Physics PhD with a b.sc from a different field? (Australia)

In summary, if you have a good undergraduate degree in physics and some relevant experience, you have a good chance of getting into a PhD program in astrophysics.
  • #1
Miscing
16
0
Hi, I have a B.sc with first class honours, with a major in biochemistry and I want to do a phd in astrophysics. I have two years of undergrad physics and a good knowledge of vector calculus, DEs, linear algebra, etc. What are my chances of getting into a program? I know in america you guys have a standardised exam for grad school entry, but we don't have that here. Does it depend on finding a phd supervisor willing to take me?
 
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  • #2
I don't know too much about the Australian system, but I'd guess that you still need a full degree in physics to be considered as a candidate for graduate school in physics. Many programs will consider candidates from similar fields, but this generally means subjects like engineering physics or physical chemistry. Biochemistry is unlikely to cut it, I'm afraid.

One of the first questions I would have is how do you know you want to do a PhD in astrophysics when you haven't even completed a senior undergraduate course in physics?
 
  • #3
Miscing said:
Hi, I have a B.sc with first class honours, with a major in biochemistry and I want to do a phd in astrophysics. I have two years of undergrad physics and a good knowledge of vector calculus, DEs, linear algebra, etc. What are my chances of getting into a program? I know in america you guys have a standardised exam for grad school entry, but we don't have that here. Does it depend on finding a phd supervisor willing to take me?

I don't know if you have a good chance because many PhD programs here usually require honors of a high calibre (first class or upper second class) to get into the respective PhD programs.

Also since we have a good astrophysics community, and since it is limited, I imagine that the people with all the pre-requisites will be way in front of the queue than people with your kind of background.

I would of course send a letter to the relevant person in that particular department of the university, but I do know it's pretty standard for PhD degrees to have a good honors degree in the field of study you wish to apply for.

If I were you, I would send an email to ANU since they have a good astrophysics program there and just ask the right person what your chances are. I would however go to the respective website and check because they would probably have answered this question already.
 
  • #4
You might be best to aim for something like astrobiology, for example the Australian centre for astrobiology at UNSW (http://www.aca.absociety.org/aca/ ). You might also contact groups that are interested in molecular astronomy (e.g., http://www.postgraduate-research.physics.unsw.edu.au/astrophysics.html ) or more chemistry related astronomy (e.g., http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~smaddiso/research/).
 
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  • #5


First of all, congratulations on your first class honours in biochemistry and your interest in pursuing a PhD in astrophysics! It is definitely possible to transition from a different field to a PhD in physics, and your background in biochemistry may even bring a unique perspective to your research.

In terms of your chances of getting into a program, it will ultimately depend on a few factors. First, you will need to demonstrate a strong understanding of fundamental physics concepts and mathematical skills, which it sounds like you have from your two years of undergraduate physics and knowledge of vector calculus, DEs, and linear algebra. Additionally, having a first class honours in a related field is a great indicator of your academic abilities.

In terms of the standardized exam for grad school entry, while it may not be a requirement in Australia, it is always a good idea to take the GRE or a similar exam to provide a standardized measure of your academic abilities to potential PhD programs.

Ultimately, finding a PhD supervisor who is willing to take you on will also play a role in your acceptance into a program. It may be helpful to reach out to potential supervisors and discuss your background and interests in astrophysics to see if they have any available positions or if they would be open to considering you for their team.

Overall, with your strong academic background and knowledge in physics and mathematics, as well as a potential supervisor who is willing to support your research, I believe you have a good chance of being accepted into a PhD program in astrophysics. Best of luck in your academic pursuits!
 

Related to Physics PhD with a b.sc from a different field? (Australia)

1. Can I pursue a PhD in Physics if my undergraduate degree is in a different field?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a PhD in Physics with a Bachelor of Science degree from a different field. Many universities in Australia offer bridging courses or prerequisite courses for students with non-physics backgrounds to prepare them for a PhD program in Physics.

2. Will I be at a disadvantage compared to students with a physics undergraduate degree?

It may be challenging at first, but as long as you are dedicated and willing to put in the extra effort, you can catch up with your peers who have an undergraduate degree in Physics. Your unique background may also bring a fresh perspective to your research and contribute to the diversity of ideas in the field.

3. What are the prerequisites for a PhD in Physics with a B.Sc from a different field?

The prerequisites may vary depending on the university, but generally, you will be required to have a strong foundation in mathematics, particularly in calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. Some universities may also require you to have completed some physics courses or have a minimum GPA in your undergraduate degree.

4. What can I do to prepare for a PhD in Physics with a non-physics background?

It is recommended to take some physics courses during your undergraduate studies to get a basic understanding of the subject. You can also self-study or take online courses in math and physics to strengthen your foundation. Additionally, you can reach out to professors or current PhD students in the field for advice and guidance.

5. Will my career options be limited with a PhD in Physics from a different field?

No, a PhD in Physics is a highly versatile degree that can open doors to various career paths. With your unique background, you may even have an advantage in certain industries or research fields. It is essential to network and gain relevant experience during your PhD to increase your job prospects.

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