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Physics Graduates and Job Employment

  1. Oct 16, 2005 #1
    We're going to be starting our university applications fairly soon at my school, and I'm still a little bit uncertain about job opportunities in the field of pure physics. Right now I'm planning on applying to several schools for different types of engineering because from the information I've received it's a lot easier to get a job after you graduate with an engineering degree instead of a pure science. Physics is really what I'd like to do, but I want the greatest chance of employment after I graduate. I definitely don't want to be some research lackey , and I don't think I want to teach high school physics like my teacher does (I believe he studied astrophysics). Basically what I'm getting at is, are there any other real job paths for someone coming out of a pure physics program?

    P.S. -- What type of engineering program would have the most physics integrated into it? (I realize this question is a little vague but give it a shot)

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2005 #2
    electrical and mechanical engineering are both very common engineering fields that have tons of applied physics...civil engineering or industrial engineering not so much.
  4. Oct 16, 2005 #3
    Are you willing to go to graduate school for a PhD? As a general rule, I don't think physics PhD's have employment trouble.
  5. Oct 16, 2005 #4


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    If your ultimate career goal is a non-academic one, I'm sure that at one point in time (regardless of whether you want to pursue graduate level studies or not), you are going to have to lean towards the applied physics side (aka. engineering). I can't think of an industry that would want people to sit around and admire the beauty of theory or prove numbers without tangible results.
  6. Oct 17, 2005 #5
    And what kind of physicists do this exactly?
  7. Oct 18, 2005 #6
    What do you actually want to do with your physics knowledge if not teach, research, or engineer?
  8. Oct 20, 2005 #7
  9. Oct 21, 2005 #8
    I was under the impression that most people who get a pure physics education do so with the intention of going to grad school. If you want a job involving physics and you don't want to be a research lacky or high school teacher, that's probably what you're going to have to do. As for engineers, I'm not sure how it works for them, whether they go to grad school or not.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure how true it is, but I've heard stories about physics graduates going into things like accounting or computer science--probably because their math and problem-solving skills are to be desired.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  10. Jan 10, 2006 #9
    String Theorists.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
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