Question: Forgive me for asking a question that I’m sure you’ve seen many times over. I’m interested in radio telescopes and a career with them(particularly the prospect of working with the Square Kilometer Array). I’ve been contemplating an undergrad in physics with a possible double with chemistry (looking to go to a local university as I cannot afford going out of state for a university with an actual undergrad in astronomy or astrophysics) and then working towards an astrophysics graduate degree out of state. I’m thirty one and considered a sophomore. I’m finishing up my year in general chemistry and looking into calculus and physics starting the fall. Is shooting for an astrophysics degree a good way to go or should I go for an astronomy degree?
I’m trying to reach out into the field to get a better understanding now so I can make the right decisions in my academics. Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you do respond, I greatly appreciate that you took the time to do so. – Jonathan
Answer: At the graduate school level the astronomy and astrophysics degrees are effectively the same thing. The difference is in name only. You should choose a graduate school based on other factors like the research programs offered rather than whether the graduate degree is in astronomy or astrophysics.