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Physics Internships

  1. Nov 10, 2013 #1
    Hello all,

    I am currently a sophomore in college, majoring in Physics. I am starting to look for some internships, and seem to be having a lot of trouble. Most places I have found are searching more for engineers than anything else. Although they say they are looking for engineers, I have applied for several, hoping that they at least consider a non-engineer.

    I wanted to ask people who have most likely been through this what kind of things to look for. Should I continue searching for internships? If so, what type of places usually offer internships to physics undergraduates? As an undergraduate, is it better to try to find research opportunities within the University I attend rather than try to get a summer internship within a company?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2013 #2
    From what I know being a physics major and getting an internship with a company could be relatively hard. If you manage to land it, then you increase your chances of finding a job afterwards.

    However even after a couple of corporate internships, physics is not a marketable major, regardless of your uni. Less than 29% of physics graduates managed to secure full-time employment 1 year after getting a degree in recent years [http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/empinibs0910.pdf]. Many of those who managed to get a job had a good deal of useful experience unrelated to physics. With a physics degree and little programming/engineering experience you are quite unlikely to find a skilled job.

    You can try to get research experience instead of an internship and aim for a graduate school in a top uni, but job prospects for physics PhDs are no better. Again less than 29% manage to find full-time on-going jobs 1 year after getting a PhD [http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/phdinitial.pdf], even though most Physics PhDs have reasonable programming and/or engineering experience.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  4. Nov 10, 2013 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Misleading. The statement is:

    "Page 1 of this focus on stated that of the combined physics bachelor’s classes of 2009 and 2010, 60% enrolled in a graduate program and 40% entered the work force. The latter is comprised of 29% full-time employed, 6% part-time employed and 5% unemployed and seeking."

    So the fraction who ended up in either the full-time workforce or in graduate school is 89%.n Three times your misleading number.
  5. Nov 10, 2013 #4
    I do want to go to graduate school in the future and by the time I complete the courses I have set up for myself, I will have some programming experience (not so much engineering, mainly programming/computer science).

    I have looking up some possible internships and most seem to require the applicant to be between their junior and senior year, but I will only be between my sophomore and junior year. At this stage in my collegiate career, would you recommend focusing more on ensuring that I can get some research experience at my university and hopefully get my name on some research papers while doing research through the physics department at my school and focusing on using that experience to get into graduate school?
  6. Nov 10, 2013 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    An internship should be related to industrial research. At your university, it would be academic research. Both are good experiences.
  7. Nov 11, 2013 #6
    I am not entirely sure if it is misleading. All people who I personally know went to a graduate school because they could not find a good job. Most of them would not go to a graduate school otherwise, at least not if they could get a nice job instead. I however acknowledge that my experience is limited, and that some physics graduates would go to a graduate school regardless.

    If you want to go to a graduate school, then doing research in your university and getting your name on research papers is a good plan. Just keep in mind that programming skills are much more likely to get you a job compared to research papers, even after a PhD.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  8. Nov 26, 2013 #7
    perhaps you can try some jobs about semiconductor
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