Not only is astronomy considered to be one of the most cutting-edge fields currently available to postgrad students, but the sheer variety of postgraduate courses is impressive (as are the number of universities which offer degrees). One of the primary reasons for this is that astronomy is progressing at a breakneck pace in terms of discoveries and new perspectives. There are many who will therefore choose a specialised degree within a very specific area. But what are some discrete fields worth a closer look, and how can you make the most appropriate choices when the time is right?
Governmental Research Organisations
One of the benefits of working within the governmental sector is that such positions tend to be secure and financially stable. For example, one can opt to travel to the United States and apply with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) in the future or stay closer to home and seek employment through the European Space Agency (ESA). Some roles will include (but are absolutely not limited to):
- Rocketry design and maintenance
- The remote servicing of satellites and other vehicles
- Collating and interpreting space-related data
One great way to learn more about these unique opportunities is to join podcasts, webinars and other forms of online distance learning resources . Let us never forget that this very same material can likewise be cited as references for future postgraduate research projects.
Another incredibly interesting field which falls within the realm of a postgraduate degree in astronomy is cosmology. These studies centre around the origins of the universe as well as its dynamic structure. Cosmology is rapidly evolving, for what may appear to be true today could very well be proven wrong tomorrow. This is an excellent idea for those who are interested in a malleable and highly advanced area of astronomy.
Those who are keen on discovering new planets far outside of the existing solar system are likely to find planetary science a worthwhile endeavour. This field involves understanding how planets form, interpreting their chemical constituents and (potentially) uncovering other earth-like bodies in the heavens.
Astrophysics is another intriguing area to keep in mind. This field involves understanding how the forces of the universe (such as gravity, light, matter and time) interact with one another. As astrophysics tends to comprise numerous other discrete sciences, it is normally wise to have a robust background in chemistry and general physics before applying.
Unique Universities for Unique Interests
Ultimately, obtaining a postgraduate qualification in any of these sectors requires time and a solid work ethic. We should also point out that a number of universities throughout the United Kingdom offer their own areas of expertise. As these fields will understandably vary, it is wise to begin the search for a specific postgraduate degree well in advance. UK universities that offer postgrad programs in the field of astronomy include Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol, Southampton, Queen Mary University of London, Manchester and Sussex. With a bit of foresight and by appreciating the variety postgraduate degrees in astronomy, an interesting and rewarding career can quickly become a reality.