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Physics What Industries Hire Physics Masters?

  1. Jun 8, 2009 #1
    Pretty much the thread title. What kinds of industries tend to hire people with a Masters in Physics? Especially Engineering and Applied Physics.

    I understand programming is a common job for Physics graduates? If I wanted to do that, should I look for something with a computational focus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2009 #2
    Hi there,

    Do you want a list of fields where scientist worked, or a list of firms that do so.

    Let's say, apart from Universities and research centers (who would want to do that, beurk/just kidding), and the field that you choose for you studies, I would say you have a good chance in industries that deal with energy, like hydropower, nuclear power. You might also be interested in applied computer science (which Google is desperatly looking for good scientist with a fair background in programming).

    If you think your feed up with science, and would like to redirect your future career into finance, a fair amount of scientist are working for banks and insurance companies. Specially with the crisis we are going through, financial institutions are looking like never before for scientist.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Jun 9, 2009 #3
    Are financial institutions looking for scientists still? There's a strong argument that financial models taken too far got us into this mess. No one could understand them except for the rocket scientists who invented them, and they forgot to take sufficient reality checks. So now bank bosses need to, and hopefully are being forced to, understand the systems they are running. We need to go back to simple systems, and so few scientists are necessary--maybe just a few professors and government officials to stop the banks being over-complicated idiots again. Meanwhile, young physicists, don't go into banking to develop complicated/stupid models. When the economy collapses again in twenty years time just think how guilty you will feel! You will become a pariah like today's bankers. Instead, if you can't get into physics research, why not teach physics? Teachers are always admired.
  5. Jun 9, 2009 #4
    Aerospace does. But that industry is about to take a hit in the US since the government will HAVE to cut back and that is the logical starting place.
  6. Jun 10, 2009 #5
    From what I can see, scientist are still very wanted in the financial industry. Just need to look at the different sites of banks and you will find many jobs posted out for scientist.

    I don't believe the mess we're into comes from the devilish mind of a few scientist, but from overlooking the risk factors taken by some institutions. It gives a very good lesson to these institutions as not to take the safety guidelines given by some firm, as good as they are.

    If these institutions want to get out of trouble, they will have to take a certain amount of risk, no matter. Scientist can help understanding the risk factor taken.

    Teaching is a very interesting job (I can tell, I have been a teacher for 7 years). I can also say that it is not made for everyone. After a while, one can get into a routine, and don't find any challenges anymore.

    But if you are made for it, it's a pretty good job.

  7. Jun 10, 2009 #6
    I would opt for more young physics teachers but the pay isn't as great as you could get working in a private institution. Private institutions tend to pay more money than governmental jobs. As for you question, I think I can help a bit. I am always on newscientist looking at the different careers for my individual interests. Here is what I found for master level physicists...


    as for what industries would hire you governmental, private, and nonprofit industries would hire physicists like you. The link I posted is an industry based company. You should check them out as they are looking for talented people.

    (Don't mind the link though as it is not a virus or anything, it is a firefox extension that shortens long urls).

    Also, go here...


    hit anything that you studied in college and then how much you want to make and see the job listings spring up.

    Some jobs, those with a higher pay, require experience in the field but you could still try. I hope I was of some help. :)
  8. Jun 15, 2009 #7
    Thanks all for your responses.

    I ought to add that I don't actually have a Masters, just a Bachelors. I'm considering getting a Masters and am trying to decide what type to pursue. The purpose of my question was to help me decided. I guess I shouldn't go too much into that because it's off topic for the forum.
  9. Jun 15, 2009 #8


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    Wait wasnt the derivatives group at AIG a huge player in creating the crises and arent derivatives in finance synonymous with physicist/mathematicians.
  10. Jun 17, 2009 #9
    1) Sorta, but not really.

    2) Absolutely not.
  11. Jun 17, 2009 #10
    The jobs I saw one could get with a masters were primarily in defense, but there were some here and there elsewhere.

    Honestly, the best way to get a job with a masters is to make sure whatever you work on has applications in industry and make contacts while you're still in the program. I personally found it hard to crack into anything I hadn't had direct experience with, though it can certainly be done.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd plan my steps carefully. Vague advice, but important. Don't expect to get a job with a masters; expect to get a job with a masters in which you researched __________.

    Edit: The other area, besides defense (though there's obviously some overlap) I spent my time looking for work in was thin films deposition, materials characterization and quality control. I got some bites (this was well over a year ago), and I believe I could have found a job. Most of the options started me out on a very low level - essentially, a technician of some sort. I believe there would have been room for advancement, but I'm lucky and happy to say I'll never have to find out.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
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