Education

Can You Major In Astronomy

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

To get a master’s degree in astronomy, you’ll need to take a bachelor’s degree major in the field first.

You may not have realized that picking a minor as well as a major will aid you in your future studies and job.

As a general rule, minors need 18 to 30 credits, or five to ten courses, in a field that isn’t part of their major. 

In addition to your major, which will take up most of your time in college, pursuing a minor will allow you to broaden your knowledge in a different subject area than your primary one.

Minors in physics, mathematics, statistics, chemistry, biology or any other area of study are all viable options for aspiring astronomers.

Physics

In terms of your astronomy major, physics is the most relevant field of study. A minor in physics can meet the requirements for a master’s in astronomy program, despite the fact that students are encouraged to complete a bachelor’s degree in either astronomy or physics.

Students who choose to pursue a physics minor can select from a wide range of topics in beginning courses, including mechanics, electricity, magnetism, fluid mechanics, waves, and optics.

You shouldn’t be shocked if your minor includes a course or series on current or contemporary physics as well.

Some colleges don’t allow astronomy majors to minor in physics since the coursework is too comparable.

Statistical or Mathematical

Mathematical computations may be required in subjects like physics and astronomy. A strong mathematical foundation is always beneficial if you plan to work in the sciences.

As a minor in mathematics, you may expect to study the whole calculus curriculum. 

Since astronomy majors frequently have to take Calculus I, II, and III, this requirement may not significantly alter your plan of study.

Number theory, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and general algebra are some of the fields of mathematics in which you might take additional minor courses.

Alternatively, you may minor in statistics, a branch of mathematics that uses quantitative methods to analyze and interpret data relevant to real-world situations.

Introduction to probability and statistics as well as a sequence of lectures on statistical methods for data analysis may be required as a minor, along with optional courses in probability and numerical analysis.

As a result, if you want to minor in statistics, you’ll need to be comfortable dealing with computers and maybe take a course in computer coding using a language like R, SQL, or Python.

Biology or Chemistry

You’re confident in your knowledge of science, but you’d like to broaden your horizons. Taking a minor in chemistry or biology, two of the most important natural sciences may be enough to get you through.

In chemistry, we study the characteristics, interactions, and processes involving chemical substances. The scientific study of living beings is known as biology.

It’s possible to minor in chemistry by taking general, biochemical, and other optional chemistry courses.

Genetics and microbial science are likely to be included in a minor in biology, along with other electives in fields such as cellular and population biology, as well as interdisciplinary themes in biology.

Astronomers can integrate astronomy with other fields of research in specialties like astrochemistry and astrobiology.

A subject of interest

In order to ensure that you’re prepared for graduate studies in astronomy, you don’t need a specialized minor.

Getting a master’s degree in astronomy or physics shouldn’t be too difficult if you have a solid foundation in these subjects from your undergraduate studies.

Do not be hesitant to use your optional classes to pursue a minor in an area that interests you, even if it has nothing to do with astronomy.

If your major is already in an area that can benefit your job, there’s no harm in adding a minor to broaden your horizons and learn more about a different aspect of yourself.

In certain situations, obtaining a minor that isn’t directly related to astronomy might be beneficial to your professional future.

Reading and writing abilities can be honed by pursuing a degree in English, literature, or creative writing.

Working in the industry rather than conducting academic research might benefit from having a background in business or management. 

Taking a minor in a foreign language to become multilingual might help you land a job and connect with scientists from other countries.

As a minor in psychology, sociology, or anthropology, it is possible to better comprehend and respond to the ideas, fears, and actions of individuals, groups, and even entire civilizations. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for an industrial position or writing a grant proposal; this understanding of people is useful in both your professional and personal life.

While it’s easy to discount the value of interpersonal, group, and leadership abilities in the eyes of non-scientists, the American Chemical Society found that scientists who had achieved success in their fields also have these non-technical talents.

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