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Physics Job Prospects for Ph.D. Holders in Condensed Matter Physics

  1. Oct 30, 2012 #1
    Hello, all.

    I'm considering applying to Ph.D. programs in experimental condensed matter physics. My general research interests would be in the electrical and optical properties of materials, particularly semiconductors and nanostructures, and their applications to information and solar energy technologies. Specifically, in stuff like nanophotonics, optical circuits, memristors.

    If I were to do this kind of research and earn this Ph.D. at second or third tier school, like UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz or the University of Oregon, what would my job prospects in industry be like? Also would it be possible to get a post-doc position at a national lab even if I didn't graduate from a tier-1 school (i.e. a place like Stanford, UC Berkeley etc.)?

    I am under the impression that currently the job prospects in industry are decent, since the semiconductor industry (Intel, Micron Technology...) recruits physics Ph.D. holders. I'm also guessing that as these industries evolve, physics Ph.D. holders will be even more valuable since they'll be the ones who'll best understand new technologies like optical circuits as a result of their from-first-principles training.

    Regarding post-doc prospects, I'm guessing that it's difficult to get a position at a National Lab unless you come from a tier-1 Ph.D. program, just based on the people I know who have worked at the them...

    Anyway, what has your guys' experience been? What am I right about and what am I wrong about? What do you guys predict for the future?

    If you've read this far, thanks!
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2012 #2
    The schools you listed as tier 2 and 3 are excellent schools.

    For the other part, I don't really know.
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