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Study Astronomy

As a child, were you fascinated by the starry night sky? Have you ever wondered how the universe came into being? Studying Astronomy will not only help you satisfy your curiosity about the universe but also open up exciting career opportunities for you. 

$119,730

$119,730: average annual salary of astronomers

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Rank in the top 11% of careers for job satisfaction

$189,690

$189,690: average annual salary of top astronomers 

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23,300 astronomers and physicists to be employed in US by 2030 

Astronomy is one of the oldest natural sciences. It is the study of celestial bodies and phenomena. Astronomy applies principles of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and geology to understand the origin and evolution of the universe. Students learn about objects as colossal as galaxies and as small as neutrinos.

Aspiring astronomers learn what forces and energies enable the movement of heavenly bodies. They also develop observational skills and learn to theorise about the origin, nature and future of the cosmos.

  

Astronomy programmes consist of many mathematics and physics modules qualifying astronomy graduates to work on satellites, navigation systems, aerospace and transport systems. Astronomy graduates can apply their skill set to find occupations in astronomical observatories, planetariums, space programmes and agencies, aerospace industries, computer science and science journalism.

Some common course modules students can expect to study include cosmology, solar system, computational astrophysics, astronomical observation methodology, astrostatistics, electromagnetism, planetary physics and science communication.

Astronomy majors usually have a curious and inquisitive nature. You must have the same burning curiosity, for understanding the nature of the universe, to thrive in this field. Successful astronomers usually excelled in physics and mathematics early on and are able to quickly grasp abstract ideas.

  

Furthermore, analytical skills are indispensable if you want to succeed in the field of Astronomy. You should be able to analyse vast amounts of data and identify patterns. Patience is another required key trait due to the nature of the work: astronomers spend long hours making observations, analysing data and writing research papers.

  

Apart from these innate talents, students must cultivate two key skills to stand out among their peers. Firstly, they must be proficient in computer use. Astronomers must often run large amounts of numerical data to test their hypotheses. Data mining and statistical analysis of large data sets is not possible without computer proficiency. Secondly, astronomers must have enviable public speaking skills. Astronomers must often explain their findings to their peers and many astronomy occupations are based upon public speaking such as in science journalism or a planetarium. Students must avail the opportunities provided during their college life to practice their communication skills.

High levels of qualifications are needed to become an astronomer. The first step you can take in your journey to become a professional astronomer is to earn a bachelor’s degree in astronomy. During their bachelor’s students are taught the rudiments of observational and theoretical astronomy. A bachelor’s degree in Astronomy costs on average $53,420 per year in the US.

A master’s degree in Astronomy will allow you to focus on a branch of astronomy. During your master’s, you’ll learn professional observational techniques and research methodology. Students must conduct original research for their master’s thesis to obtain this degree.

   

A PhD degree in Astronomy will open a sea of opportunities for you. In fact, 91% of all astronomers are doctoral degree holders. A PhD degree focuses on research in a specific area of Astronomy such as galactic, cosmos, radio or solar astronomy. A PhD degree in Astronomy can take 4-5 years to complete.

  

Pop culture references in shows like the Big Bang Theory and movies like Don’t Look Up coupled with the internet attention amassed by astronomers such as Neil deGrasse Tyson has helped popularise Astronomy. To add to the mix, space exploration companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin is another reason for the emerging eminence of the field. This popularity has led to a sizeable increase in employment opportunities for Astronomers.

  

The high income and increasing employment opportunities make it a favourable field of study to pursue for the future.

  

Use your expertise or transferable skills to enter a range of different career paths related to Astronomy.

Science Journalist/ Science Writer

A solid foundation in science acquired during your astronomy degree will help you write high-quality science articles for various publications. Your work will allow the public to follow the progress in the field of science. Science writers frequently contact scientists for their expert opinions. Some science writers become editors in peer review science journals and help write research papers and grant proposals. The average annual income of a science writer is $80,621.

University Professor

Astronomy degree holders that are more academically inclined might pursue a career as a lecturer. In this role, you will teach astronomy related courses to students and help students conduct research. The average annual income for a university professor is $83,997.

Planetarium Director

Planetariums and planetary museums employ astronomers to manage the facility. Planetarium directors have strong interpersonal skills and industry connections. They oversee the day-to-day activities of a planetarium. The average annual income of a planetarium direction is $85,489.

  

Astrophysicist

Astrophysicists study the universe and associated phenomena from a physics framework. They try to understand the nature and properties of heavenly bodies. They research topics like dark matter, black holes, cosmic rays and general relativity. As an astrophysicist you will devise hypotheses and test their validity using the scientific method. You will also write and publish your finding in research journals. The average annual income for an astrophysicist is $119,580.

  

Top Astronomy courses

  • At University of Canterbury
    uni-location

    Nelson , New Zealand

    THE world university rank: 501

    school-outline-white

    Course qualification

    Postgraduate Diploma

    turn-around

    Entry score

    6.5

    Fees

    Total course fee

    MUR 945,744 ? NZD  38,400 Program fees are indicative only. Speak to your IDP study counsellor to get up-to-date course prices.

  • At University of Sussex
    uni-location

    Brighton , United Kingdom

    THE world university rank: 151

    school-outline-white

    Course qualification

    Masters Degree (Taught)

    turn-around

    Entry score

    6.0

    Fees

    Total course fee

    MUR 1,137,294 ? GBP  22,975 Program fees are indicative only. Speak to your IDP study counsellor to get up-to-date course prices.

  • At Western University
    uni-location

    London , Canada

    THE world university rank: 201

    school-outline-white

    Course qualification

    Masters Degree

    turn-around

    Entry score

    6.5

    Fees

    Total course fee

    MUR 1,097,786 ? CAD  37,968 Program fees are indicative only. Speak to your IDP study counsellor to get up-to-date course prices.

Top Universities to study Astronomy

Monash University

Monash University

THE ranking: 57

uni-location Australia

Macquarie University

Macquarie University

THE ranking: 192

uni-location Australia

The Australian National University

The Australian National University

THE ranking: 54

uni-location Australia

The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide

THE ranking: 111

uni-location Australia

Queensland University of Technology

Queensland University of Technology

THE ranking: 193

uni-location Australia

The University of Western Australia

The University of Western Australia

THE ranking: 132

uni-location Australia

The University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ)

The University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ)

THE ranking: 401

uni-location Australia

Ontario Tech University

Ontario Tech University

THE ranking: 601

uni-location Canada

University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo

THE ranking: 201

uni-location Canada

Carleton University

Carleton University

THE ranking: 601

uni-location Canada

McMaster University

McMaster University

THE ranking: 80

uni-location Canada

Saint Mary's University

Saint Mary's University

uni-location Canada

Queen's University

Queen's University

THE ranking: 251

uni-location Canada

University of Calgary

University of Calgary

THE ranking: 201

uni-location Canada

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia

THE ranking: 37

uni-location Canada

University of Manitoba

University of Manitoba

THE ranking: 301

uni-location Canada

University of Alberta

University of Alberta

THE ranking: 125

uni-location Canada

University of Victoria

University of Victoria

THE ranking: 301

uni-location Canada

Western University

Western University

THE ranking: 201

uni-location Canada

University of Toronto

University of Toronto

THE ranking: 18

uni-location Canada

University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury

THE ranking: 501

uni-location New Zealand

Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Holloway, University of London

THE ranking: 351

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Leicester

University of Leicester

THE ranking: 185

uni-location United Kingdom

Cardiff University

Cardiff University

THE ranking: 189

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Manchester

University of Manchester

THE ranking: 50

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Kent

University of Kent

THE ranking: 351

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Sheffield

University of Sheffield

THE ranking: 110

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Southampton

University of Southampton

THE ranking: 124

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

THE ranking: 30

uni-location United Kingdom

Durham University

Durham University

THE ranking: 162

uni-location United Kingdom

University of St Andrews

University of St Andrews

THE ranking: 201

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Liverpool

University of Liverpool

THE ranking: 178

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham

THE ranking: 141

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth

THE ranking: 501

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Hertfordshire

University of Hertfordshire

THE ranking: 601

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Sussex

University of Sussex

THE ranking: 151

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Lincoln

University of Lincoln

THE ranking: 501

uni-location United Kingdom

University of Dundee

University of Dundee

THE ranking: 201

uni-location United Kingdom

Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

THE ranking: 351

uni-location United Kingdom

University of York International Pathway College - Kaplan UK

University of York International Pathway College - Kaplan UK

uni-location United Kingdom

RMIT University

RMIT University

THE ranking: 301

uni-location Australia

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