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Engineering Studying Astronomy after Engineering?

  1. May 10, 2009 #1
    Do you folks suppose its wise to get an Physics + Astronomy degree after engineering? Would it be a good career choice?

    I'm currently about to finish my first year in electronic engineering. Due to a lot of factors, I was unable to choose Astronomy when I enrolled. However, I've been interested in Astronomy ever since I can remember. I don't want to stop engineering and go study Astronomy, I honestly do enjoy what I'm doing... but just feel that I was born to do Astronomy.

    Opinions, advice?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2009 #2
    This is a fun predicament to experience. I am toying with the same notion as well, except I am in Mechanical Engineering then to Aero. I don't think having it on your resume would pose adverse consequences, but rather the opposite. The more certified knowledge you can present, the better. Maybe get a minor is Astro... This is what I am contimplating. But this is not only for my love of Astronomy, but it will be a golden ticket to have with an Aerospace degree. Another option would be listening to Astronomy lectures online to at least get a taste for whats to come. This is what I did anyway. If you type in Astronomy 161 & Astronomy 162 Ohio State to your preffered search engine, a great proffesor their has uploaded both of his sections on iTunes and such. I listened to them in my leisure as they were VERY informative, but not to heavy on math. At any rate check them out or not, I wish you luck in your career.

  4. May 12, 2009 #3
    If you can, you should see if you can participate in some REUs. The UT Austin REU for the McDonald Observatory is a great place to get a feel for what astronomy/astrophysicists might do in the real world, as you will be living with them, working with them, and learning various skills/information as you go along. Great experience.
  5. May 27, 2009 #4
    Keep up your interest by reading and get into REUs if possible. Your education in electronics will be an asset if you intend to work in radio astronomy or any other form of experimental astronomy. And it will not hurt if you want to get into theory, since a lot of astronomical data analysis will draw on some of the things you learn in electronics engineering. Finally, it is certainly not unwise.

    (If you're worried about future prospects, there will be many, and frankly, even if you don't intend to be in a scientific establishment eventually, it doesn't hurt your job prospects by having an extra specialization.)

    PS -- Look at things like the LIGO program as well.
  6. Jul 20, 2009 #5
    I'm a undergrad student in India, and I'm in the exact same spot- considering an astronomy degree for postgraduation while studying to be an electronics engineer. Could someone suggest REU programs similar to the one at McDonald Univ, which accepts international students as well? Thanks a lot in advance.
  7. Jul 20, 2009 #6
    Maverick whats your justification for saying there are many opportunities? I took an MSc in astronomy and had to move into computing research through lack of opportunities. The guy on the desk next to me had performed research with the astronomer royal and still had to look elsewhere! The research fellows I talked to while doing my MSc (with first class degrees and PhDs from oxbridge) were having great difficulty finding anything -- in fact i only know one who ended up in astronomy -- and he was a really smooth political operator. The main lecturer on my MSc left the field, the only way he could find advancement was to become a nuclear safety officer. I don't know any guys who took the MSc who ended up in Astronomy. I recommend keeping it as a hobby and finding a lucrative job in Engineering rather than do an MSc in Astronomy. (The MSc course wasn't great shakes either! Almost destroyed my interest in the subject.)
  8. Jul 20, 2009 #7
    i'd still like to test the waters by being part of a short term research program, and would appreciate information regarding the same.
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