1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is an Applied Physics Major Employable?

  1. Dec 25, 2013 #1
    My university offers an Applied Physics major with seven specialties: atmospheric physics, chemical physics, computational physics, geophysics, materials science, physical electronics or physical oceanography. I could also pursue a B.S./M.S. degree in electrical engineering if I choose the physical electronics specialty.

    My question is, which one of these specialties is the most employable? What kind of careers will these specialties lead me to? Is it even worth majoring in applied physics?

    I used to be a managerial economics major hoping to go into the business field in the future, but I realized that I really love physics (although I'm not a genius at it). I'm also hoping that I can also go into the business field with my degree.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Anything related to petroleum, new grads are making quite good salaries.
  4. Dec 25, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Not entirely sure since I'm just an undergrad as well but I'm doing both the computational and materials options at my uni. I plan on going to grad school, but hopefully they will give me some skills to fall back on.

    EDIT: The physical electronics might be best, especially if you can double-major in EE going down that path.
  5. Dec 26, 2013 #4
    Pick one of those areas and then get the engineering degree that will let you work in it.

    If there's some physics you want to learn, take it as an elective.
  6. Dec 26, 2013 #5
    Agreed. It's going to be an uphill battle with a physics degree. Unless of course you want to become a professor or researcher, but then you need a PhD
  7. Dec 27, 2013 #6

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    The whole idea that the degree itself is what gets the job is misguided. You need to get the job. Earning a degree is an opportunity to build up your toolbox of skills, but ultimately it will up to you.
  8. Dec 27, 2013 #7

    While true, the degree will however get him past HR. These days if they say you need a specific degree then that's what they will look for, which is why its very important to make targeted resumes filled with key words or skills that are applicable to the position. I recently applied to an internship with Boeing and despite meeting every other requirement listed, they sent me a rejection letter saying that they were looking for mechanical and electrical engineers only. Now I'm a nuclear engineering major, but as part of the curriculum we are required to take every single class the mechanical engineers take except for things like manufacturing processes but the core of our curriculum is mechanical engineering, we also have more physics and mathematics courses then the mechanical engineers, my mistake was assuming HR would know that and I didn't make a targeted resume with relevant coursework and keywords. So the degree does matter to an extent for both skills and knowledge and getting past HR. Seems to me these companies hiring for engineers need some HR personnel with some kind of technical background.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook