Astrophysics Degree

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What is Astrophysics?

Astrophysics is the study of physics and how it relates to the universe through the observation of interactions between galaxies, planets, stars and other celestial object. Astrophysics is a branch of astronomy and applies various sciences in its research. Degrees are available from associate's level to PhD, and entry level work typically requires at least a bachelor's. Astrophysics studies may often be found in an institutions' astronomy or aerospace engineering programs, or as a sub-field of physics.

Top Astrophysics Colleges

Performing deep research on an astrophysics degree, you will quickly find a number of accredited colleges and universities offer a number of opportunities to consider.  While programs exist from certificate through PhD, the most common degree type for an astrophysicist major is a bachelor’s degree.  It may be a surprise to some, but the next most popular college degree in astrophysics is the doctoral program.

Courses in astrophysics may include:

  • Physics of Stars
  • Relativistic Astrophysics
  • Methods of Computational Science
  • Radiative Process
  • Cosmology and Galaxy Formation

What Will I Learn in an Astrophysics Degree Program?

In addition to general education courses and science-rich classes, the bulk of astrophysics degree programs will spend substantive time and energy focused on helping students understand the following:

  • Heavenly Bodies: These set of courses focus on planets, moon, sun, stars, galaxies, nebulae, cosmic microwave background, and extrasolar planets.
  • Properties of Heavenly Bodies: Classes in this cluster provide students with an understanding of temperature, lumosity, chemical composition, density, physical properties, and emissions of heavenly bodies.
  • Theoretical Astrophysics:  The core purpose of theoretical astrophysics is to gather data, create working models, and ascertain the observational consequences and quantifiable implications of that model.  Examples of widely studies theories in astrophysics include: wormholes, cosmic inflation, dark energy, black holes, and dark matter.
  • Observational Astrophysics: An observational model in astrophysics is the discipline of gathering data through neutrino, gravitational waves, and electromagnetic spectrum.  The most common method of data collection is through electromagnetic spectrum which includes sub-fields such as gamma ray, x-ray, optical, ultraviolet, radio, and infrared astronomy.

Employment and Income Outlook for an Astrophysicist

Astrophysicists typically find work in publicly funded research through educational institutions. Some industrial and private sector jobs are also available to astrophysicists. As with most science related careers; higher level degrees will open up more up opportunities and higher pay.  The job market for astrophysics is estimated to grow at 7% through 2024 and add around 1,500 new jobs during that time frame. The median income for astronomers and physicists is approximately $114,870 per year which translates to $55.23 per hour, with a lows ranging between of $46,000 and $57,000.  The average wage for astronomy and space scientists is approximately $131,000 per year.  Income will vary based on experience, education and funding available.

Individuals interested in a career in astrophysics may also wish to consider a degree in astronomy, physics or environmental science.

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Career Summary: Astrophysics Major




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