Career in Astronomy or Astrophysics

Astronomy or astrophysics is the study of the physical properties of the stars, planets and galaxies.

A career in astronomy after 12th is a good option, with plenty of higher study options available for students


With India joining the few elite countries to have their own satellite launching stations and with the number of satellites being launched, there will be surge in demand for manpower to maintain, handle data and storing it.

Partnering with various countries in space research projects has also increased further demand for manpower and materials for the projects undertaken.

One can find job opportunities as scientists and observers in Indian and research centres abroad, national observatories, planetariums, science museums etc.,

You may also work in research institutes and universities as faculties.

You can work in the data processing unit in research centres, develop technology for space missions and build ground based optics for telescopes etc.,

Space technology also involve working on development of telescopes, satellites for weather forecasting, tv and communications, navigation etc.,

Skills required

  • a solid base in physics and mathematics is a must for students pursuing astronomy or astrophysics for higher studies.
  • basic computer skills are an added advantage.
  • immense levels of patience and the quest to gather knowledge through research is required
  • curiosity and the zeal to know and learn new things is important
  • high level of dedication to study is required, as enormous amount research and hard work needs to be done in this field

Courses after 12th to pursue a career in astronomy / astrophysics

Five-year integrated BS-MS dual-degree programme in Physical Science at IISERs (Bhopal, Kolkata, Mohali, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram)

Five-year integrated M.Sc programme in Physical Science at NISER, Bhubaneswar

Five-year integrated M.Sc programme in Physical Science at University of Mumbai (Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence). They have a scholarship attached to it.

Five-year integrated M.Sc programme from The Integrated Science Education and Research Centre, Visva-Bharati

Four-year BS programme in a recognised University/College

Four-year Engineering degree in physical sciences from recognised university/institutes like Birla Institute of Technology,Mesra,Ranchi and Manipal University, Manipal

Three-year B.Sc degree programme in Physics from a recognised University/College, followed by M.Sc and Ph.D

Courses after graduation to pursue a career in astronomy / astrophysics

M.Sc and M.Sc + Ph.D dual-degree programme is offered at the IITs.

A few other institutes offering Degree, M.Sc and Ph.D courses related to Astronomy/Astrophysics are

  • Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital
  • Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP), Bangalore
  • The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune
  • The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Pune
  • Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
  • S.N. Bose, National Center for Basic Sciences, Kolkata
  • Institute of Mathematical Sciences
  • Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad
  • The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
  • Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
  • Raman Research Institute, Bangalore
  • Osmania University, Hyderabad
  • Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Gautam Nagar, Vishnupuri, Nanded, Maharashtra

Area of Specialisations for higher researchi in astronomy/astrophysics are:

  • modelling (stellar evolution, interplanetary medium, inter galactic medium, galaxy evolution, etc.,)
  • observational astronomy (optical, radio, X-ray)
  • planetary science
  • rocket science
  • supernova
  • solar physics
  • theoretical cosmology
  • transient astronomy

Entrance Exams for higher studies:

  • National Eligibility Test for Junior Research fellowship and lectureship conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the University Grants Commission.
  • National Entrance Screening Test (NEST)
  • Joint Admission Test of the IITs for M.Sc-Ph.D programmes.


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