“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious.
If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”
― Carl Sagan, Cosmos
You are probably reading this because you are a cosmic sightseeing person, who often looks at those shiny objects at night and tries to decipher what could be their fate; who sometimes gets lost into the ambience of those dim lights, figuring out what those shapes predict for you. Maybe you are one of those trying to solve some hidden paradox in this world – where did life begun? What is up there in the darkness? Are we alone? Well, these perplex questions have a special charm – they make you more curious. And these day dreams appear more credible when watching any Sci-fi series (special mention: the cosmos) or reading about them. As you gently take the Brief history of time or any book of Richard Feynman in your hands, you experience blood gushing to your brain faster.
During my college years, I was deeply interested to learn about ‘Spacemicrobiology’ but had no such exposure about its career opportunities. The crux of the matter is most of us are often not aware about vast options in fields like Astrophysics, Astrobiology or Space Science-related streams – the only reason we do not have enough sources of information to talk about them.
This article sheds some light to help you find different study abroad options in the fields discussed, and where and how to apply for those programmes.
To begin with – masters in astrophysics requires you to have a bachelors in physics, mathematics, space science or, if possible, astrophysics. Your foundation of mathematics, physics and natural science should be strong and transparent. During your masters, you will be exposed to fields like calculus, cosmology, thermodynamics, scattering theory and environmental science.
Masters in Astrophysics:
For masters in Astrophysics, it is mandatory to have a thorough knowledge of the subject in your bachelors. Important criteria include a minimum GPA of 3.2, a crisp letter of recommendation and an outstanding GRE score. As a graduate student, you will be exposed to learn about data science, celestial navigation, modelling techniques, energy absorption and a lot more. Several universities abroad offer over 100 scholarships for masters in astrophysics or a related field.
University of Southampton
A 4-year degree programme offering MPhys with Astronomy; the module has been designed to give students an in-depth idea about the subject. It is a flagship programme of the University of Southampton, in UK, aimed at helping students to advance towards a PhD. Students will be offered an opportunity to work at Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston in their final year. The module comprises mathematical models, space science, quantum physics, stellar evolution and many more.
Students are required to have a first-class grade in bachelors and minimum IELTS score of 6.5 and TOEFL of 580 to apply. The tuition fee is nearly £ 9,000 per year for international students.
The University offers a 4-year full-time masters programme in Physics with Astrophysics, on campus. The course provides detailed knowledge on various fields like particle physics, mathematics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and solar physics. Minimum IELTS score of 6.0 is preferred for applying to the programme. The course fee is nearly £ 14,000 per year.
The Swansea University offers outstanding research-led programmes. It offers a 1-year, full-time programme of MSc in Research Theoretical Particle Physics. To apply for this programme, you need to acquire minimum IELTS score of 6.5 and TOEFL iBT of 88.
University of Sussex
The Astronomy Centre of the University of Sussex carries out cutting-edge research activities on the campus. The University offers a 1-year, full-time programme of MSc in Astronomy. The course involves a tuition fee of € 17850 per year for international students. Minimum requirements are an IELTS score of 6 and TOEFL of 88.
Iowa State University
The Iowa State University offers masters in Astrophysics which is a full-time postgraduate programme. The course involves a course fee of nearly $22,000 per year for international students.
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
The Twin Cities campus offers an MS in Astrophysics – a full-time degree programme. It costs nearly $24,000 per year for international students.
The Ohio University offers masters in Physics – Astrophysics and Cosmology which is a full-time programme. Please check the University website for details.
The University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia offers MPhys majoring in Astronomy and Astrophysics. This is a 2-year, full-time programme which involves a course fee of nearly $36,000 per year.
University of Central Lancashire
The University of Central Lancashire offers Astrophysics with MPhys, with a foundation year programme to help its students seek job opportunities immediately after completion of the course. This is a full-time degree programme. Please check the website for course fee details.
University of Kent
The University of Kent offers Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics MPhys. This is a full-time programme which costs nearly £ 15,380.00 per year for international students. It also offers physics with astrophysics. You can click here for more details.
Michigan State University
MSU offers a full-time; 30-credit hours programme of masters in Astrophysics and Astronomy.
Queen Mary University, London
QMUL offers MSc and MSci in Astrophysics, with fees ranging from £ 16,450.00 to £ 29,000.00 per year for international students. For details please visit the website.
Career options in Astrophysics:
As a graduate in Astrophysics, you can seek for an internship or work as a research assistant in laboratories or research centres. If you are lucky, you might grab an opportunity to work as a scientist or data analyst at any R&D laboratories.
NASA offers postdoctoral fellowships, for graduate students and PhD scientists. This programme involves working with NASA scientists and engineers on one- to three-year assignments, with a wide exposure to fields like Earth Science, Planetary Science, Astrophysics, Astrobiology and Science Management.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for physicists and astronomers are expected to increase by 10% by 2022. The BLS also reported that in May 2014, astronomers earned an average annual salary of $107,440, while physicists earned an average wage of $117,300.
This article does not cover all details about universities; to learn more you need to get in touch with our advisors or visit the university website where you wish to study.
Does this article give you an idea about studying masters in astrophysics? Do let us know!