Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Most probable double major/minor

  1. Jul 27, 2008 #1
    I'm currently in community college double majoring in Physics and Mathematics. When I transfer out I want to major in Astrophysics or Astronomy, pending on the program and what schools actually accept me. I was just curious on what type of combinations with double majoring and minors would work. I even contemplated a triple major, is it even allowed? I'm sure with ample effort it could be possible and how related each major is, I guess.

    Here are the things being considered:

    Astronomy/Astrophysics - main focus but, I want one more than one degree to broaden my horizons.
    Mathematics - I'm not sure what direction but more of an algebraic route.
    Aeronautical Engineering - If available
    Cosmology - I cant seem to find what institutions have this as a major/minor. It was on college board not to long ago, I guess not anymore.
    Physics/Applied Physics - (As a minor) Depending on what programs are offered
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    I don't think there's a degree for astronomy/astrophysics. I haven't heard of one. They both fall under physics bachelor degree. Same goes for cosmology I guess. And I don't think a triple major is advisable, although if all 3 majors are largely related to one another, it may barely be doable, although it'll be very tough if aeronautical engineering as listed as one of those triple majors.
  4. Jul 27, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    You won't be able to study for an undergraduate degree in cosmology solely because you need a *lot* of prerequisite knowledge of physics/maths to study cosmology.
  5. Jul 27, 2008 #4
    Aeronautical engineering is not something easy to tack on. That's an additional 75 or so credits
  6. Jul 27, 2008 #5
    You sure? I'm almost positive there is a degree for Astronomy. I know for a fact Northern Arizona offers a B.S. in Astronomy. They also offer a 5-year program to get a M.S. in Astronomy. Thats just to name one school, though.

    Ah, I wasn't to sure about it. Never hurts to ask :)

    Just asking, it was another "major" I happened to be interested in. Only wanted to see the odds, etc.

    So, I'm guessing that the most probable would be Astro and Math? I would graduate with a B.S in Astronomy/Astrophysics/Physics (pending school and program) and a B.S. in mathematics. Correct?

    I was considering doing Northern Arizona's 5-year M.S program. Is it a good option or should I save anything higher than a B.S. for grad school?
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  7. Jul 27, 2008 #6
    Yeah, an MS in Physics/Astronomy isn't terribly useful. If you go for a PhD afterwards, you'll probably have to retake the classes you took for your MS anyways, and an MS in Physics is barely more employable than a BS in Physics. Most US schools don't even offer an MS in Physics program, and the only way people end up with an MS is if they went there for a PhD but failed the qualifying exam.
  8. Jul 27, 2008 #7


    User Avatar

    Keep in mind that there aren't many jobs in astronomy if you don't have a PhD in the field. And if you're planning on going on to graduate school in astronomy, what you really should be majoring in is physics. A double major in physics and astronomy or physics and math would be the best preparation for graduate school in physics, astrophysics, or astronomy.

    Yes, astronomy and astrophysics are majors at many schools, but double majoring in them is almost pointless - there's so much overlap it's only a few more courses. Physics is more useful. Cosmology is a subfield of astronomy and physics, and usually only offered as a course at the undergrad level, not a major. Aeronautical engineering is for a different track - more practical than research-oriented. Which way to you want to go?
  9. Jul 27, 2008 #8


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    So far, credible.

    Maybe so, seems mostly credible, but how much does "Most" really mean? Anyway, it is credible. MOST.

    Not true. At least two universities in California offer a terminal Masters degree in Physics, with no PhD program in Physics. Research as part of those programs is also an option.
  10. Jul 27, 2008 #9
    Well, I do plan to get my Ph.D, no doubt about that. But, I have this terrible habit of running before I can walk so I'm going to play this out the right way and not screw it up like I've done many times in the past. Meaning - I'm worrying about getting out of community college and getting into/learning and graduating from a four-year institution before I start to worry about graduate school. As far as grad school is concerned, I'm going. Most likely directly after I get my Bachelors but, thats years down the line.
  11. Jul 28, 2008 #10
    It's only not true if you pretend that there wasn't a qualifying statement at the start of the sentence. I suppose I could have made it a bit more clear of what I meant, though.
  12. Jul 28, 2008 #11
    another question arises... Would it be more beneficial to major in physics or applied physics? Like whAt would look better when I apply to grad school?
  13. Jul 28, 2008 #12


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    What do you intend to do in grad school?
  14. Jul 28, 2008 #13
    Astrophysics/Astronomy &/or Mathematics.
  15. Jul 29, 2008 #14

    differences, advantages/disadvantages what looks better??

    applied physics vs. physics
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook