The Student Room Group

Employability of physics graduates

Aspiring physics student here. Do you guys think that it is a good idea to study physics (because I am really interested in the subject) first and then try to get a higher degree in another field (lDK maybe an application focused subject like engineering?) that makes me more employable? Is it possible to do that?

I'm not really interested in pursuing Acedemia because I've heard that its very stressful having to apply for funding and doing experiments for the rest of my life does not really appeal to me.

For example, I know some choices other than doing research are finance, programming, and medical physics (?). But are those common? How difficult is it to go into other fields and how competitive are physics graduates from, say, a russel group uni?
Original post by randall7731
Aspiring physics student here. Do you guys think that it is a good idea to study physics (because I am really interested in the subject) first and then try to get a higher degree in another field (lDK maybe an application focused subject like engineering?) that makes me more employable? Is it possible to do that?

I'm not really interested in pursuing Acedemia because I've heard that its very stressful having to apply for funding and doing experiments for the rest of my life does not really appeal to me.

For example, I know some choices other than doing research are finance, programming, and medical physics (?). But are those common? How difficult is it to go into other fields and how competitive are physics graduates from, say, a russel group uni?


@Sinnoh may be able to help, thanks:smile:
Original post by randall7731
Aspiring physics student here. Do you guys think that it is a good idea to study physics (because I am really interested in the subject) first and then try to get a higher degree in another field (lDK maybe an application focused subject like engineering?) that makes me more employable? Is it possible to do that?

I'm not really interested in pursuing Acedemia because I've heard that its very stressful having to apply for funding and doing experiments for the rest of my life does not really appeal to me.

For example, I know some choices other than doing research are finance, programming, and medical physics (?). But are those common? How difficult is it to go into other fields and how competitive are physics graduates from, say, a russel group uni?

Yes it is common.

Being from a physics grad from a Russell Group uni unless you are coming from the likes of Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial will not positively impact your employability above non-RG grads. No one cares about the RG and I doubt you can find an employer or recruiter that can even list RG universities beyond the three I have just mentioned.

What they will care about however is work experience through at least one internship or a placement year + your ability to pass technical tests like Leetcode questions, and that is something you need to work on in your spare time.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Blue_Cow
Yes it is common.

Being from a physics grad from a Russell Group uni unless you are coming from the likes of Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial will not positively impact your employability above non-RG grads. No one cares about the RG and I doubt you can find an employer or recruiter that can even list RG universities beyond the three I have just mentioned.

What they will care however is work experience through at least one internship or a placement year + your ability to pass technical tests like Leetcode questions, and that is something you need to work on in your spare time.


PRSOM :biggrin:
Reply 4
Original post by randall7731
Aspiring physics student here. Do you guys think that it is a good idea to study physics (because I am really interested in the subject) first and then try to get a higher degree in another field (lDK maybe an application focused subject like engineering?) that makes me more employable? Is it possible to do that?

I'm not really interested in pursuing Acedemia because I've heard that its very stressful having to apply for funding and doing experiments for the rest of my life does not really appeal to me.

For example, I know some choices other than doing research are finance, programming, and medical physics (?). But are those common? How difficult is it to go into other fields and how competitive are physics graduates from, say, a russel group uni?


Finance and programming are very common for physics graduates, yes. Also consultancy.
If you are interested in engineering then doing a standalone master's could help, but with the right internships during your degree you could be able to do it straight after graduating.
But yeah, the most employable thing you can do is be good at those goddamn aptitude tests. That's the state of things.
Original post by Blue_Cow
Yes it is common.

Being from a physics grad from a Russell Group uni unless you are coming from the likes of Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial will not positively impact your employability above non-RG grads. No one cares about the RG and I doubt you can find an employer or recruiter that can even list RG universities beyond the three I have just mentioned.

What they will care about however is work experience through at least one internship or a placement year + your ability to pass technical tests like Leetcode questions, and that is something you need to work on in your spare time.


Yeah, thanks! I guess I will need to be on the lookout for internships in the future.

What do you think of Manchester's physics department? I think that the physics department is quite strong. Is it good considering their Nobel prize in 2010 and Brian Cox as a lecturer (not sure if these two are good measures though, but they're quite cool, I guess)? Or that does not really help for employers?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Sinnoh
Finance and programming are very common for physics graduates, yes. Also consultancy.
If you are interested in engineering then doing a standalone master's could help, but with the right internships during your degree you could be able to do it straight after graduating.
But yeah, the most employable thing you can do is be good at those goddamn aptitude tests. That's the state of things.


Thanks! So probably a physics degree would not damage my future job prospects as long as I search for the right internships in uni? That's good to know.:biggrin:

What kind of internships would you recommend?

Right, I am working on the NSAA right now, and I think that Imperial had just introduced a new test for physics applicants.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by randall7731
Yeah, thanks! I guess I will need to be on the lookout for internships in the future.

What do you think of Manchester's physics department? I think that the physics department is quite strong. Is it good considering their Nobel prize in 2010 and Brian Cox as a lecturer (not sure if these two are good measures though, but they're quite cool, I guess)? Or that does not really help for employers?

Employers don't care how many Nobel prize winners are associated with a university. It doesn't help their bottomline at all! It's cool, but it's not really relevant when it comes to employability.
Original post by randall7731
Aspiring physics student here. Do you guys think that it is a good idea to study physics (because I am really interested in the subject) first and then try to get a higher degree in another field (lDK maybe an application focused subject like engineering?) that makes me more employable? Is it possible to do that?

I'm not really interested in pursuing Acedemia because I've heard that its very stressful having to apply for funding and doing experiments for the rest of my life does not really appeal to me.

For example, I know some choices other than doing research are finance, programming, and medical physics (?). But are those common? How difficult is it to go into other fields and how competitive are physics graduates from, say, a russel group uni?


I've just recently graduated from my MPhys degree and I have to say that it is incredibly common for physics grads to go off into those different fields. I'm going into finance, for example, and I know a very very large proportion of students are doing the same thing!

Academia, PhDs and so on are very very different from undergrad and a lot, including myself, just want to go off and work instead after the degree!

(And of course, if you're thinking of engineering in the long term, why not do an engineering degree? There is a huge amount of physics information in that degree also! Less theoretical but its still physics! :biggrin:)

I would say, don't worry too much, if you're doing a STEM degree its incredibly easy to get a majority of jobs (except for, say, specific ones like medicine and so on). If you enjoy physics, definitely just do it as a degree. Who knows, maybe once you do some undergrad laboratory work you might start to like it a lot more! Lab at university is incredibly incredibly different from sixth form level! :biggrin:
Reply 9
Original post by randall7731
Thanks! So probably a physics degree would not damage my future job prospects as long as I search for the right internships in uni? That's good to know.:biggrin:

What kind of internships would you recommend?

If you wanted to get into engineering then... engineering internships. Have a look on Gradcracker or some other careers site like that.
In any case physics is quite an employable degree anyway. Your day-to-day job probably won't involve finding solutions to the Dirac equation, but I notice people on here sometimes think that if they can't work in the field of the degree, then it isn't employable - which is nonsense. Non-specialist graduate jobs tend to just ask for a degree, never mind what subject.

Right, I am working on the NSAA right now, and I think that Imperial had just introduced a new test for physics applicants.

I don't mean the ones for university. When you apply for internships and jobs they have their own aptitude tests which are more generalised, but they're very important for filtering out applications.
(edited 1 year ago)

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