wiak2 wrote:And like I said, I'd recommend appying to many Physics programs as well, as they can often times be larger and less competitive (admitting say 30 students opposed to 5) and yet you can still work with professors in the Astronomy departments.
This was what I was initially considering, but it doesn't sound like a surefire way of getting to do any of the research areas I like (or getting admitted if I'm honest about my research interests). Can you get to work with profs in astro departments... and still get funding?
I don't want to risk getting stuck doing something I don't like, and my least favorite area of astrophysics is cosmology which the closest thing to astro that most pure physics departments seem to work in (I do like fluids/mhd and numerical relativity very much though, and all the traditional areas in astronomy like stellar physics, which I am dying to take courses in).
Another thing that turns me off of is the coursework requirement for most physics grad programs... coming from my country's educational system I've already had my share of solid state, Kubo statmech, Cohen's quantum and Goldstein/Landau mechanics(last two, a year's worth) and really don't feel like taking all that over again (I'll do anything to take a pure course in electrodynamics though!)