Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

semanski1934
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:22 pm

Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

Postby semanski1934 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:32 pm

I just graduated with a bachelor degree in music, but I am not sure what I would like to do for a career. I have many interests, astrophysics being one of them. I am wondering what I would have to do to go to grad school for astrophysics based on my current level of experience with physics.

semanski1934
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

Postby semanski1934 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:45 pm

Will I need a second Bachelor degree or do I have a chance of acceptance if I get a good Physics GRE score?

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

Postby TakeruK » Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:31 pm

Whether you need a second degree or not depends on what you mean by "current level of experience with physics". There are many people who enter PhD programs in astronomy or astrophysics with degrees other than a BS or BSc. But these people would have taken the same courses (as electives) as those with science degrees.

For an astronomy or astrophysics PhD, most people enter with an astronomy or physics undergraduate degree. An astronomy undergraduate degree is very similar to a physics degree. I think if you want to be eligible for PhD programs in astrophysics or astronomy, you should look up the physics degree requirements for your school and see if you took enough of these math and physics courses. Note that physics degrees tend to have a lot of required math and physics courses!

You say that you already graduated. If you have most of your physics requirements met (i.e. less than one year's worth of courses left), then perhaps you would be able to take these remaining courses as an unclassified student at your current school? If you do this and do the Physics GRE, you should be eligible for most programs.

However, if you only have a few physics courses completed, I think a second Bachelors degree is a good idea. Some schools will allow you to complete a second degree in just 2-3 years because they will allow you to waive all your breadth requirements/electives since you have a BMus from the same school already.

Also--physics is not the only route to astronomy/astrophysics. I don't know about the other routes as much because I didn't go that way, but I've met some people who enter astronomy with Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, or electrical engineering degrees. Of course, these people would be entering specific subfields of astronomy or astrophysics related to their background. And they would all have some basic physics and math courses (they would still need to be able to complete graduate level astronomy/astrophysics courses).

semanski1934
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

Postby semanski1934 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:25 pm

Thank you for your reply! I do not have any college credits in physics. The last time I took a science class was in my Senior year of high school, though I was in a program called Runnig Start so I took science classes at a community college. I would prefer to not to have to get a second bachelor degree but I understand that if I pursues this field of study I may have to.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

Postby TakeruK » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:19 pm

Unfortunately, in this case, you will almost certainly have to take a second bachelors degree in order to qualify for graduate studies in astronomy or astrophysics. I apologize if this comment will sound a little snobby, but I think it is hard to know that graduate studies in astronomy/astrophysics is something you enjoy without either experience doing upper level coursework in physics and astronomy or experience on such a research project. I say this because I've met many students who like the idea of astronomy but the way astronomy/astrophysics is portrayed in popular culture is very different from actual work as an astronomer!

So, if you are interested in graduate studies in astronomy, I would highly recommend doing a second bachelors not only for your grad school applications but for yourself! I personally didn't know that I wanted to be in an astrophysics graduate program until partway through my 3rd year of my undergrad degree.

As I said above, maybe you can finish this in less than 4 years if your undergrad institution lets you double count some of your courses towards the elective credits in your second degree. But given that in many schools, physics courses are not very large and might not be offered every year (and that you often need to take them in a certain order), and given the number of courses you have to take if your last experience with the material was high school, I would expect it to take at least 3 years.

semanski1934
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: Undergrad in Music - Considering Pursuing Astrophysics

Postby semanski1934 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:17 pm

Thanks! This does not sound snobby at all. I will take into account everything you have said while I decide what to pursue.




Return to “Transitioning to Physics from a non-physics field”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest