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Medical Physics, Theoretical Physics or Astrophysics?

  1. Jan 1, 2015 #1
    Hello there.

    I am a student doing a MSci at one of the top British universities and top 5 world universities according to QS. I am doing a Natural Sciences Degree and must choose a specialisation in Physics starting next term. Ever since I was a child, my dream has been to study Astrophysics. However, I am slightly concerned about the career prospects after doing a MSci in Astrophysics. That is why I have been thinking of doing a MSci in Medical Physics, which might have better career prospects. Could anyone help me with this matter? What should I go for? Can one do a PhD in Astrophysics with a MSci in Medical Physics? What is your opinion on studying Condensed Matter Physics or Particle Physics? (which are other options which I could go for).

    Thank you so much for your answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2015 #2


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    I'm not sure how the programs work in the UK. I've never been a fan of making students decide on a sub-field as undergraduates. If you're interested in physics, you should study physics first, and then decide what sub-field you want to enter once you understand the field a little better. But I realize that it doesn't always work that way.

    One advantage with medical physics is that it's a professional branch of physics. Medical physicists can work outside of academia and therefore there are career possibilities that don't exist for people who go into other branches. It's a competitive field - at least in North America (I imagine it's similar in the UK and Europe), but the odds of making it into a career are a lot better than those branches of physics that are limited to academia only.

    You have to look at the specifics of the program to know if it's possible to go on into a PhD in astrophysics with an MSci in medical physics. In North America, there are "medical physics" undergraduate programs that wouldn't qualify one for graduate study in other fields of physics and in some cases don't qualify one for graduate study in medical physics. I would suggest contacting the university department that hosts this program and ask them these questions directly.
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