Physics, Applied Physics and Astrophysics

The list below contains a sample of some of the common career paths chosen by physics majors (some fields may require additional education and/or training). The skills you develop as an undergraduate (communication, analytical/problem solving, and technical) may be used in many different occupations. However, most physics majors tend to seek work in the field of science.

COMMON CAREER PATHS:

Traditional Fields:

Acoustics 
Astronomy 
Astrophysics 
Biophysics 
Chemical Physics 
Electrical Engineering 
Electronics 
Fluid and Plasma Physics 
Geophysics 
Health Physics 
Material Science 
Mechanical Engineering 
Medical Physics 
Medicine 
Nuclear Engineering 
Optical Physics 
Solid State Physics 
Teaching

Other Fields:

Aerospace Engineering 
Automotive Engineering 
Special Effects (e.g., movies) 
Oceanography
Civil Engineering
Mining 
Computer Games
Computers (software, hardware, quality control)
Transportation
Securities, Banking, Actuary
Science journalism/Technical publications
Telecommunications 
Architect
Museums and Libraries
Meteorology
Patent Attorney
Medical Doctor
Technical Sales and Marketing

SAMPLE EMPLOYERS (extended list available at the Career Center)

Accenture 
Bain & Company 
Boeing 
Booz-Allen & Hamilton 
Corning, Inc. 
Electro Scientific Industries (ESI) 
E-OIR Measurement, Inc. 
Hewlett-Packard 
IBM 
Intel 
ITT 
Level 3 Communications

Lockheed Martin
LSI Logic Corporations
Lucent Technologies
Micron Technologies
Microsoft
Motorola
Naval Research Lab
Northrop Grumman
Qwest International
Raytheon
TRW, Inc.
Verizon Wireless

INFORMATION WEBSITES

Occupational Outlook Handbook

JOB WEBSITES

Physlink
Work in Optics
PhysicsWeb
Cern Courier
brightrecruits.com
Physics Jobs
Nature Jobs

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (includes job opportunities)

American Institute of Physics (job listings)
American Physical Society (job listings)
The Optical Society of America
Acoustical Society of America (job listings)
The Society of Rheology
American Association of Physics Teachers (job listings)
American Astronomical Society (job listings)
American Association of Physicists in Medicine (job listings for members)
AVS Science and Technology Society (job listings)
American Geophysical Union (AGU) (job listings for members)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (job listings athttp://www.nasajobs.nasa.gov)
Institute of Physics
Society of Physics Students (annual dues of $20.00)

JOB PREPARATION STRATEGIES

  • Develop public speaking skills and writing skills
  • Obtain lab and field experience via coursework and internships
  • Develop strong computer skills
  • Obtain an internship, summer or volunteer work in different fields (see SlugQuest)
  • Learn about federal, state and local government job applications process
  • Join a student branch of a professional association
  • Take a chemistry course
  • Read the American Institute of Physics booklet “Landing Your First Job”