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Astronomy 185C - Fall 2007
W 2:00-3:00 · RLM 15.216A · Unique No. 50695


Harriet Dinerstein

Office: RLM 16.324
Hours: M 1:30-2:30, W 10:30-11:30, or by appt
Phone: (512) 471-3449

Course Website


Philosophy of this course: AST 185C is a professional development seminar for incoming graduate students in the UT Astronomy Ph.D. program. It consists of informal sessions with a variety of guest speakers - mostly local, but sometimes outside visitors as well - consisting of information, advice, and discussion. The idea is to try to address issues that are important to surviving and succeeding in our graduate program and in astronomy as a profession, but often don't come up in conventional courses. Ast 185C is a little bit different each time it happens.

Topics: In the typical year, most of the "first-year" students in our graduate program are new to UT. Therefore I usually spend close to half the semester giving overviews of the activities of the different research groups, as well as introducing McDonald Observatory and other departmental resources. Since these things aren't necessary this year, I would like to focus more on other things: the culture of astronomy and how to navigate it; key organizations and resources, what is expected of you at various stages of your career; how to optimize your chances of success - as well as the nature of the job market and strategies for eventually finding the jobs you want. In some ways the job market in astronomy is constantly evolving, and it is useful to be aware of these trends. For example, there are fashions in research fields (cosmology; extrasolar planets); there are new kinds of professional niches ("firm" funding, as opposed to "hard" and "soft" money positions); and many postdoc applications these days are essentially grant proposals.

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5 September 2007
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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