Undergrad Major for Astrophysics?

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Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:09 am

Undergrad Major for Astrophysics?

Post by markl » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:37 pm

Finally I am almost done with my lower level undergraduate work, finishing up the calculus sequence and physics this semester along with linear algebra. As people who have read my thread before know I very nonplussed with my current schoo. I think I am indeed transferring after figuring out there was another public university close by that has some good majors but I really need help deciding what to spend my last 2 years in college studying, I'm pretty much equidistant in time from all the majors I am interested in after this semester so here is the score:

Goal: Graduate program in astrophysics, particularly interested in extrasolar planets and star systems, would like to emphasis computational techniques in my grad work

Option 1: Major in Applied Computational Maths at school A, which is about a 45 minute commute. They have Ph.D. in Computational Maths at this school so I figure it might be feasible to get some research under my belt, but my physics would be weak comparatively, and they offer nearly nothing in Astro.

Option 2: Physics at school A. Just a regular general physics program, there research areas are completely orthogonal to my interests so I don't know if I have much of chance to do anything relevant. But perhaps there would be some research possible, in some other area of physics. Again, no astro classes.

Option 3: Astrophysics at school B, which is a large major public research university. If I could get in, I think I have a good shot, tons of cool classes, research in my fields of interests,etc. Clearly my heart is with this option but the school is far away, 2 hours, I am pretty tied to my current area for various reasons, not the least of which is my gf is still in school out here and we live together. If I did get in I don't know if I could make it happen, I don't know how much I'd be will to give up.

So which is the best option? Is option 3 >> options 1&2 that if I got in I'd HAVE to take it? What are my chances of doing astro with options 1&2?

Posts: 249
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:34 am

Re: Undergrad Major for Astrophysics?

Post by nathan12343 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:59 pm

You certainly wouldn't have to take that opportunity, but it probably owuld help you out a little bit come graduate admissions, particularly if you end up doing research in the area you want to persue in grad school.

As for the school A options, I'd suggest Majroing in physics or double majoring in physics and computational math. You really need to get the physics under your belt far more than you need the programming and mathematics.

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