamurti Shankar is John Randolph Huffman Professor of Physics at Yale. He received his B. Tech in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and his Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Yale faculty in 1977 after three years at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He is dedicated to teaching and has published two texts: Principles of Quantum Mechanics and Basic Training in Mathematics: A Fitness Program for Science Students. His website has further details and a link to jokes collected by his students from Physics 200-201."

    If the education system in India is as you say it is, I would assume you can make a claim for this when applying for graduate studies. I'd imagine that filling your electives with as much mathematics and astrophysics as possible will put you in a good position upon graduation.

    You can see Shankar's email address at his website: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~rshankar/. I don't know if he responds to every email, but it's worth a try to ask him for some advice.

    He seems like a very friendly guy....he has a link on his site devoted entirely to funny quotes from his classes.
  11. Dec 20, 2008 #10
    thanx a tonne troponin....that's really encouraging
  12. Dec 20, 2008 #11
    I think having BS in Mech Engineering would be fine. Just get as many electives as you can in physics/astrophysics/cosmology and try to make connections with physics profs, you can get involved in independent undergrad research projects at your school.They can give you recommendation letters when you graduate. So keep your GPA high,get good scores in toefl and gre, then it should not be too much trouble to get an assistantship in US. For grad schools, check ones that have deans or assistant deans from India. Those departments would be more inclined to hire indian students.
    If it doesnt work, you can always find a job as a Mech Engineer in the end.
  13. Dec 20, 2008 #12
    Engineering is so similar to physics for the first few years, I can't imagine you'll find it impossible to find a PhD program in Physics. If the Engineering programs really are recognized as much more intensive than the Physics programs and you fill your electives with as much physics as possible, I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Remember that Ed Whitten did his undergrad in History with a minor in Linguistics...so he didn't do physics in undergrad either.

    Of course....some would say what he does now isn't "really" physics either. lol
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