# Theoretical Physics jobs

1. Aug 28, 2013

### JamesClarke

Hi I recently got accepted into a 4 year degree in theoretical physics but Im kinda starting to worry now that I might not get a job in it. I never really thought about employment before I just chose what I thought was most interesting. But , looking at the coursework, how does learning about relativity or quantum physics make me employable? Dont get me wrong, I love learning new things, but I have to be practical at some stage. What options are there for the tp graduate who does not wish to pursue academia (which is a possible option)?

2. Aug 28, 2013

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
What exactly is a degree in "theoretical physics", especially at the undergraduate level?

https://www.physicsforums.com/blog.php?b=3727 [Broken]

Zz.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
3. Aug 28, 2013

### f95toli

There are such programs in the UK. E.g. Imperial College has a 4 year "Physics with Theoretical Physics" MSci program.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
4. Aug 28, 2013

### JamesClarke

Im from Ireland and its a 4 year rigorous maths and physics course that focuses more on the maths side of physics rather than experimental. Its a Bsc

5. Aug 28, 2013

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
So these are program for incoming students who have been seduc..... er.... I mean who already (at that age) decided to be theorists?

Zz.

6. Aug 28, 2013

### JamesClarke

There is some scope for movement, if you dont like it you can move to more applied courses. Like I said, its basically a maths degree with some physics thrown in. I thought about it for a long time before deciding, I already thought myself some special relativity and an extra math subject (its sort of 1rst year college mechanics like moments of inertia etc) for state exams and got an A in it. Its just now tat I have the place Im thinking about jobs. It was always second to the maths and the grades before but i was just wondering are these kind of graduates employed by banks or go on to do further studies? Unlike other maths degrees theres no statistics in it.

7. Aug 28, 2013

### JamesClarke

I get what you mean by kids being seduced by brian greene etc but Im not like that. I prefer to get down to nitty gritty and solve problems. I didnt enrol to "talk" about alternate universes etc

8. Aug 28, 2013

### Darth Frodo

Hi James,

I assume you're either in Trinity, UCD or NUIM. I think you should post the curriculum for the 4 years just to clarify things.

Also, I know that Trinners "boasts" about the job prospects of it's TP graduates. The majority go into the financial sector. So I don't think that you'll be disadvantaged too much. But if you want to be as employable as possible, take all the programming modules you can. Or if at all possible, switch to Maths from TP as soon as you can as I hear it's rather difficult for TP guys to enter maths after 1st year.

But, something you should also consider is Academia. Perhaps you want to do a Ph.D in TP. If so, switching to maths would be detrimental.

You should just really think hard about what you find interesting and what you want to do as a career.

9. Aug 28, 2013

### CAF123

It is common in the UK for universities to offer degrees like this. The university I attend allows undergraduate programs in Mathematical, Theoretical, Astro, Computational, Chemical Physics.

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
10. Aug 28, 2013

### andyroo93

Queen's University Belfast also offer undergrad Theoretical Physics. I'm starting Applied Maths and Physics at QUB next month, which is similar - (almost) identical for the first two years - and I might switch to the TP pathway. At QUB, if you do straight physics, you don't get to do any applied maths classes, whereas if you do TP, you can do the relevant modules from the physics department and the applied maths department.

Here's a doc with the applied maths and physics/theoretical physics programmes at QUB:

Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
11. Aug 28, 2013

### andyroo93

I'd say that maybe the TP undergrad courses are basically just physics, but it gives students the chance to do some cool maths, if they're confident enough in maths.

12. Aug 28, 2013

### JamesClarke

Thanks for the help I'm heading to trinity and the job prospect info was pretty vague so I just wanted to clarify things a post grad would be an ideal choice but things don't always work out and being employable would be nice

13. Aug 28, 2013

### ModusPwnd

It doesn't. You will probably want a grad degree of some sort if employability is your goal. A BS degree in physics doesn't give you job training or even job skills. It trains you in academic knowledge of physics. To be marketable for employment you will need to develop marketable skills of some sort, either on your own or within a practical degree.

14. Aug 28, 2013

### JamesClarke

And if you decide to go down the academic route, is it hard to get funding in Ireland and to get a job in a university or the dias. I`d love to lecture in it but thats a long while away yet.

15. Aug 28, 2013

### SophusLies

Having only an undergrad degree in "theoretical physics" doesn't seem like a good idea unless you go to grad school. Grad school is where most of your skills will come from, depending on the specialization you choose, and that's what's most important for a career. I'm in a PhD program for physics, theoretical optics, and I spent my summer doing financial modeling. They didn't hire me because of my deep knowledge about physics, they wanted someone who could code some hard math. Because I have a lot of experience with programming and can handle complex math they wanted me. Grab some hard skills (programming, Excel, stats/probability, etc.) if you intend on completing that degree and never going to grad school.

16. Aug 28, 2013

### Raioneru

someone from Ireland would have to answer that for you.
my advice is, theoretical physics is competitive and thus, you should not set your sight on one specific location, just go where the funding is. go where the job is. If you're flexible enough, you will always find a job in research or in academy.

OR in industry, Finance etc . . .

17. Nov 20, 2013

### andyroo93

I know this thread is a bit old, but I just remembered it there now. At the university that I'm at, the undergraduate theoretical physics degree is considered more of a maths degree, I think. I'm on the applied maths and physics pathway (at the minute), which is similar to the theoretical physics programme, except the theoretical physics programme is more biased towards the applied maths side the 3rd and 4th years of the course. Just in case anyone is still baffled about what a theoretical physics degree at undergraduate level actually is.