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Astrophysics or physics


maohq
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 Status: two offers received only. One from Virginia Tech(Physics&Astronomy), one from UMN(Astrophysics Program)

             UMN(Physics Program) waitlist 

Questions(problems): which should I choose?  I want to stay in academia after my PHD(or postdoc) :o

                 I am interested in astrophysics but kind of don't want to narrow my future choice by accepting the offer(Astrophysics) from                        UMN. That's why I still hope to get off the waitlist. :o

                 Currently interested in math/statistics and have maths as minor, is it possible,double major or continuation of my minor in                         graduate study? So I would have more alternatives if I can't get a position in (astro)physics. :o

   

Do you have any advice regarding my situation and knowledge of porgrams and schools above?

UMN or VT?Astrophysics or physics(waiting for good news)?Stay focused in physics or planning for more options?

 

Thanks for your opinion/advice/comments, anything! :unsure:

 

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What is it that you want out of astro? The research topic will be a major decisional factor.

 

You do know that observational astro is heavy-laden with statistics and computing; sometimes industries that really want data scientists will turn to astronomers, so you're not out of post-graduation options.

 

The point of a PhD is to train independent researchers in a given area, and for that, you need to become an expert in a rather narrow area within your field; I feel that something is not right with how you approach a PhD process.

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What is it that you want out of astro? The research topic will be a major decisional factor.

 

You do know that observational astro is heavy-laden with statistics and computing; sometimes industries that really want data scientists will turn to astronomers, so you're not out of post-graduation options.

 

The point of a PhD is to train independent researchers in a given area, and for that, you need to become an expert in a rather narrow area within your field; I feel that something is not right with how you approach a PhD process.

I want to do physics as long as I can definitely.Here is the case. I prefer (fundamental)theory over experiment, expecting to learn more in gradschool. That partly explains I minor in maths. My current interest lies astrophysics(not inclined toward the observational). And Physics Program allows more branches of researches while Astro. Program requires related researches and excludes courses not related to astro. I have confirmed this from one prof. in the dept. I think maybe I could learn more about different fields before PHD qualification exam and then make a better choice. So I got stuck. Anyway, thanks for your opinion.

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You will have to commit to one of VA Tech or Minnesota astro before April 15 but if you get into Minnesota physics off the waitlist after April 15, ask for a written release from the one you committed to.

 

Minnesota is more geared towards the observational; theory is mostly particle-based (Qian, Olive, Peloso, Ghergetta) and there is also Tom Jones, who is more computation-intensive but theoretical nonetheless.

 

I hope you are not opposed to returning home after your PhD to teach physics on some level (and hopefully with the possibility of taking on a graduate student of your own)...

Edited by Catria
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