About – Best Cosmology Degree | Guide | 2022
What is cosmology?
On a clear night, devoid of any light pollution, if you look up, you will find a countless number of twinkling stars and a few non-twinkling “stars” along with the moon if it’s not a moonless night, the study of all those celestial bodies that you see and don’t see is NOT cosmology, that’s astronomy.
You must be taken by surprise when I unconventionally defined cosmology. Also, at the same time you must be wondering what cosmology is, then?!
Well, cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole. It’s a branch of astronomy. While astronomy includes the study of planets, stars, extraterrestrial life, and asteroids, cosmology is the study of the origin and evolution of the universe.
Modern cosmology is largely occupied by the big bang theory, that’s the origin of the universe.
How difficult is cosmology?
Cosmology involves mainly physics and maths. And those two are the subjects that give most people nightmares.
Physics itself is an enormous branch. It contains different subsections like Newtonian mechanics, Einstein’s general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and the newest branch being quantum cosmology which is the incorporation of quantum mechanics with gravity, hence trying to attain the theory of everything.
While Newtonian mechanics is largely used to explain the motion of planets (and remember, that’s astronomy as a whole and not cosmology, being the sub-topic), Einstein’s relativity and quantum mechanics are used to explaining the origin of the universe.
The different models of the universe are always under constant development. Once the universe was thought to be static, until the discovery of inflation, which was discovered by observing the red-shift, which is technically Doppler’s effect.
Only then did scientists were able to conclude that the universe is an ever-expanding bubble, like human knowledge.
So no matter how much ever scientists learn and prove things, later in the future they are either modified or proved wrong.
Cosmology is a branch where constant wear and tear takes place. What’s once thought needn’t be always true. And so scientists doubt themselves all the time, in other words, a regular study is required.
So hence the short answer is cosmology is tough. Another reason why it is tough is that we are dealing with space and time, quantities that are so large that sometimes it’s inconceivable for tiny creatures like us on earth.
How long does it take to study cosmology?
Learning cosmology takes usually takes 5-6 years. 3-4 years of undergraduate level and 1-2 years of master’s degree. If you are planning to go for a Ph.D., it might take longer, depending on how long you take to finish off the thesis.
Learning from a university usually involves lectures, discussion sessions, and practical seminars, including work in observatories. Of course, it does involve the use of telescopes too, now that’s a grin-time for all those telescope freaks.
Also, if you are planning to take cosmology, there are certain things that you have to be good and passionate about.
Those are as follows:
- Maths: Specially in calculus and differential equations. Those take in a major part of cosmology.
- You need to have a thorough understanding of modern physics. Even if you suck at the practical side of physics, you need to be a master of the theoretical side.
- Scientific temperament: Just constant learning won’t make you a successful cosmologist. You will need the heart to join different elements of your study, link it to your imagination and various possibilities and bring out the best in those to spin a yarn of the universe.
If you are a backpack brimming with at least two of the above elements, yes! You are ready to begin your study of cosmology.
How to become a cosmologist?
The most important requirement is to get a bachelor’s degree in cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, engineering, or physics as a whole. This will take approximately 4-5 years on average.
After having your bachelor’s degree, normally you can join a space agency (like ISRO, NASA, or Roscosmos). But usually, because the competition is high in this ever-increasing population, it’s always better to take a master’s degree or Ph.D. along with your bachelor’s degree.
When taking a master’s degree, make sure that you take one in either astronomy or cosmology, as it’s important to be a specialist rather than being a jack of all.
Continue reading to know more about Best Cosmology Degree.
Best universities/colleges for pursuing cosmology
- INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY, TRIVANDRUM, KERALA
- INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE, RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY(BS-MS DUAL DEGREE)
- CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF KERALA (FOR INTEGRATED MSC IN PHYSICS)
- CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF RAJASTHAN (FOR INTEGRATED MSC IN PHYSICS)
- CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF KARNATAKA (FOR INTEGRATED MSC IN PHYSICS)
- CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF TAMIL NADU (FOR INTEGRATED MSC IN PHYSICS)
- INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE, BANGALORE
- INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ASTROPHYSICS, BANGALORE
- TATA INSTITUTE OF FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH, PUNE
- RAMAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE, BANGALORE
- PHYSICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY, AHMEDABAD.
- CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
- HARVARD UNIVERSITY
- UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
- PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
- SORBONNE UNIVERSITY
- STANFORD UNIVERSITY
- UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
- UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
- MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
- UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO
- JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
- YALE UNIVERSITY
- UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH
- UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
Is cosmology a good career option?
A career in cosmology is a widely respected job in the world. But choosing this career isn’t as easy as taking a normal degree in science. First of all, a job in this field is highly competitive and only the best among the best is chosen.
After getting either your master’s degree or Ph.D., it’s important that you get into a reputed space agency like ISRO or NASA.
But getting into these space agencies isn’t a cakewalk. Only one among thousands is selected per year. Not everyone with a master’s degree gets into these agencies.
Some people do choose to be a professor of cosmology though. I would say that’s the safest path possible. And if you are a science hunter, being an average professor won’t seem as fascinating as being a scientist.
But also remember, Richard Feynman and many other famous scientists were also professors, while they made groundbreaking revolutions in science.
How much do cosmologists make?
In the US, a reputed cosmologist gets paid between $78,205 to $111,629, with a median salary of $87,818.
In India, a scientist usually gets paid between 50,000 to 10 lakhs
Also, your stipend will largely vary with the work you do. If you are “the” one who made a breakthrough, then you can even get into the limelight and can also get paid enough by different research universities in order to get you to work there.
Astronomers generally earn Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh annually.
Best cosmology courses online
Here are some of the coolest cosmology courses that you can get online-
- Class Central
- Cosmology via edX
- Inflationary Cosmology via World Science U
- Galaxies and Cosmology via Coursera
Books for Best Cosmology Degree
Here is the list of best books on Cosmology –
1) A Brief History of Time: Stephen Hawking
This book takes us through a journey from the big bang to the newest observable black hole, clearing all our basic doubts along the way. I would recommend this for the starters as it just gives an outline of various important topics in cosmology.
2) Introduction to Cosmology: Barbara Ryden
I wouldn’t recommend this book for starters as it is of advanced level for undergraduates or beginning graduates. But if you are looking forward to reading a complex book in your wee hours, then you may choose this. But don’t say you weren’t warned.
3) The Elegant Universe: Brian Greene
Written by the lord of science himself, this is one of the best books on cosmology along with Stephen hawking’s, A brief history of time. This book also discusses hidden dimensions and ultimately what dimensions even mean. This book is also a wonderful journey through string theory too. This is a book that no science enthusiast should miss.
4) Parallel Worlds: Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku can be described as people’s scientists because he is one of those scientists who like Carl Sagan, spend time explaining complex ideas to laymen. This book, like in the previous one, explains higher dimensions and the future of the cosmos. Again, a must-read for anyone with a good scientific temperament.
5) The First Three Minutes: Steven Weinberg
A book written by one of the world’s most renowned scientists cannot be disappointing. As the name suggests, this book illustrates the very beginning of the universe for anyone who really wonders what must have happened during the birth of our mother universe.
6) Space-time and Geometry
This book gives us an introduction to general relativity, aimed at students. If you are a high school or an undergraduate student, definitely this is a sure shot.
These are just examples of some books based on a cosmology that you can read. You may start with these but keep in mind that there are innumerable great books written by renowned scientists and professors out there.
Concluding Best Cosmology Degree 2021-22
Keep in mind, if you have chosen to be a cosmologist, congratulations, you have chosen a path that a few treads.
“…. Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,”
You are in Robert Frost’s league: someone who decided to choose a path that seldom went through. Be proud of yourself that you have decided to choose your passion, unlike many others. This concludes the topic Best Cosmology Degree.