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Should I try and get a second degree in astronomy?

  1. Apr 26, 2010 #1
    So I'm currently a junior at the University of Maryland majoring in Criminal Justice/Criminology. I've been pretty interested in astronomy for a few years, but lacked the focus to really feel confident in such an undertaking. I have no idea now what specifically I'd like to do with an additional degree, but I'd almost certainly pursue grad school with it.

    I'm just coming to the realization that I simply have no interest in my field, but will probably graduate in May 2011 because I've put in the wrench time with my Crim. degree.

    Is it feasible to get that second degree in astronomy in 4 - 5 semesters from now?

    I plan on taking and passing the credit-by-exam for at least Calc I, I'm starting the requirements with nothing other than the gen-eds and electives filled.

    Requirements are http://www.astro.umd.edu/undergrad/major.html" [Broken]

    The reason for the question is the 'rents said they'd pay for whatever education I want, including law school/grad school so long as I'm out of the beast by the time I'm 25 -- I'm 21 now. Time for me to get on the ball...

    Thanks for your time.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2010 #2


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    They require 17 astronomy, physics, and math courses, as well as highly recommending several more and computer science if you want to go to grad school. You'll need to finish most of those before your senior year in order to pass the physics GRE, which most astronomy grad schools require, and many of those courses must be taken in a particular order (or have each other as prerequisites). Finishing it all in 4 semesters is going to require you devoting the full next 4 semesters to it, and a ton of work - not to mention you really should do at least one research project before applying to grad school or even a full undergrad thesis (equivalent to several more classes). Probably not all that feasible, but possible. Also, grad school is an additional 4-8 years (but you should be able to get a stipend and tuition waiver for that).
  4. Apr 27, 2010 #3
    We are pretty much in the same exact situation. I ended up majoring in Political Science even tho having 0 interest in it... mostly did it because i screwed up majorly first year due to lack of focus, etc. I've always had a strong interest in physics but finished out poly sci because I put the gut work into it and was almost done. I applied to law school and actually got into a top 20 law school, but soon after graduation I began to start thinking about going back to school for a bachelor's in physics. Thought about it for months, really long and really hard, and I actually got my law school admission deferred for a year, so now Im gonna enroll as a Physics major for a year, and if by the end of the year I don't think I should continue, then I will accept my law school admission. If I end up still loving physics by the end of the year I'll probably stick with it and then try for grad school.
  5. Apr 27, 2010 #4
    That's pretty ballin'.

    How long do you think it will take you to complete your second degree, if you don't mind me asking?
  6. Apr 27, 2010 #5

    Like you, I'd have all my gen ed and elective requirements done so I'd only take Physics classes. Since I'm gonna take Calc 2 and Physics I at a community college this summer, I think I could squeeze it into 4 semester, but each semester would be very difficult because it would be so jam-packed with hard physics and math classes. At most tho, it would take me 5 semesters, (2.5 years).
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