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Programs How much can someone with a phd in physics make?

  1. Aug 27, 2010 #1
    I know that you shouldn't get a phd for the money, and you should get one because you want one. I am just wondering how much someone with a phd in physics can make depending on what job they choose.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2010 #2
    Same range as somebody with a high school diploma can make. Anywhere from $0 to hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Like you said, it depends on what job they choose. What job did you have in mind specifically?
  4. Aug 27, 2010 #3
    anything involving research in physics. Whether it be being a professor at a research university, working for the government, most anything involving research really.
  5. Aug 27, 2010 #4


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  6. Aug 27, 2010 #5
    Brian May is worth about $80 million, but his PhD is in Astrophysics. I don't know if you're considering the various sub-fields or not.
  7. Aug 27, 2010 #6


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    Ah, but he took that rare and difficult rock-star-to-scientist route :wink:.
  8. Aug 27, 2010 #7
    okay, thanks for the answers everyone, I think I got what I was looking for from jtbell's link.
  9. Aug 28, 2010 #8
    Starting salary for Ph.D. level quants on Wall Street is roughly $100K + $50K bonus. With three years of experience, you make VP level, and that gets you about $150K salary + $100K bonus. Most people stay at VP level for the rest of their careers, but I know physics Ph.D.'s that have gotten into managing director level, and total comp there can be $500K+.
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