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Physics Job opportunities in Physics

  1. May 26, 2012 #1
    I'm currently studying Electrical Engineering, but I like Physics a lot more. The only reason I didn't initially major in Physics was that Engineering was much more employable. This may not be a great question, but what opportunities are available to someone who has a masters degree or higher in physics (besides working for a university)? I know physicists work for national laboratories, but I can't imagine there are too many jobs available. I'd really appreciate any feedback.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2012 #2


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  4. May 26, 2012 #3
    I wouldn't bother with physics unless you want to go to grad school. Even then... I got two physics degrees but could not get a career job after graduation.

    Physics is a degree that is best suited towards people who want to take the professor road or people who want to learn physics. Otherwise it doesnt have much to offer IMO.
  5. May 26, 2012 #4
    In my experience, people who get advanced degrees (masters/phd) in physics end up working in finance, insurance, management consulting etc. If you get lucky, you might be able to transition to a traditional scientific R&D job, but I don't know very many people from my phd class that managed to land one- there are too many physicists chasing too few jobs.

    Its not to say you end up unemployed, but you probably won't get that science/engineering job. If your preferences are physics work > ee work > finance/management consulting/programming, you'd be silly to switch away from ee.
  6. May 27, 2012 #5
    One caveat here is that a "job working in a financial company" may not necessarily be a "financial job." For example, in a bank, you have lots of people with electrical engineering degrees, and they are doing more or less the same sort of work that they would be doing with a EE degree at a non-bank.

    Similarly, I work for a financial firm, but I'm doing more or less the same type of work that I did in graduate school (i.e. crunching PDE's and babysitting supercomputers.)

    A lot of this depends on what exactly you like about physics. You may end up working in a bank whatever you do, but the question then is whether you'll be doing ee-type work in a bank or physics-type work in a bank.
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