Space sciences at Florida Tech have set the standard since 1958, successfully preparing students for high-tech careers at top space agencies, research firms and government organizations. Florida Tech’s master’s in space sciences program includes a wide range of space-related fields including stellar and extragalactic astrophysics, cosmology and the origin and evolution of the universe, solar-terrestrial interrelation, cosmic ray physics and exo-planets, to name a few.
The program gives global insight into the scientific community and enhances understanding of trending topics and technology. Small class sizes allow professors to mentor students in a close-knit one-on-one academic environment. Faculty members are active researchers in three primary areas: Geospace Physics, Astronomy/Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences. They are also members of the CanariCam Science Team, giving students access to guaranteed time on the 10.4 m GTC, currently the largest ground-based Optical-IR telescope.
When considering a university for a space science master’s degree, consider that Florida Tech has one of the most well respected programs in the country. In fact, the university’s undergraduate astronomy and astrophysics program was the first ever in the world.
One benefit Florida Tech offers over other space science master’s degree programs is that they are the lead institution for the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), which operates automated one-meter-class telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz., and at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile.
Florida Tech is strategically situated at the center of Florida’s high tech corridor, home to thousands of technological companies, including NASA. There is no better place to study for a space science master’s degree than in one of the most diverse science and technology-oriented areas in the country.
At Florida Tech, student’s study with internationally recognized faculty members who have experience in various fields including extra solar planets, stellar astrophysics and active galactic nuclei. Small class sizes with a low student-to-faculty ratio provide an atmosphere of mentorship that students might not find at larger universities. The faculty also focuses on three key research areas in space science: geospace physics, astronomy/astrophysics and planetary science.
This small learning environment is heightened by large-university quality internship and research opportunities. Students are able to align research with their career goals and study advanced topics ranging from cosmology and high-energy astrophysics, solar energetic particles to thunderstorm and lightning physics, black holes and exo-planets. With access to a variety of laboratories, thousands of high-tech and space-related companies, research at Florida Tech is like no other.
Facilities and resources are an important aspect to science and technology students and Florida Tech boasts some of the best. Not only do students in the space science master’s program have access to the Olin 0.8-m telescope, the largest research telescope in the state of Florida, but they also have access to the Geospace Physics Laboratory, the Astronomy/Astrophysics Laboratory, and the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing.
Because of Florida Tech’s location at the heart of the Space Coast, close to a wide range of high tech and space related companies, including NASA, many opportunities exist for space sciences research in three primary research groups: Geospace Physics, Astronomy/Astrophysics and Planetary.
Organizations that provide internships and space sciences research opportunities include NASA, DRS Optronics, Lockheed-Martin, Harris Corp., Northrop Grumman and more. Graduates are expected to publish research results in high impact peer reviewed journals, such as:
TERA, the Thunderstorm Energetic Radiation Array, is also part of the department offering space sciences research opportunities. TERA is an experiment designed to measure energetic radiation (X-rays and gamma rays) from thunderclouds and lightning. The Thunderstorm Energetic Radiation Array is also part of an experiment called the MSE (Multiple Station Experiment), which is used to study the electric and magnetic fields from rocket-triggered lightning and nearby natural lightning.
The Olin Physical Sciences Center features the Olin Observatory, which houses the Ortega 0.8-meter telescope (the largest research-grade telescope on Florida). Students doing space sciences research have access to the Geospace Physics Laboratory, the Astronomy/Astrophysics Laboratory, and the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing.
Founded by Florida Tech, SARA is an association of 12 different colleges that work together to run one-meter class automated telescopes both in Arizona at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile. Additional telescopes have recently been added to the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco to help aid in the research of galaxies.
The Florida Tech chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space is an active organization that meets to discuss space news and takes part in events with other space organizations around the southeast.
The Society of Physics Students is a professional organization that focuses on education and enrichment and holds a variety of regular activities for students across campus. Students can also join the Sigma Pi Sigma national honor society and the student Astronomical Society. These clubs and organizations are the perfect way to network for space sciences research opportunities, internships and potential jobs.
Careers in space science vary from teaching, conducting advanced research in academic institutions and research laboratories, and positions in high-tech industry and government.
Jobs are also found in meteorology, astronomy and astrophysics where graduates develop new technologies, methods or theories based on the results of research into how things work and contribute to innovative, real-world applications. These careers in space science can include:
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.
According to the bureau, careers in space science (such as physics and astronomy) are expected to increase by 10 percent through 2022. This growth is expected in research laboratories as well as information technology, medicine, and other applied research and development fields. Check the handbook for more information.
Florida Tech’s doctorate in space sciences increases a student’s earning potential over the course of their career, enabling them to conduct advanced research and prepare for jobs in academia. For full-time doctoral graduate research assistants, full-pay tuition scholarships are available for highly qualified candidates.