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One Quick question about Graduate school

  1. Mar 23, 2014 #1
    Hi, I am a high school senior and will be majoring in Physics next fall and I eventually want to go to graduate school but had a quick question. I want to eventually become an astronomer but I know there is not a major for it alone, so I would be majoring in Physics. If I get my Bachelors degree in Physics and then go to graduate school for astronomy, will I be getting a PHD in Physics or Astronomy, I am a little confused about the process.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2014 #2


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    It depends on what you want to do as an astronomer. Most graduate schools I know of only offer masters or PhD in physics with specialization in astrophysics.
  4. Mar 23, 2014 #3


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    For the most part you're dealing with semantics.

    Some schools will offer an undergraduate degree in astronomy, but I would tend to avoid getting that specific as an undergraduate. It's important to keep your doors open and be open minded. Through the course of your studies it's quite likely that you'll discover new fields and possible that your mind will change. So a degree in physics will get you where you want to go.

    Then, when you go to graduate school in most cases you'll attend a department of physics or "physics and astronomy" and you'll chose a specialization within the department, usually defined by your project. Some schools will grant a PhD in "astronomy" while others will grant the PhD in "physics" while others may not even put anything discipline-specific on your diploma. But you're not assessed for post-doctoral positions based on the script on your diploma. Rather, it's the quality and quantity of your work.
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