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Other Career in academia or government/industrial work?

  1. May 22, 2017 #1

    I'm currently a junior majoring in physics and intend on going to graduate school to get a PhD in nuclear physics after graduation. This post may be premature, as I'm not even in grad school yet, but I have a general question about a career in physics.

    I would eventually like to work as a professor, conducting research in QCD. Right after getting a PhD, would it be most beneficial to pursue a career in government/industrial work or would it be more helpful to try to get a position in academia?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2017 #2


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    For eventually ending up as faculty, you will likely need to go through several postdocs of 2-3 years each in order to have a shot at a tenure track position. I do not know anyone who has gone to industry and ended up with a faculty job in a more theoretical subject like QCD.

    I would suggest you sit down with someone doing more or less what you want to do (preferably a faculty member at your university) and ask what the typical carreer path would look like and how the job market looks like.
  4. May 23, 2017 #3
    Yeah I only know one professor who started in industry, but he's in a different area of physics so I thought I would ask. Thank you!
  5. May 23, 2017 #4


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    For physics, "government" which I think should be read as a postdoc at a National Lab, is just as valuable as an academic postdoc. Industry is a different animal and I would consider getting a job in industry a one-way door.
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