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Shifting between two Master's Degrees

  1. May 12, 2015 #1
    I am currently a part-time student in the Master of Science in Astronomy course in our country (I already finished one semester, and I am currently taking the second one). However, my employer (I work at a research laboratory concerning meteorology), has suggested that I take a Master of Science in Physics (focused in theory) at the university where the laboratory is based.

    My ultimate goal is to study Astrophysics (get a Ph.D.) that's why I took Astronomy, but the method of teaching in my current school is not that challenging (we observe celestial objects, but not much of the physical processes and theories are being thoroughly discussed). On the other hand, the university I currently work with is the top school in the country. My only concern is that by studying Astronomy, I could raise the chances to study Astrophysics abroad, I just don't know what my chances are if I were to shift to the MS Physics program (I was told that studying Theoretical Physics I could enter any branch of Physics).

    Any advice? Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2015 #2
    Thanks for the post! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
  4. May 18, 2015 #3
    I'm inclined to think what you've heard is accurate from what I've heard as well. I wasn't a physics a major in a college, I just loved math and philosophy, but all of my friends where so I was in the physics club and our faculty adviser was an astrophysicist. I would say after being there for four years I was left with the impression that it was definitely easier to go from physics to medical physics, biophysics, or astrophysics.

    You say yourself that,
    and that the other university is the top school in the country.

    You could consider, say if you knew that you were more interested or even just thought you might be in theoretical astrophysics you'd probably be better off getting the MS in Physics since it's from what's considered a better school, a more challenging program, and you're all ready not feeling stimulated with what you're currently studying.

    Other factors to consider is who you're currently studying under and who your Master Thesis adviser is, are the published or respected in the field of Astrophysics? Moreover, what is your current employer's reputation in academia? I'm guessing he's probably a professor and just a researcher. Having a faculty member take you under their wing, guide you, and put you in touch with connections at other schools can be extremely valuable. If your employer liked you well enough to reach out to you and suggest that you might want to think about switching to his university he might be looking for a research assistant or know someone who is who's doing work in something he think you'd be a good fit for.

    That said, as far as getting into a Ph.D. program in astrophysics, usually it probably wouldn't matter better astronomy or physics since a lot of schools don't really clearly distinguish between astronomy, astrophysics, and physics. However, you specifically cite the lack of physical processes and theory being discussed which I see as worrisome. That means, one that is something you clearly want to study and two the program might be lacking. You should have no shortage of discussion of physical processes and theory available in the other program and if you have any lacking in astronomical topics you'll always have you're thesis and it is only a master's.
  5. May 19, 2015 #4
    Thank you for the advice. As an answer to some of your queries, I'm not really sure about my professors reputation in the field of Astronomy, although one of my professors is an author of an astronomical catalog and several journals in the school (the school is actually well-known for astronomical activities since it's the only school that offers a Master's Program in Astronomy in the country). However, thanks for enlightening me in your last paragraph, I have met a student who modeled galaxy formation in the other school, so I think there is/are professor(s) who have astrophysics background.

    Thank you, I might take your advice. :)
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