Wednesday, July 17, 2024

What To Do With Physics Major

Don't Miss

Planning For Your Physics Career

What can you do with a physics degree?

Physics requires a strong commitment of time and effort. A student who plans to build a career as a physicist must make academic requirements his or her first priority. That means paying attention to grades, especially in math and science classes, and scoring high on the Graduate Record Exam before graduate school. In addition, future physicists should build relationships with faculty members who can write letters of recommendation.

Students who want to teach in high school should be aware that a teaching certificate is necessary to teach in public schools. Courses in education are important, as are communication and interpersonal skills. On the other hand, financial companies such as banks, insurance companies and investment firms can also make good use of the skills and critical thinking abilities of physics majors. Physics students considering a career in this industry should take classes in statistics, accounting and economics.

Students who want to apply to a medical or dental school should speak with a premedical adviser early in their college careers to determine the supplemental courses they should take before medical school. A premed student is required to take about the same amount of classwork in physics as in biology, and about a quarter of the test material on a typical medical school entrance exam is based on physics.

Physics Careers In Technology

A broad arena of continual growth and innovation, the technology sector is a constant source of new opportunities, challenges and career paths. For physics graduates, there is scope to work alongside other specialists in order to develop new ideas and products. Fields with particularly high demand for research and development workers from various backgrounds include relatively young fields such as robotics, nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Technology careers in physics may be based in public or private-sector research centers. Many opportunities for graduates are available within large technology companies such as Philips or Siemens, as these businesses are keen to attract innovative and talented researchers from around the world.

High Paying Entry Level Jobs For Physics Majors

When you think of entry level jobs for physics majors, you probably think of extremely-smart university professors working in advanced laboratories, making complex mathematical equations, and exploring the outer regions of human understanding.

If you think this way, you would not be wrong.

But there is more to jobs for physics majors than just academic study and research, and people with educations in physics are employed by all types of industry sectors. From entry level jobs for physics majors to physics careers requiring advanced doctorates, there is room for any type of education in this exciting field.

There is a need for people who understand physics in almost all sectors of the economy. Aerospace, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, and many other areas need people who understand the basic principles of physics.

If you have a talent for math and a deep curiosity for the unknown, a physics degree may be perfect for you.

But first, you need to understand the basics of physics careers, the required educations, and the best jobs for physics majors.

Read Also: How To Solve Hard Physics Problems

Key Physics Degree Statistics

  • There were 8,122 physics bachelors degrees conferred in the class of 2015, an 8% increase from the previous year and a 123% increase from the recent low in 1999. The bachelors class of 2015 represents yet another all-time high
  • Around 3,200 students were enrolled as first-year students in physics graduate programs in the U.S. for 2018-19 academic year .
  • 1 in 7 physics bachelors degree holders will choose to complete PhD in physics .
  • The United States holds 94 Nobel Prize in physics, which makes the U.S. the country with the highest number of this award.
  • In 2018, there were 8,946 physics bachelors degree conferred, as well as 935 exiting masters and 1,914 PhDs in the U.S. .
  • There are 84 departments that grant astronomy bachelors degrees in the U.S. .
  • 241 first-year graduate students were enrolled in graduate astronomy programs in the U.S. during the 2018-19 academic year .
  • 60% of physics majors who pursued postgraduate degrees a year after graduation would choose physics or astronomy programs 19% would choose engineering the remaining 21% would choose other areas of focus such as mathematics, education, liberal arts studies, law, medicine, and more .
  • 47% of PhD in physics graduates were employed in the private sector followed by four-year colleges .
  • Since the 2000s until 2019, the overall percentage of non-U.S. citizens enrolling in physics programs in the U.S. has remained at more than 40% .

Why Should I Consider Studying Physics

physics major

Are you fascinated by the workings of the world around us? Studying physics will allow you to investigate and understand the behaviours of the universe. You will explore matter, energy, space, quantum physics, technology and more.

Even if youre not sure what career you want to pursue, this diverse area of science could be the right choice for you. Physics graduates are armed with exceptional problem-solving skills, transferable to jobs in a range of roles and industries.

Read more about studying physics.

Read Also: What Is Trajectory In Physics

What Does A Physicist Do

A physicist is someone who seeks to understand the physical universe by investigating the relationship between matter and energy. Physicists study forces like gravity, electricity, and magnetism to learn why everything from particles to planets move the way they do. Without the work of physicists, we wouldn’t have x-rays, lasers, light bulbs, microwaves, solar panels, televisions, airplanes, or computers.

So, what do physicists do? Depending on their specific focus, they might conduct research into physical phenomena, analyze data, develop theories or mathematical models, or design and implement experiments. Learning how to become a physicist involves developing a solid understanding of scientific research methods and mathematical principles. The ultimate goal is to demystify the workings of the universe.

What Are The Requirements To Study A Bachelor’s

How can you know if youre even qualified to apply for a degree? Well, there are some general bachelors degree requirements that youll need to check on before you start to apply. The most important is that you will have completed your secondary school education and that you meet the minimum grade requirements before starting your bachelors degree studies.

Schools will likely ask for more information from you in the application, such as:

  • Personal essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT
  • An English language test such as TOEFL if you are not from a native-English speaking country

Most of these requirements require some level of preparation or study beforehand, such as with the SAT or ACT and the TOEFL exam. If you need letters of recommendation, you should also ask for these far in advance.

The personal essay is something that seems like it can be done quickly, but make no mistake, this task is more intimidating than it sounds! Most application essay prompts are intentionally broad so that students can write about what is most important to them in their own way. Spend a lot of time on the personal essay, as it is usually one of the only ways that admissions staff are able to get to know you on a more personal level.

You May Like: What Is Conscientiousness In Psychology

How To Ask For A Reference

At some point in your college career, you will most likely need to use someone as a reference. Before you begin the process of seeking references, read over the information below so you know how to get started. And best of luck with your scholarship, internship, or whatever you’re applying to!

  • Whoever you use as a reference should be someone you know in a professional setting who can write in detail about your strengths, personality, and accomplishments. This allows committees to learn more about you beyond what they can see by looking at your transcript.
  • Ideally, your reference will be a professor who’s taught one of your courses, a faculty or staff member supervising your research, a manager or boss of a job you’ve had, a supervisor of an internship or co-op you’ve completed, or a faculty or staff member who supervised a student organization in which you were actively involved.
  • Your reference should know you well enough to be able to:
  • Use adjectives like hard-working, reliable, dedicated, independent, enthusiastic, etc. to describe you.
  • Write about your ability to work independently as well as in a team
  • List specific, positive examples of your achievements .
  • It’s helpful if your reference knows you well enough to be able to talk about your career and academic goals.
  • Tips to keep in mind:
  • Ask sooner rather than later. It’s polite to allow your reference at least 4 weeks to write your letter or complete an online form before the deadline.
  • How Much Does Getting A Bachelor’s Cost

    What Math Classes Do Physics Majors Take?

    How much a Bachelor’s degree will cost you depends on where you would like to study. Many countries have different tuition fees for domestic and international students. Well give some average tuition fees in the chart below to give you a general idea.


    Average Cost:

    United States

    Public universities cost an average of $25,000-$35,000 in tuition and $30,000-$45,000 for private universities. Tuition may be less for US residents attending a public university in their home state.

    United Kingdom

    UK residents will pay between £1,820 and £9,250 yearly, and international students may pay between £10,000 – £61,000.


    Tuition for public universities is free for all students, and private universities cost an average of 26,000 in tuition.


    Tuition for students from the EU/EEA, other Nordic countries, and Switzerland is free. Other students pay an average of 7,500 25,500 in tuition yearly.


    Tuition for students from the EU/EEA, Nordic countries, and Switzerland is free. Other students pay an average of 2,770 for public universities and between 3,000 – 20,000 for private universities yearly.

    For those of you worried about the costs of studying abroad, there are plenty of scholarships out there to help you find your studies. Take a look at our free Scholarship Directory for a list of 440+ scholarships in 37 countries around the world.

    Recommended Reading: How Did Geography Influence The Greek Way Of Life

    What Is Physics Degree

    Derived from the Greek word physikos, physics is defined by Oxford Dictionary as the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy . Similarly, Science Daily defines this body of knowledge as the science of matter and its motion, and as an experimental science, it aims to achieve the goal of analyzing and understanding the natural world and universal phenomena.

    As a degree, physics encompasses a broad range of studies from subatomic particles to black holes and the overall structure of the universe . It is a broad and ancient field of science that is also considered its cornerstone as it provides a basis for other branches of science, including chemistry, biology, etc. According to Williams , physics is often considered as an excellent introduction to science because it immerses the students not only to the laws governing the world around them, but alsothrough the problems students solveprovides them with a way of thinking which is conducive to solving problems outside of physics and even outside of science .

    Historically, physics is divided into two broad categories, namely classical and modern physics. Classical physics covers the studies conducted from the Renaissance period through the Enlightenment and until around 1900. The fields of studies developed during this period include acoustics or the study of sound and sound waves, astronomy, meteorology, electromagnetism, optics, thermodynamics, and others.

    What Is A Ba Degree

    You might be seeing the abbreviation BA when looking for programs. Well, what is a BA degree? BA stands for Bachelor of Arts. Its the most common degree type, but no, it doesnt mean that you will only study art and it’s not the same thing as a Bachelor of Fine Arts , which is a professional degree. Theres actually a huge variety of subjects taught in a BA degree, including the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Liberal Arts. Even field like Economics can be a major for a BA degree.

    The big difference to know is that BA degrees focus mainly on theoretical knowledge and emphasize the humanities and social sciences more than BS degrees. There are some rare exceptions. In some extremely traditional universities like Oxford, BA degrees are the only degree type awarded, even for all natural science majors!

    Heres an example: A BA in Psychology would be more holistic and focused on critical thinking over research skills. You would take a diverse range of classes outside of general psychology, likely with the option to choose. A BA in Psychology might lead you to further education, such as a PhD, or even a job in a completely different field.

    Recommended Reading: What Is The Meaning Of Geography

    Better Career Prospects And Higher Potential Income

    A bachelors degree will give you the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to launch a career in your chosen field. Even if you are able to get a job in your field of interest without a college degree, studies have shown that adults with a college degree will earn more than those without. The difference is larger for some subjects over others. For example, adults with careers in engineering, business, mathematics, computer science, physical sciences, and health sciences would benefit more from a degree in terms of higher income.

    Take a look at careers in the field you’re interested in and the skills you need to land a job. If your future salary is a significant matter to you, find the average salary of careers in that field according to the degree level achieved. Keep in mind that where you live and other societal factors will play into your potential earnings.

    How Much Do Physicists Make

    What Can You Do with a Physics Degree?

    For someone who completes a physics major, salary can vary widely. It depends on your education level and the nature of your specific job. In March 2022, American Institute of Physics reported that the typical salary for a recent grad with a bachelor’s degree in physics ranged from about $25,000 for those who worked as research assistants and lab technicians in colleges and universities to about $78,000 for those who found STEM-related positions in the private sector.

    According to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, the median physicist salary in 2021 was $152,430.

    Recommended Reading: What Does Distortion Mean In Geography

    What Does Physics Teach You

    In physics, you learn about the properties of, and the interactions between, matter and energy. You explore how things move or don’t move, how they change, and what they are made of. You study light, sound, heat, and more. You look at very small things like atoms and electrons and very big things like stars and galaxies. Along the way, you develop mathematical reasoning and critical thinking skills as well as the ability to detect trends and patterns and communicate complex ideas.

    Physics is often described as the most fundamental of the sciences, and its principles can be applied in a myriad of ways. You can become a physicist by studying any one of a number of different fields of physics. Here are just a few you could choose from:

    • Atomic, molecular, and optical physics: The study of how atoms, molecules, and light interact
    • Geophysics: The study of the physical processes and properties of the earth
    • Cryogenics: The study of the behavior of materials at very low temperatures
    • Fluid mechanics: The study of how forces affect liquids, gases, and plasmas
    • Biophysics: The study of biological systems and phenomena using physical techniques
    • Nuclear physics: The study of the structure and behavior of the nucleus of an atom

    Master’s Degree In Physics

    A master’s degree in physics includes two years of lecture, laboratory, and research coursework. Core classes cover mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum technology, and mathematical physics.

    Students can specialize within the physics discipline in areas like medical physics, astrophysics, and materials science. A master’s degree in physics typically requires an in-depth research project or internship. Some programs include a thesis option, which ideal for learners who want to continue on to earn doctoral degrees in physics.

    Don’t Miss: How To Solve Geometry Problems Step By Step

    Students With Physics Degrees: Areas Of Employment

    If youre looking for career information about what to do with a physics degree and answer the question “What do physicists do in their careers?”, a good source of information is the Society of Student Physicists website.The following career fields are most popular for undergraduate degree students with a physics degree but as youve just learned, there are unlimited career options open to you:

    • Engineering: The largest percentage of graduates with a bachelors degree in physicswho are hired into a STEM professionfind a job in an engineering field.
    • Computer science, hardware and software: If you like working in computer fields, a physics degree qualifies you to work in computer hardware and software, including programming, modeling, and simulation.
    • Research and Technical: Another common career field for physics majors is performing scientific research and other work in a laboratory environment.
    • Education/physics teacher: You can earn a bachelors degree in physics to teach middle and/or high school physics and other science coursesbut you must make this choice early in your college coursework to build in time for education courses and to become qualified for teaching.
    • According to the American Institute of Physics, students with bachelors degrees from the classes of 2017 and 2018 were employed in these sectors:
    • Private sector67 percent college/university9 percent high school7 percent military6 percent government/national labs6 percent and other5 percent.

    Skills For Physics Majors

    The Physics Major

    The American Physical Society describes the skillset that physics majors cultivate: Given that physics is one of the broadest scientific disciplines, in the course of receiving a physics degree most students develop expertise with a great variety of scientific instruments and techniques. These kinds of hard skills are what make physicists so attractive to employers in physics, engineering and computer science fields.

    Some of the particulars they mention:

    • Research and problem solving
    • Modeling and simulation
    • Quality control protocol

    Additionally, the APS points out that soft skills are also vital to this work. Budding professionals should be mindful of those while training at the university. Soft skills include:

    • Cultivating strategic written and oral communication skills
    • Learning to work well on a team
    • Being a good listener

    Recommended Reading: What Does Derivative Mean In Math

    More articles

    Popular Articles