Useful Degrees Series: Astronomy Degree Program at the University of Texas at Austin

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Have you always been fascinated by space travel, the stars or astronomy?  There are college programs designed specifically for just such interests.  Take, for example, the Undergraduate program in Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin.  This program is one of the top astronomy programs in the United States and selects only a relatively small number of students for the program.  The University of Texas at Austin offers both a Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy as well as a Bachelor of Science in Astronomy.

What does this kind of degree program involve? The undergraduate degree program in Astronomy at The University of Texas at Austin introduces students to the field in a variety of forms ranging from conducting research to attending lectures from some of the world’s top astronomers.  Is the program tough?  No doubt this one is demanding, as there is an ample helping of physics with everything from cosmology and thermodynamics to astrophysics and quantum mechanics being covered.  So if “math” isn’t your “thing,” this one isn’t for you.  But if you want a challenge and want to be part of the cutting edge of science, then the Astronomy program at The University of Texas at Austin could be a great fit.

Those interested in this unique program can also work towards double majors such as a major in astronomy and physics.  Having a double major of this type could prove invaluable for those looking to continue their education.

Do you like the idea of a low student-to-teacher ratio?  It should be noted that the faculty-to-student ratio for this program is nothing short of excellent. As of 2011, there were 22 faculty members and 17 research scientists for 45 graduate students and 60 undergraduate students.  In short, you can fully expect to get to know your professors and receive a very hands on and detailed education in the field.

What career opportunities should you expect once you’ve completed your degree?  Many who receive an undergraduate degree in astronomy continue their studies at the graduate level while others take positions in government, industry, education and even journalism.  After all, someone has to report on all of that exciting space related news.  This means that the world needs science writers, and a degree in astronomy could open up all kinds of science writing opportunities.

It should be noted that as more advanced space based telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope are deployed the importance of astronomers is likely to only increase.  In the coming years, our picture of the universe will become far more complete.  Many top researchers believe that with the vast amounts of new information coming our way, it is only a matter of time before life on other planets will be discovered.  It is quite likely that the coming decades will be, by far, the most exciting time in the history of astronomy, as mankind may learn that we are not alone.  With a degree in astronomy, you could have a great seat for what might just be the greatest show in history!

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