Higher Education

A Career in Astrophysics: 5 Degrees for You to Consider

Space Shuttle

In today’s technologically advanced day and age, more people than ever before are interested in astrophysics. Whether you want to look at the night skies with an analytical mind or smash particles together at SERM to replicate the “Big Bang”, you should consider one or more of the following five degrees for a solid educational foundation.

Master’s Degree in Physics

The word “Astrophysics” implies that you will need a solid understanding of both the universe and of physics, so mastering in physics offers the perfect background. Physics gives you all of the science and math you need to succeed in your career. In fact, in many colleges and universities, you can declare an area of specialty for your master’s degree in physics – such as astronomy.

Master’s Degree in Engineering

Astrophysicists are also responsible for launching rockets and other crafts into outer space. In fact, without them, missions like Cassini-Huyens, which sent back astonishing images of Saturn and its moon, Titan, would have been impossible. Engineers learn how to design and build structures of all kinds, including spacecraft, to just the right specifications to survive the harsh environments of space. Many schools, such as Ohio University, offer a master’s of engineering management online, too.

Master’s Degree in Computer Science

In order to anticipate the conditions that might exist on other planets, astrophysicists run thousands upon thousands of simulations. This is especially important at SERM and LHC, where scientists smash particles together and then run computer programs to look for elusive particles that exist only for a fraction of a second. These computer programs are quite complex and require a great deal of coding knowledge. A master’s degree in computer science allows you to get a head start and even focus your career around this very important aspect of astrophysics.

Master’s Degree in Astronomy

When you master in astronomy, you get a more rounded education as it applies to the universe. In fact, astrophysics is only a part of astronomy as a whole. If you are more interested in the stars and planets than building spacecraft or smashing particles, then a degree in astronomy is a great choice. It provides a firm understanding of everything known about the universe to date, and it offers you the knowledge you need to create a few advanced theories of your own.

Master’s in Astrophysics

A degree in astrophysics is the most basic option for anyone who is not yet sure exactly what they want to do within their chosen careers. It gives you everything you need to enter almost any field or job in the industry, but it is a bit difficult to find. Very, very few schools offer degrees in astrophysics, so you may have to travel. Otherwise, any of the aforementioned degrees offers you a solid education based on your chosen focus area.

Like many careers, there are several degree options that are well-suited for astrophysics, but the one you should choose depends on the career path you want to take. Physics and engineering degrees offer a more mechanical background while astronomy teaches you more about the stars and the universe around us. Computer science is a great choice for those who want to run simulations and analyze data in the astrophysics field.

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Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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