View Full Version : I need help deciding....

2007-Feb-15, 11:25 PM
What to go to college for. I read Phil's page on becoming an astronomer. I really want to do something w/ research and astronomy, but Phil said that the chances of getting a good job is very slim, and that his friends that he graduated w/ ended up working w/ computers. I don't want to work w/ computers, I want to work w/ the universe. What courses should I take and what do you think is a good career path in astronomy??
This well really help me a lot. Thanks in advance,

2007-Feb-15, 11:40 PM
what have you got against the word 'with'?


2007-Feb-15, 11:43 PM
ohhh, its a long story, but one time, as a youngster, I was playing wit...wit.... oh i just cant do it.:boohoo:

2007-Feb-16, 01:39 AM

2007-Feb-16, 02:33 AM
I have two pieces of advice. First, selecting something is hard, but you have to just do it. Don't spend too much time on it. You can usually change your major during your program anyway. I used the random method, in which I flipped open the university calendar and selected at random. After rejecting the first choice (women's studies), I ended up with something I liked. I wasn't totally happy, but realised I never would be.

Picking my master's degree was easier: I just kept on going with something I had been doing on my own time anyway (but now I'm getting a piece of paper for it). I had lots of other choices and interests, but there's plenty of time for those.

Second piece of advice is do what you love. Don't worry too much about getting a job. That way leads to disappointment, and if you end up in a job you don't like, you'll probably leave it and end up back in school anyway. If you're that interested in astronomy, do it. There is a caveat, though: any science you go into will require the use of computers. So if you're really against them, take art and paint nebulae or something, but of course learn the astronomy on your own time.

2007-Feb-16, 03:18 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love computers and I made my own. I'm not against computers, what I meant was that I didn't want to become something like a programmer or anything.

Thanks for the advice.

2007-Feb-16, 02:29 PM
Go for what you want and make your mark. What law is preventing you from becoming one of the select few? Astronomy could become a secondary field, accompanying your career as an astronomy professor or something to that effect. Perhaps you can work for SETI. Most of the time circumstances change our course anyway. How many times have you ended your day thinking, "Gee of all the courses I thought today would have taken..."?

2007-Feb-16, 03:10 PM
Yeah, that's a good point closetgeek, thanks for your advice.

Amber Robot
2007-Feb-16, 08:00 PM
Well, if you want to be a professional astronomer you have to have a Ph.D. in Astronomy or Physics. If you are just entering college now, the best thing you can major in is most probably Physics. Some might recommend an Astronomy major, but you'll have more breadth and a more solid physics background if you major in Physics. It will also give you a chance to decide to do something other than Astronomy should your interest waver. You can pick up a lot of the astronomy later.

2007-Feb-17, 01:35 AM
Thanks Amber Robot.
I found a thread that helped me out alot, along with this one, so there's no need to post anymore advice people. Thanks a lot

2007-Feb-17, 11:27 PM
I was told that all those with astrophysics degrees went to work for financial firms in the City, because the maths of speculation are so fierce now that only they can handle them!
With an astronomy degree and no PhD, you could become lead guitarist for Queen.