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Physics job prospects in Canada

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi,
I'm starting my undergrad studies in math and physics this fall. I wanted to know what subfield of physics gives the best job opportunity to a Ph.D. graduate? I want to work in a field that I studied in. Not like particle physicists working in financial maths. Which field uses intense physics and mathematics and have a good career path at the same time? I've heard of medical physics, but I'm not sure they use a lot of intense math/physics compared to other fields like solid state physics or etc?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Have you considered engineering? It tends to be a lot more career focused than math or physics.

Especially since you're just starting your undergrad, and you're talking about jobs you'd get after a Ph.D.- that's 10+ years away. A lot can change in that time, which makes it hard to make predictions about any specific physics subfields. An engineering degree would let you get a related job right after undergrad though, or after a (relatively short compared to a Ph.D.) master's degree.
 
  • #3
Hi pi-r8
I'm planning for physics. I don't like engineering. It feels too focused for now! I want to explore different things.
 
  • #4
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Hi pi-r8
I'm planning for physics. I don't like engineering. It feels too focused for now! I want to explore different things.
To me that sounds like it will fundamentally conflict with "I want to work in a field that I studied in". Would you be ok exploring a few different things, and then picking just one to work in?
 
  • #5
I don’t want to be forced to get a job in a non related field. One of my relatives studied geophysics but he is doing data analysis in a tech company now
 
  • #6
I find engineering too focused for undergrad
 
  • #7
symbolipoint
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I find engineering too focused for undergrad
You need to read about the local Engineering program options carefully. Engineering is too big a field and is filled with a great deal many kinds of courses. Physics and Engineering are different in the way that you are beginning to understand, in that people become engineering graduates so that they can find jobs to design, find ways to monitor, and to develop processes and products. People get degrees in Physics if they wish to explore and understand.
 
  • #8
I like the research side more. I'm very interested in applying mathematics and physics into medicine like molecular imaging research, and radiation oncology. I also like astrophysics but I'm sure the job opportunity is not good.
 
  • #9
symbolipoint
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I like the research side more. I'm very interested in applying mathematics and physics into medicine like molecular imaging research, and radiation oncology. I also like astrophysics but I'm sure the job opportunity is not good.
Very good; and all of that relies on technology which is why I say to look into what is in an engineering degree program. I'm not saying that you should switch to engineering instead. Just I'm saying you need to become more aware.
 
  • #10
Very good; and all of that relies on technology which is why I say to look into what is in an engineering degree program. I'm not saying that you should switch to engineering instead. Just I'm saying you need to become more aware.
It's true. engineering is more practical. I'll research about it. But do you know which field in physics gives you the best job opportunity?
 
  • #11
StatGuy2000
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Hi,
I'm starting my undergrad studies in math and physics this fall. I wanted to know what subfield of physics gives the best job opportunity to a Ph.D. graduate? I want to work in a field that I studied in. Not like particle physicists working in financial maths. Which field uses intense physics and mathematics and have a good career path at the same time? I've heard of medical physics, but I'm not sure they use a lot of intense math/physics compared to other fields like solid state physics or etc?
To the OP:

One thing you need to note that degrees in physics and math are not vocational degrees, so you need to expand your definition on what is a field that you studied in. For a PhD in physics, that could mean the following, if you work in industry:

1. chip manufacturing at places like Intel (if you do research in, say, experimental condensed matter physics)
2. materials science (again, for those in experimental condensed matter physics)
3. photonics (if you specialize in optics)
4. medical physics
5. scientific computing
6. data science

Please note that when you say "use intense physics and mathematics" -- all intense physics and math type jobs will involve at some level a lot of coding/programming, so practically any job that involves considerable scientific programming or data science will involve physics and math at varying levels of intensity.

Of course, the most intense physics and math jobs will be in academia, but I'm assuming you posted because you realize that academic jobs are relatively sparse.
 
  • #12
Yes i don t like to work in academia. The pay raise is non existent
 
  • #13
I like medical physics but i fear there is no much math and physics in the work compared to other fields.
 
  • #14
ZapperZ
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In all of this back-and-forth, not once did the OP mentioned, or anyone responding to this asked, where in the world the OP is, or where he/she intends on seeking employment.

Career opportunities in ANY field is highly dependent on LOCATION. Someone with a Ph.D in astrophysics has a significantly different career opportunity in Ethiopia when compared to, say, in the UK. So, shouldn't this factor matter as much as anything else?

Zz.
 
  • #15
I want to stay in Canada for work. I'm deciding between specializing in quantum optics and work as a optical physicist, or specialize in medical physics and work as a radiation physicist.
 
  • #16
StatGuy2000
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I want to stay in Canada for work. I'm deciding between specializing in quantum optics and work as a optical physicist, or specialize in medical physics and work as a radiation physicist.
As someone from Canada myself, I can state that there are opportunities in both optical physics and in medical physics. My understanding is that optical physics positions are highly competitive, so if that is the area you wish to go into, I strongly advise you to pursue an internship or a research placement (e.g. through the NSERC USRA program) in a research lab during your undergraduate studies.

With respect to medical physics, @Choppy is a medical physicist in Canada, so he should be the person you should direct your questions to regarding medical physics opportunities.
 
  • #17
Dr Transport
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I like the research side more. I'm very interested in applying mathematics and physics into medicine like molecular imaging research, and radiation oncology. I also like astrophysics but I'm sure the job opportunity is not good.

Biomedical engineering
 
  • #18
I researched about the salaries in both fields. Median (Canada)
Optical physicist: 88k
Medical physicist: 135k
This is a huge gap. I guess a phd in quantum optics will at most get 100k. It’s a bit disappointing.
 
  • #19
I don’t think you can have a convenient life with 88k in Canada. Living is very costly in Ontario.
 
  • #20
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I don’t think you can have a convenient life with 88k in Canada. Living is very costly in Ontario.
Can't live "conveniently" off 88k a year? I know of couples who make less than that with combined salaries, and they live quite comfortably. In Ontario as well!

Unless your goal is to buy property in Vancouver or downtown Toronto right off the bat, I can assure you that you can make a living making 88k a year in Canada.
 
  • #21
ZapperZ
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I researched about the salaries in both fields. Median (Canada)
Optical physicist: 88k
Medical physicist: 135k
This is a huge gap. I guess a phd in quantum optics will at most get 100k. It’s a bit disappointing.
I don’t think you can have a convenient life with 88k in Canada. Living is very costly in Ontario.
Y'know, this is getting to be a bit exasperating.

First you never revealed where you were. Then, after you were given a bunch of info, you suddenly sprang upon us your "hidden" criteria of making money. You could have EASILY researched this already and, if this is all you cared about, could have made your own decision without needing any input from us. So now, that "135k" suddenly is the over-riding factor in your choice.

So what was that "... they use a lot of intense math/physics compared to other fields ... " all about in your first post? Nowhere in there was average salary was ever mentioned. All you wanted was a field that "use a lot of intense math/physics".

I'm checking out. Good luck!

Zz.
 
  • #22
George Jones
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I don’t think you can have a convenient life with 88k in Canada. Living is very costly in Ontario.
As a Canadian who has lived and worked in five different provinces, I find this post to be very offensive.

"Ontario" does not equal "Canada", and "GTA" does not equal "Ontario"!!
 
  • #23
Those salaries are before taxation and that 88 actually becomes 65k . Also, if you can't make "enough" money in your field of interest, it's better to give up some things for the sake of future! My true interest is astrophysics, but I know that job opportunities are limited and having a stable job is a lifelong challenge. I'm not jumping on any conclusion, but you think I do! I'm just trying to find the best option, that has "physics/math intense content" and "enough money to have a convenient life". I know some people who did not think about this and they feel terrible for themselves and their family now. Don't get hostile please.
 
  • #24
As a Canadian who has lived and worked in five different provinces, I find this post to be very offensive.

"Ontario" does not equal "Canada", and "GTA" does not equal "Ontario"!!
I apologize if I offended you. "convenient life" is a subjective thing. people have different standards.
 
  • #25
as far as I know most jobs (physics related) are in big cities. So there are some geographical boundaries to it!
 

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