Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics degrees and occupations

  1. Jan 19, 2006 #1
    Yea it's almost deadline time to pick a college for me... Picking a college that has a good program seams important. And I'm not too sure what major would be best to pursue. I have thought about various Engineering degrees but mostly Engineering Physics or just Physics, but I'm not too sure what the job outlook or even average salaries are for some corresponding occupations. I also enjoy astronomy although i'm not too sure how I could mix astronomy with physics and put them both together to form a job oppertunity or degree :uhh: .

    Anyhow could anybody give me any information or a place I could find that sort of information. Or any ideas on other degrees that I may be missing I could like?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2006 #2
    google phyiscs job outlooks. i found a site ages ago that had some charts and stuff about salaries and jobs and physics degrees stuff.

    also, astronomy and physics mix very well. most schools with a physics program have an astronomy option, where you can get your degree in phyics but have an emphasis on astronomy. Or, some schools offer an astronomy degree, but even for that, more than half your classes are physics.

    this should be moved to the academic advising forum.
  4. Jan 20, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    That would be called astrophysics. It is a fairly common major, if the school doesn't have an astrophysics major then look for astronomy. From what I hear, major wise, their the same thing.
  5. Jan 20, 2006 #4
    I had a number of classmates in my mech eng technology course that had graduated physics at university and just couldnt find related work. (in canada). Now a friend of mine that works with me also had taken physics in university. He became a computer IT guy, and now works with me in an unrelated field.

    Thats not to say I have any clue as to what jobs are available out there in physics. It just seems to be one of those things that would be great for a prospective teacher and thats about it.
  6. Jan 20, 2006 #5
    If by job outlook you mean post bachelor's, as opposed to getting a graduate degree, there are a number of options. I work as a health physicist. I could have decided on: patent law (or just law in general), aerospace, government (NRC, DOE, NIST, etc.), any number of national labs (Sandia, Los Alamos, etc.), any kind of analyst position that doesn't require specialized knowledge of a specific field (other than math or physics). There are numerous options.
  7. Jan 22, 2006 #6
    So since you say that. Are there any readily available jobs that would be applicable with having this kind of degree?

    And as for Engineering Physics I'm not hearing much about it period? Including what the job oppertunities are and such. Supposedly it is more applicable since there is more engineering background..

    And Homer you say your involved in mech engineering. What kind of work are you interested in with that sort of degree?
  8. Jan 22, 2006 #7

    A seperate degree program in astrophysics is not that common. Not that rare either though. More common is a BS in Physics, followed by a Physics PhD, with the research area being astrophysics.

    Astrophysics is a research field. There is little industry application for most astrophysics work (not that an astrophysicist wouldn't have applicable skills, but they would be from more general physics knowledge).

    You could do physics with an electronics concentration or electro-optics (two of the options we have here) if you would rather get a BS and then a job. If you want to go the Masters or PhD route, then i would advise getting a BS Physics, and then specializing for the higher degree.
  9. Jan 22, 2006 #8
    It's definately sounding like a good idea to get my phd in somthin other than physics first.

    Heh I suppose now its just finding out which one I really like most. I'm kinda getting the feeling ima be changing my mind lots before I know...

    Is it rare to find research jobs because that reallly sounds the most appealing but also seams like it'd be quite an adventure finding places to hire for research
  10. Jan 22, 2006 #9

    Research jobs are dictated by grant money. After postdoc work, you would typically move to a teaching position at a university, while doing research work as well.

    I'm not sure what you mean about getting your PhD in something other than physics first...if you get a PhD in something else, you'll be working in that field, rather than in say astrophysics.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook