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Anyone here major in astronomy?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by surgeon_hopeful, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. surgeon_hopeful

    surgeon_hopeful New Member
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    Hey,

    I'm a junior in hs and I somehow have an affinity to astronomy. I've always liked learning about the planets and stuff, and was wondering if any of you guys majored/are majoring in it. I was wondering about a couple of things:

    1. Is it really hard? I'm planning on majoring in econ and/or astronomy, and I was wondering if just doing astronomy alone is tough and then double majoring along with premed pre-reqs would then be suicide.

    2. Do you think it preps you for the MCATs?

    thanks
     
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  3. BlackSails

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    I have no idea how hard it is. I suspect it is not one of the harder things you can major in though.

    No. Afaik, there is no astronomy on the MCAT. However, as long as you take the premed reqs, you will have the classes for the MCAT
     
  4. karmega5

    karmega5 MS2
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    I'm taking a couple astronomy classes right now (and avoiding work for them on SDN). The material is excellent, but for me, no major, since my school only offers a physics degree with an astronomy focus. Check into your school's requirements (I suspect there is a lot of variation)- there may be a LOT of upper division physics required for the major- things like quantum mechanics and equally scary things. For me, it would be too much, but I'm not a physics person.
    As far as MCAT, I don't think it would help a lot. MCAT doesn't go beyond physics 1 & 2. May make you interesting though. Considered minoring?
     
  5. karmega5

    karmega5 MS2
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    Re-read post.
    If you're a physics person (not just grasshopper jumping off cliffs physics, but like relativity and particle physics), it may be a good major, and adding in chemistry and bio shouldn't be too hard. I think a double in astronomy and econ with premed stuff would take forever though, since there's no course overlap.
     
  6. lunaire

    lunaire Hypogunner
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    Astronomy can be a very difficult major since upper-level physics is required, in addition to the (more interesting) astronomy courses. Definitely only take the major if you are really interested in physics.

    If you're just interested in learning about planets, solar systems, etc, consider taking it as a minor.
     
  7. paranoid_eyes

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    i know this has been said before, but you better LOVE physics. I'm taking a P/NP course in current astronomy research and let me tell you, some of the juniors in my class love physics more than women :eek:
     
  8. tonytazboy

    tonytazboy New Member
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    if you really enjoy the subject and you think you can do well in it then by all means take those courses to help you with your gpa...i did that with math courses...

    however, i don't think astronomy will help you with the mcat
     
  9. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    You can major in physics, with astronomy being one of the courses. I majored in physics and adcoms seem to like it - it is a rather unique major for premeds. The standard belief is that physics majors are geniuses. Of course, I only recommend it if you're strong in math. By the way, astronomy is the one class that I wish I'd taken in undergrad. I was unable to take it my senior year due to a schedule conflict.
     
  10. surgeon_hopeful

    surgeon_hopeful New Member
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    yeah, I guess I'll minor in it. I'm pretty good with math (I'm in calculus as a junior), but I'm not AMAZING at applying it, which will kill me. And also, I would much rather hold a degree in Econ than Astronomy because its simply a better degree. But how is physics? Thats another one I'm considering. Like I said, I'm well above average at math (like say top 5-7%) but I'm not that person who can get anything you throw at them. I've always enjoyed physics though, and I like how it isn't pure memorization like bio, and the theoretical nature of it.
     
  11. silverlining1

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    You sound like a mature student who is sincerely trying to think this through, but my opinion is that it's too early to tell. When I came to college, I was shocked by the difficulty of some of my courses, stunned by the ease of others, and amazed at how many different topics there were that I had never thought of studying while I was in high school. I feel that you should wait to make this decision until you've spent some time at your undergrad institution and found out how the classes are and if there's something that piques your interest that you had never studied before.

    In addition to this important point, I feel that majors are not the same at every school, so again, I think that this decision cannot be made until you actually get to college. Best of luck to you!
     
  12. Meatwad

    Meatwad Reformed
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    Matters what the program is like at your school; at mine, for example, Calculus I/II/II and an upper-division course on DE's is required, with additional upper-division math electives, as well as a lot of upper-division physics and astronomy courses. It seems like a pretty challenging amount of coursework (not really the math, but the physics component). Since you have a talent for mathematics, and since calculus is definitely not the most difficult of maths, I'm sure you could do very well. Astronomy is very interesting, too.
     
  13. scholj

    scholj Member
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    You sound almost exactly like me. I've always been enamoured by the stars, blackholes, quasars, and all of the other intricacies in space. I used to read a lot of Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking back in high school/ early college. I'm even majoring in applied physics (double with biology). I had every intention of going into astrophysics, until I took an intro to astronomy and astrophysics in my second semester of freshman year.

    It's not that I fell out of love with space and the concepts of relativity and the expansion of the universe, I just wasn't turned on by the practical applications of astrophysics. It's a lot more computer-based computational analysis, writing programs, and staring into space (the latter I could enjoy!). I just didn't have an affinity for writing computer programs or an interest in it at all. I sort of stopped with my whole astrophysics direction after my freshman year. The glamour of blackholes and supernovae and all of the goregeous pictures that you see in popular science books was completly stipped from the curriculum and replaced with spectra and blackbody radiation diagrams and whatnot. It wasn't even learning about the difficult theories that comprise popular physics or the fact that I had to take calculus through differential equations (not as scary as most people say, provided you have an english speaking professor)... it was the type of life I would have if I had decided to go into physics/ astrophysics.

    I did, however, pick up a minor in astrobiology, which has been a hit at almost every interview I've been to. I decided that astronomy, astrophysics, and astrobiology are much better hobbies than professions (for me at least, I know a few people who will definately be successful in their astronomy related fields). When I'm a successful doctor, you can bet that some of my money will go to help out missions like the Mars rovers or cometary explorers!

    Also, medicine has fields that you can use a physics background in (nuclear medicine, radiation oncology, radiology, etc) so it wouldn't be a complete waste of time. And it gives you that edge over the 50%+ of pre-meds that are biology majors!

    But anyway... if you are into astrophysics or astronomy and seriously plan on going into medicine, I would suggest minoring in it. My double with applied physics and biology (and the minor) took me through multiple semesters of maxed out credit hours, tons of work and studying, and a summer taking organic chemistry. The people who major in astronomy and physics are generally the people who are going to be looking at grad programs later and to do summers at Arecibo and out in the desert. If you just want to fill your thirst for astrophysical concepts, a minor in astronomy will more than expose you to the current concepts and ideas.

    And physics is a good major to choose :) And a word of advice, if you do change your mind and want to go into astronomy, major in physics, not astronomy. I heard from my advisor that a lot of graduate programs in astronomy will take a physics undergraduate major over an astronomy major because they feel that the astronomy major doesn't focus enough on the physics concepts behind the astronomy.

    Oh, and as far as prepping for the MCATs, not really. The MCAT really only covers material through physics II. There may be astronomy related questions, but all of the concepts will be, at their hardest, physics II concepts.
     

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