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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: average annual salary of astronomers

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

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Rank in the top 11% of careers for job satisfaction


$189,690: average annual salary of top astronomers 

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.



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.


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