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What to do with a physics degree..

  1. May 16, 2015 #1
    So I'm currently enrolled at a college with a great physics program and signed up and on course to be a physics major. I'm working on doing research to see what kind of jobs a physics major does and I figured here would be a could place to ask. I love everything about physics but I get mixed answered when I try to find out what jobs there are for a bachelor in physics. I would probably make my focus in it astrophysics. If anyone could generalize for me the job market for that I would greatly appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Checkout the APS site. They have job posting that can give you ideas on what work physicists may do.


    Look for the Careers in Physics tab and start there.
  4. May 17, 2015 #3
    I think the main, and perhaps only, reason one should do a physics BS is to go on to a physics PhD. That is really the only job a physics BS specifically trains you for. Otherwise, you should at least consider graduate school in some other area after your physics BS. Engineering, education and computer science seem to be popular graduate programs for physics graduates.
  5. May 17, 2015 #4
    @ModusPwnd: I do agree that a bachelors in physics specifically trains one for a PhD in physics, but it isn't the only path.

    For example, few of graduating students in my school this year went to software engineering, and a good portion of physics graduates (both BS and PhD) go into finance (quantitative analysis).

    I think you can open yourself to many different careers by taking some courses (or learning on your own, which I would prefer) in different fields, such as engineering, finance, econ, etc... Also, absolutely learn coding, because it will be useful no matter where you go into, be it research or engineering, finance, ...

    EDIT: Check out the education section of this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative_analyst
  6. May 17, 2015 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Your post is a bit confusing.

    You asked for the types of jobs available for a physics major with only a B.Sc degree, but then you want to focus on "astrophysics".

    Here's the deal:

    1. While a lot of people do stop at a B.Sc in physics, they typically do NOT work as a physicist or in higher-level physics research. That is not probable because of the required knowledge/expertise, and the fact that there are a lot of physics Ph.D out there looking for jobs. The competition alone will make this highly improbable for you to be hired in such a position. So I expect the same with astrophysics.

    2. If you do intend on stopping at a B.Sc., then you should try to make yourself as "employable" as possible during your undergraduate years for jobs outside of physics/astrophysics. This means taking a lot of experimental work, labs, and programming. Load yourself up with lots of skills that you think employers might want.

    Please read Part VIII of my So You Want To Be A Physicist essay.

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