Preparing Astronomy Majors for the Job Market of the New Millennium

Victor Migenes, PASA, 17 (2), 145.
Next Section: The Problem
Contents Page: Volume 17, Number 2

Preparing Astronomy Majors for the Job Market of the New Millennium

Victor Migenes 1

1 University of Guanajuato, Department of Astronomy, Apdo. Postal 144, Guanajuato, GTO, MEXICO, CP 36000


In the past few years the American Physical Society (APS) has conducted a number of surveys among the graduate student population in the US and also among young researchers. The purpose was to get an idea of the career expectations of the students and how these are met later on in their life. Two of the conclusions were: (1) students want to work in a research enviroment, preferably academic, and (2) graduate and undergraduate programs are not preparing them well for the different challenges and goals found in industry, the private sector and national laboratories. Jobs in academia, especially tenured positions, have been difficult to obtain forcing many students to give up on their goals after one or two postdoctoral positions. Some have found jobs in other sectors but others feel frustrated that their careers have not met their expectations and are poorly `prepared' for other options.

In the areas of Physics and Astronomy there is not much of a job market without graduate studies. So most students must continue graduate work, in these or other fields, in order to compete well in the job market. Graduate and undergraduate programs must become more responsable for the present state of affairs and for implementing improvements. This can be done by broadening the scope of the present programs so that a student is better prepared to face the challenges of other job opportunities. We present here a BSc program designed by astronomers and physicists, at the University of Guanajuato, to try to address some of these concerns and better prepare the students for either continuing with graduate studies or finding employment in an ever-changing job market.

Keywords: miscellaneous -- education

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