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Physics What should I do? [What are my chances in astrophysics?]

  1. Sep 15, 2012 #1
    I am a freshman in Physics here in Portugal. I have a career in front of me and I don’t want to waste it.
    I wanted to do my master’s degree in Astrophysics if possible and a PhD in a very good university out of Portugal.
    With all the respect, could I ask what are the requirements for a Astrophysicist to work in NASA or in another very good institution?
    I have several years of study and I want to prepare myself well enough so I can work in a very good institution (p.e. NASA).
    Being what it is (a very very good working place and one of the best in the entire world) what else can I do besides studying to gain enough experience?
    Thank you for your attention,
    Jorge Silva
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2012 #2
    Re: What should I do?

    Take a look at postdocs and job opportunities that are available at NASA to get an idea of what they study. Find something that interests you and go in that direction. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will still be interested in that topic once you've finished your education, and even if so there is no guarantee they will have any openings in that area. But that is as good a place to start as any.
  4. Sep 16, 2012 #3


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    NASA is a US government agency; they hire very few foreigners. To get a permanent job at NASA (civil servant) as a foreigner, they basically need to make a case for why no one in the US can do what you do. So you need to be very specialized as well as being very good at what you do, and be useful to them in some way. It's easier (although not much easier) to get a postdoc as a foreign applicant, but that's only a 2-3 year position.
  5. Sep 16, 2012 #4
    Thank you all, I will keep searching.
  6. Sep 20, 2012 #5
    I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but astro jobs are hard to come by. I have friends with Astro PhDs from Harvard, Berkeley, etc., who can't find permanent positions.
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