A physics degree sets you up well for research-based roles and positions in other sciences, it is also useful for careers in business, finance, IT and engineering...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Work experience is expected by most employers so being able to provide relevant examples in your job applications will greatly enhance your chances of success.

Some physics degrees include a year in industry to help students get practical experience. If your degree does not offer this option, you could look at gaining relevant experience in other ways.

Laboratory work, for example a part-time job as a laboratory technician or assistant, may be useful if you want a career in science.

You can also try to get involved with specialist groups of relevant professional institutions such as the Institute of Physics.

Vacation work or summer internships which develop teamwork, leadership and communication skills will also be helpful.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Employers of physics graduates include academic institutions, government research organisations and industry.

Industries employing physicists are varied and include:

  • aerospace and defence;
  • education;
  • energy;
  • engineering;
  • instrumentation;
  • manufacturing;
  • oil and gas;
  • science and telecommunications.

Physics graduates not directly using their physics degree can pursue careers in a range of sectors such as IT and consultancy, the environmental industry, financial services, legal sector, transport and utilities.

Find information on employers in engineering and manufacturing, information technology, science and pharmaceuticals, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Studying physics can help you to develop a range of skills that can be applied in many areas, both scientific and non-technical. These skills include:

  • problem solving - with a pragmatic and analytical approach;
  • reasoning - constructing logical arguments, applying analytical skills and grasping complex problems;
  • numeracy - skills in using mathematics to find solutions to scientific problems, mathematical modelling and interpreting and presenting information graphically;
  • practical skills - planning, executing and reporting experiments, using technical equipment and paying attention to detail;
  • communication - conveying complex ideas and using technical language correctly;
  • information and communication technology (ICT) - including specialist software packages and some programming.

Further study

Some of the most popular physics-related courses at postgraduate level include:

  • astrophysics;
  • quantum physics;
  • particle physics;
  • mathematical physics;
  • thermodynamics;
  • nanotechnology.

There are also many other postgraduate opportunities that you may take, including courses in marketing, finance, business, law, IT and journalism.

Some physics graduates complete a teaching qualification, while others begin a PhD to start a career in research science.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do physics graduates do?

One in ten graduates in employment in the UK are working as programmers and software development professionals. Half of more than a third of graduates who went on to further study continue their studies in physics.

Further study34.5
Working and studying5.1
Graduate destinations for physics
Type of workPercentage
Information technology20.5
Business, HR and financial19.2
Retail, catering and bar work10.6
Technicians and other professionals8.5
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what physics graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.