Phd in Theoreticle Physics and Astrophysics

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  • Thread starter Stratosphere
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  • #1
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Is it possible o get a PhD in both theoretical physics and theoretical astrophysics at the same time, or is it too much to handle? Also, would it better my chances of being hired for NASA as an astrophysics and a math PHD rather than a theoretical physics and astrophysics PHD, or does it not really matter?
 

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  • #2
eri
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There wouldn't be a point in getting separate PhDs in both - they overlap far too much. The coursework is almost the same - exactly the same at some universities - and you can get a PhD in physics and do astrophysics for the dissertation. That's what I'm doing. Your chances of getting a job at NASA will depend a bit more on the work you've done in the field than the actual title of your PhD.
 
  • #3
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So you're saying that I could be hired in the astrophysics division of NASA as a theoretical physicist? Wouldn't they prefer an astrophysicist?
 
  • #4
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Also if the two are so closely related then getting a PHD in both wouldn't be that much harder than getting it in just one.
 
  • #5
eri
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You're not going to be accepted to a PhD program in astrophysics if you already have a PhD in physics. There wouldn't be any point. You'd be taking almost the same exact classes - you can just study the material on your own. NASA would hire a physicist or astrophysicist for the same job if they met the requirements - say, research in a particular field. A PhD in physics doesn't mean you don't know astrophysics as well. I'm getting a PhD in physics and my dissertation is in astrophysics. My PhD will say physics, but I do astrophysics.
 
  • #6
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I'm getting a PhD in physics and my dissertation is in astrophysics. My PhD will say physics, but I do astrophysics.

Me too. My field is particle astrophysics, and my advisor has me doing a physics PhD so that I can avoid taking astronomy courses that I don't need. That, and particle astro is basically just high energy physics in space and with cheaper equipment (it helps when nature supplies that particle acceleration mechanism).

Stratosphere, if you're really insistent on this, a professor in my department did once tell me that it's possible to do a dual PhD. The reason I didn't do this though is that I'd have to take courses like stellar astrophysics, galactic, observational, and a whole bunch of other stuff. And I probably wouldn't get to take courses like nuclear physics, quantum field theory, general relativity, and other fun stuff that I'd rather be taking. Basically it required doing the bare minimum coursework in both physics and astronomy, so it didn't seem that appealing to me. But hey, apparently it is possible at some universities (or at least at mine).
 

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