Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses Want to do spacecraft propulsion R&D but love astrophysics

  1. Sep 30, 2017 #1
    I've always been fascinated with space and space travel and want to see humanity advance in that area. I've always thought the best way for me to contribute is to work in research and development for propulsion systems (which I'm interested in), however, my main passion in physics is astrophysics/cosmology.

    I'm trying to choose between:
    • Doing a research BSc. (or PhB) in plasma physics.
    • Doing a dual engineering/physics BSc.
    These two will obviously be much more applicable to propulsion systems. Or:
    • Doing a research BSc. in astrophysics.
    Which won't be applicable to propulsion but is where my main interests in physics lie.

    I really would like to have a career in propulsion, but I'm not quite as interested in plasma/ion physics (though definitely not uninterested) as astrophysics. Does it really matter at this stage?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2017 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    There are a lot of plasmas in the universe. Most of the visible matter is a plasma.
  4. Sep 30, 2017 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Undergraduate degrees generally aren't (and shouldn't be) that specialized.

    If you're at the stage of the game where you're finishing high school and trying to figure out what path to take for your post-secondary education, probably the biggest choice that you have is whether to enrol in a physics program or an engineering program. There are advantages and disadvantages to each route and its important to realize that both careers, i.e. a professional astrophysicist or an engineer who works on propulsion systems for spacecraft, are very rare. So it's probably more important to think in terms of the skill sets that you want to develop, the types of problems you want to work on, and the professional credentials that you'll graduate with.
  5. Sep 30, 2017 #4

    I see, that makes sense. I definitely prefer physics over engineering.
  6. Nov 21, 2017 #5
    I can totally relate with ur interests, I'm in my 3rd year of integrated master's and I'm really happy for taking physics. No regrets at all :) I shall soon get started in my project on plasma thrusters. Happy times!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted