I'm a second year aerospace engineering undergraduate student. I like this course because it might get me to the space industry; but it is not as closely tied to the subject of space sciences as astronomy/astrophysics courses are.

Of course I don't want to abandon my course, so I was wondering how difficult it is to get a graduate degree in astrophysics after I'm done with aerospace. I know I'd be lacking some knowledge but I feel like the trade-off is worth it.

I can consider abandoning my course and going to physics instead, but that's a last resort.

Any advice is highly appreciated. Thank you.

  • This might depend on where you are. The two fields are pretty different.
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 21:35
  • @Buffy I'm in central Europe.
    – 21sully
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 21:48
  • Is double-majoring an option?
    – Nat
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 22:03
  • If you want to work in the space industry (and I take this to mean planning/designing/building space missions, rocketry etc) then aerospace engineering is far more relevant than astrophysics. Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 9:23
  • @Nat No way. Aerospace and Astrophysics are both academically brutal and quite different, so there's not enough intersection.
    – 21sully
    Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


It's doable. Won't be easy, but doable. Get as much background in physics as you can during your undergraduate studies. You probably won't be able to take e.g. Quantum Field Theory, but it doesn't sound like you're aiming for these theoretical branches of astrophysics anyway.

Example from the MIT Physics PhD webpage:

Must I have a degree in physics in order to apply to this graduate program?

Prior to starting their Physics doctoral studies here, our successful applicants generally hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics or have taken many Physics classes, if they have majored in another discipline. The most common other majors are astronomy, engineering, mathematics and chemistry. Bachelor of Science degrees may be 3-year or 4-year degrees, depending on the education structure of the country they are in.

  • Can you take classes after you finish your last undergrad class? So as to not overload; aerospace is mental as it is
    – 21sully
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 10:48
  • 1
    @VictorSCS you'd have to check your institute's policies - I'd guess yes, you can delay graduation, but you'd have to pay tuition fees.
    – Allure
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 10:52
  • Jesus. I guess my best option is to take at least 1 extra curricular physics discipline per year then. Either that or get a second bachelors in physics after I finish, which would take me 2 years in the same university (I've checked it). I'm really unsure though so if you have any advice on this I'd be very thankful.
    – 21sully
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 13:24
  • 1
    @VictorSCS I'd suggest 1) talking to someone in the field who you want to join and 2) attempting the graduate studies without getting the physics BSc. A physics BSc is likely to teach you a lot of things you won't need, so don't do it if you don't have to.
    – Allure
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 22:31
  • 1
    Yeah, you're right, the BSc was a bad idea. I'll probably just delay my graduation and do one more semester just with the extra physics disciplines I'd need for the masters. I've talked to the course director and he said this is a good idea, so I'm going for it. Thank you!
    – 21sully
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 9:54

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