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Physics Which is the main difference between Space physics and astrophysics?

  1. Aug 25, 2012 #1
    I'm on my senior year still trying to define what career am I going to choose. So I was filling up my applications but some schools don't offer astrophysics(which is the one i wanted to choose), but instead they offered space physics, so i want to know which is the difference between this two,

    Thanks in advance,
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2012 #2


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    It really depends on the school. What do you plan to do with that degree? Most jobs in the field require a PhD in astronomy, astrophysics, or physics, and if that's what you want to earn eventually, you'll need to major in physics.
  4. Aug 26, 2012 #3
    Are we talking about graduate school or are you in highschool? If it's the latter, then as eri said, a degree in physics will give you the necessary background.

    If it's graduate school we're talking about, I've seen the "space physics" label thrown around quite a bit on a few department sites like UNH and it seems to refer to plasma/magnetospheric, particle astrophysics, and solar/heliospheric physics.
  5. Aug 27, 2012 #4
    Yes, i'm a high school senior. In long vision I plan to work for a phd in astrophysics, but right now, should I study apply to a university with B.S. in Physics, physics with focus on astrophysics or astronomy?

    Physics with Specialization in Astrophysics (B.S.) in UCSD
    Physics at UC Berkeley
    Astronomy at UC Berkeley
    Any other recommendations, preferrable in California but will check on any. I Dream of getting into Califonia Institute of Technology, but they're very selective and I want to keep my feet on the ground ( nonetheless i'll submit an application :) )
  6. Aug 27, 2012 #5
    I recommend getting your degree in physics. 'Regular' physics. Your focus or minor wont matter that much. All that amounts to is a few extra classes. If you want to do astro, do astro research as an undergrad. That is going to help you more than any focus or minor, IMO.
  7. Aug 28, 2012 #6
    I second the recommendation for getting your B.S. in "regular" physics. Typically, there's no need to specialize until you get to grad. school. Also, you should try not to pigeon hole yourself until you've at least had a sampling of all of the various flavors of physics so that you have a better idea of what you might like to specialize in.
  8. Aug 28, 2012 #7
    I echo the last two posts. I went into "regular physics" because I really want to do a phd in astrophysics/astronomy/related subjects and I have no regrets or feelings that I should be doing a more specialized undergraduate degree... and I've only just had my first dedicated astrophysics course in my 3rd year.
  9. Aug 28, 2012 #8
    Thanks for your replies it is really helpful to find people who shares their experimces.
    Thanks a lot
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