Graduate careers advice: you and your physics degree

22 Jun 2023, 13:21

Physics graduates can use their skills across a wide range of industries, with employers placing great value on the technical and analytical approach to work that a physics degree can bring.

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Graduate careers advice on what you can do with your physics degree.

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However, a science degree is coveted by many employers across a wide range of areas and some of the other areas that you could be suited to include:

Work experience

Getting hands on practical experience as part of your degree provides you with an excellent basis for entering the world of work, and choosing the right area in which to apply your physics degree. Finding laboratory related internship or work experience positions can be difficult due to the high degree of sensitivity surrounding many areas of physics, particularly very technical roles, so you may need to be more flexible in terms of how you obtain some workplace experience. Speculative applications are welcomed by most employers, once they are properly presented and articulated. Physics is a highly specialised area and employers will value your skills, but like any area there will always be competition, so even if you can’t get a physics related role in a company, try and gain some exposure to the industry by taking a role in some other capacity within a company whose primary focus is physics, even if it’s in marketing, business development or administration. Keep an eye on internships and opportunities on gradireland here

What sectors?

Due to the wide application of physics across many career areas, there are a lot of opportunities, but the majority of employers operate in the chemical sector or related industries including:

  • Energy
  • Education
  • Defence
  • Engineering
  • Metallurgical
  • Oil and gas
  • Space exploration
  • Science and communications

As we said earlier, the transferable skills inherent in a science degree like physics means that there will also be a significant amount of opportunities in sectors like the tech sector, health and medical institutions, research bodies, agencies and universities in addition to public sector positions. Getting the right experience and following up on any necessary postgraduate study will be vital to finding the exact role that you want.

Your physics CV

The sheer range of skills that a science degree gives you means that it can be hard to condense everything into a well presented CV. As part of the basis of physics, you will have learned excellent laboratory techniques which can be used in the more traditional forms of physics or indeed transfer into the medical or biological spheres, or engineering, physics, earth sciences or geology.

Some of the transferable skills which you can add to your CV would likely include the following:

  • Numeracy
  • Collaborative skills and team work
  • Initiative and team leadership
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent record keeping and maintenance
  • Technology skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Strong researching and reasoning ability
  • Excellent organisation and time management
  • Resourcefulness, problem-identifying and solving and analytical skills

Postgraduate study

Physics, like most areas of science, is one that has a significant amount of postgraduate study opportunities. In fact, postgraduate study is often expected by many employers in order to gain particular skills at Masters or even PhD level. Normally, the choice of a postgraduate course would be to deepen the level of knowledge of the area of physics studied at undergraduate level, for instance biophysics, crystallography or forensic science. Studying to a Masters or PhD level will provide you with both a greater depth of practical, sectoral skills and theoretical knowledge of your chosen area.

Some areas you could choose to pursue further study in include the following:

  • Quantum physics
  • Particle physics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Astrophysics
  • Thermodynamics

For more information on the course that would suit you, visit our Further Study section to browse courses and get information on particular courses and institutions.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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