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To become an astrophysicist

  1. Jul 1, 2011 #1
    To become a very successful astrophysicist, what do I have to accomplish in degrees wise? I want to get a PhB in physics and maths (which you need 98.5% or higher in both subjects throughout college). Do I have to study every night for maths and physics (I usually study every night except Friday, which is my brake night)? Do I have to go to a really good university and get a PhD and masters? What are some good jobs I can go into as a theoretical astrophysicist? What should my marks be in maths, physics, and chemistry throughout college? What degrees should I get?

    I'm no high IQ, genius, gifted child, my mum is tho - But is it needed?

    I'm 14, top 10 students in my year at maths, and go to Australian National University every Friday to study maths. (Just to give you a reasonable view on my level). I'm currently studying trigonometry at school. (In year 9).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2011 #2


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    Gold Member

    First step is to chill out. Just do well in your math and science courses. I don't know what you're talking about when you say you need a 98.5% or higher throughout college. Where did you get that idea?

    You also don't have to go to the best universities to become an astrophysicist. It's nice if you do but you can come to that when the time comes. The thing you need to do is just do well in your classes right now, advance your knowledge in math and physics on the side, and most importantly, don't go crazy studying and burn out. Getting a PhD in astrophysics isn't solely for those who have foregone all rational study habits and tossed the idea of having a social life.

    Also, ditch the IQ/gifted/genius nonsense. In my opinion, most people are mentally capable of getting a phd. The reason very few do is because it is a TON of work spanning many many years and the reward at the end is getting to do more and more work for the rest of your life.
  4. Jul 1, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the information!
    The course (PhB) is needed a score of 98.5% or greater to be able to do it.
  5. Jul 1, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    This is the first time I've encountered the PhB degree. It looks like a new thing in Australia, part of a major reform of the university curriculum:

    Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) (ANU)

    UWA, Sydney plan revamp as unis gear up for 2012 reform (The Australian)

  6. Jul 1, 2011 #5
  7. Jul 1, 2011 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    I have no idea what a 99 means in practice in your situation, because I don't know how Australian grading scales compare to US grading scales. Hopefully someone else from Australia will chime in here.
  8. Jul 1, 2011 #7
    That would require scoring, as a minimum, in the top 1% of all people in your year level, although I would expect that generally the entry requirements would be higher. This generally requires A+/HDs in all your subjects.

    You don't have to go to ANU, any GO8 would be decent, but ANU is probably the best option. Why are you so fixated on entering the PhB? You can become an astrophysicist by completing a BSc/BSc(Adv). If you really feel the need to enter the PhB, it might be a good idea to consider applying to other universities, such as http://www.monash.edu/study/coursefinder/course/1120" [Broken], who offer similar programs, as a backup.

    You don't need a Masters degree. In Australia, the general course progression is: BSc->Honours->PhD. Note that generally you need a HD average in your final year subjects to enter honours and a H1 in honours to secure a PhD scholarship.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  9. Jul 1, 2011 #8
    Okay thanks for the information - I'm fixed on the PhB so it can be a great success for me, and self-confidence, and also it is apart of research, which will help in job applications.

    I will consider Monash, my mother went there.

    But yes I will also consider a BSc - What is the difference between a BSc and a Bsc(Adv)?

    Thanks so much! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Jul 1, 2011 #9
    There isn't much difference between a BSc and BSc(Adv). The advanced program is more restrictive than the standard BSc. You are required to maintain a minimum mark of 75% each semester ,otherwise you will be transferred to the BSc, you have to complete subjects at the honours pathway level(advanced subjects), two majors and an honours year. In comparison the BSc has more flexibility in what subjects you can choose.

    As a current Monash student(soon to be ex), I found the lower level courses(first and second year) in math,astrophysics and physics (but not physics at first year) to be too easy. This may have changed since the introduction of the advanced level mathematics courses which are supposed to be more theoretical. From what I've heard of ANU, the courses there are very challenging.

    Also AFAIK, Monash and ANU are the only two universities that offer a full honours year in astrophysics. Most other universities only offer one or two subjects in astrophysics in their physics honours. One last thing I should add is that both universities require you complete a major in maths or physics alongside your astrophysics major as well as some programming units.
  11. Jul 1, 2011 #10
    So you are saying do the PhB if I can at ANU, or go to ANU for BSc? Because that seems to be the best for me in the future :)
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  12. Jul 2, 2011 #11
    Yeah, go for the PhB if you can since that gives you the most research opportunities and if you can't get in then go for the BSc/BSc(Adv).
  13. Jul 2, 2011 #12
    Sweet, cheers mate ! :)
  14. Jul 4, 2011 #13
    I'm also wondering, I sometimes don't understand some things in maths but eventually get them - Is that a bad thing?

    I sort of get annoyed also by my friend who is really smart, never misunderstands anything, don't get me wrong he's a really good friend of mine. But I don't like it how he's just really smart. Is this bad?
  15. Jul 6, 2011 #14
    Not at all. If you don't understand something, just ask someone who does. I find that other students and tutors can explain a concept just as well as the lecturer. It only becomes a problem if you don't seek help when you need it and the newer material builds on concepts you don't understand.

    You'll find in uni there will be people who perform better than you. As long as you don't let it get to you, it's not bad thing. In fact in my experience its great to be friends with someone who understands everything. Not only can they be a great resource but it motivates me to work harder to keep up with them.
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