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What can I do with a BSc. Degree in Physics

  1. Mar 5, 2007 #1
    I am finishing my BSc. in Physics degree this year and would like to know what jobs this qualifies me for.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2007 #2
    My guess: engineering jobs that are a bit more theoretically demanding, or graduate school.
  4. Mar 5, 2007 #3
    engineering jobs (as mentioned), some financial-type positions, or grad school.

    If you want to work as a physicist, you need to go to grad school and get a PhD.
  5. Mar 6, 2007 #4


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    macdonald's manager, baskin robbins employee, private school science instructor, law student, film maker, president of USA, cartoonist, religious guru, journalist, olympic athlete, med school, actually almost anything, you are intelligent and hard working, go for it! ....
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2007
  6. Mar 6, 2007 #5


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    those are not entirely facetious. you have exactly the training of an average good private high school science instructor. this is a route taken by several of my friends right out of college whilke contemplating other avenues.

    also if you care about professional school like law or med school, the admissions people there know physics majors are smarter than the average bear, as i understand, and look favorably on your application.

    but really, being young?, smart, and disciplined is a key to success in many pursuits. give it a whirl. (if money is not too tight, traveling is also appropriate at this time in life.)
  7. Mar 6, 2007 #6
    I'll have a BSc in Mathematical physics next year, where could I look to find engineering job openings who might be interested in me?
  8. Mar 6, 2007 #7
    What I dont get is why do you major in physics, and not get a PhD, but then search for an engineering job? Why not just major in an engineering field?

    What areas do physic majors (4 year degree) have an advantage over engineer (4 year degree)?

    Anytime I'm looking for a internship/co-op/job it never lists physics as a major.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2007
  9. Mar 6, 2007 #8
    I can't speak for everyone else, but the reason I'm looking for a job is a combination of poor planning when choosing my major in the first place, and getting my wife pregnant so I can't afford to continue schooling after my BSc. I intend to return to school when we can afford it. From my reading here, the best jobs for me with my BSc in Physics would be engineering jobs, so I'm trying to figure out where to look for them.
  10. Mar 6, 2007 #9
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  11. Mar 6, 2007 #10
    The website seems to suggest that the best field for a physics bachelor is software or engineering, which brings me back to my question, where do I start looking for these kinds of jobs?
  12. Mar 6, 2007 #11
    Google? Microsoft? What is your background in computers? The government is always looking for people: www.usajobs.com. They may or may not pay well, but hell, you got to start somewhere.
  13. Mar 6, 2007 #12


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    I don't know the situation in Canada, but here in the US, if you are a physics major and you do not belong to the Society of Physics Students, then you need to have your head examined, especially if you intend to stop your education at the B.Sc level. Why? Because you would have been exposed to (i) Physics Today that contains LOTS of physics jobs advertisement (ii) you would have received several resources regarding career and job search.

    The APS has a career website that contains a large list of employment opportunities at all levels and for almost all types of jobs.


    There are several looking for B.Sc degree holders. Still, I could have sworn that each school, probably even in Canada, should have a job placement office that also provide some form of assistance to their graduates, no? Have you tried going through the one at your school?

  14. Mar 6, 2007 #13
    ZapperZ, often the physics department at a university is extremely small. At my university, most everyone is an engineering major, and hardly nobody is a physics major. The career services office is quite clueless when it comes to opportunities for physics majors, especially since most of the physics majors choose to go to grad school.

    But I agree that SPS provides a lot of job seeking information.
  15. Mar 6, 2007 #14
    Thanks ZapperZ, I will check it out at my school and see what's there. I looked through the site you posted, and there doesn't seem to be anything outside the US there (unless I'm just blind).
  16. Mar 6, 2007 #15


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    No, unfortunately those jobs are listed only for openings in the US. I am guessing that there's a similar professional organization in Canada that might have the same type of listing.


    Edit: I found it.


    Unfortunately, some of their links are not working.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2007
  17. Mar 7, 2007 #16


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    I think alot of people get into it with the intention of pursuing a PHd but then realize after through going there undergrad or maybe an REU, that a PHd is just not for them but they still want to use there physics background.Alteast thats the case with me, I just cant see myself getting a PHd right now. Maybe sometime in the future if I get motivated agian.
  18. Mar 7, 2007 #17

    George Jones

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    Life isn't so simple, and there are no guarantees.

    I tell high school students that if they have real passion and ability for a subject, be it physics, math, history or philosophy, then they should study it at university with peers who have the same passion, and with experts in the field guiding them. Sometimes students major in something marketable with the intention of studying their passion, either formally or informally, after graduation. I tell them that even with the best of intentions, this usually won't happen. Picking up a spouse, car payments, mortgage payments, and kids make life too hectic for it to happen. I tell these students that marketable subjects like business and computer programming should be considered seriously as options, though, since everyone has to earn a living. I also say that it might turn out that what they think is their passion isn't really their passion. There are no guarantees.

    The above advice is meant for a minority of students. Students who can't decide what they're interested in, or who are interested in a number of areas, might be better suited studying something marketable.

    Finally, students that study physics often end up working in jobs that are not related to physics, but they usually end doing OK for themselves. And they had the chance to experience their passion for at least four years.

    Is this such a bad thing?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  19. Mar 7, 2007 #18
    I see what your saying. A lot of my peers at the start loved programming but now can't stand it and don't know what to do with themselves. I also had feelings of this on and off but now I love it again I just needed something to spark my interest in programming again.

    I guess you need to have a vision in your mind on where you want to be and what you have to do to get to that position.
  20. Mar 8, 2007 #19
    This is exactly how I feel; though I may not end up working as a physicist or even in physics, I know that right now it makes me very happy to study physics. I was telling someone the other day that I would probably end up as an engineer on some level, and he was so bewildered that I had chosen to study physics rather than just going ahead with engineering. Truth is, I spend a year deciding that I did not want to study engineering because it was so boring. Physics is very much more of a horizontal field, meaning it branches out into many applications, whereas my engineering classes are what I would call horizontal in structure- pick a topic, lets spend a semester on it.

    I am sort of a thinker and I like to ponder things. Physics allows me to express part of that desire. I do find, however, that as a person, physics is really not what I am all about. I am a musician, I enjoy literature, I have a long-term girlfriend, and you get the picture.

    These are reasons that I may get the education without someday fully making use of every aspect of it, and this does not bother me, because school does not define me.

    Anyway back on topic. If I sound a little fuzzy, well, I am nursing a scotch.
  21. Mar 9, 2007 #20
    I was intending on furthering my physics career,(Back when I was first year and my eyes where full of stars.) but feel at the moment that I should go work.

    However the job employment in South Africa is very low and thats why I'm worried.Chilling with a beer is satisfying ,but it does not solve my problem.I'm considering working abroad but don't know where and what I should apply for.
    Any advise anyone?
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