Physics Career, Graduate, and Professional School Opportunities

Undergraduate physics majors go on to a wide variety of careers, ranging from physics to other sciences, engineering, law, business or entrepreneurship, technology, and medicine.

Two-thirds of physics graduates have pursued advanced degree programs in areas like:

  • Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Meteorology
  • Nuclear power

Our physics graduates have attended graduate programs all across the country, including:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • Iowa State University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ohio State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University
  • SUNY, Stony Brook
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison

Morris physics alumni frequently join industry or government research entities and have moved from Morris to diverse occupations, including:

  • Astronomer
  • Astrophysicist
  • Attorney
  • Computer network specialist
  • Computer operations manager
  • Electrical engineer
  • Financial analyst
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Naval officer
  • Physician
  • Physicist
  • Power systems engineer
  • Quality control engineer
  • Research assistant
  • Software analyst
  • Software engineer
  • Teacher

With the increasing need for employees with strong high-tech experience, a physics degree is a powerful credential for recent graduates seeking to enter the workplace. Major corporations like 3M, Alliant, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Siemens, General Electric, DuPont, and scores of smaller technology firms are regularly in search of candidates with the analytical and problem-solving skills developed while earning a physics degree.

A lot of information about the initial employment of physics bachelors can be found in this publication from the Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics.

Nationally, about 57% of physics bachelors move on to graduate studies (MS and/or PhD), while 32% find full-time employment in the private sector, government agencies (including national laboratories) and in the education system. The cited brochure will give more detail on salaries and types of careers for freshly graduated physicists with bachelor degrees.

If you consider going on to Graduate school, you might find these employment data for freshly graduated Masters in physics helpful and study focused on PhD physicists who entered the private sector.

Physics graduates have many career options open to them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook includes projected growth and median salaries for many occupations. A handful of those most closely related to the experiences of our recent graduates are listed here:

Occupation Projected Growth Median Salary 2010
Computer Programmer -8% $79,530
Electrical Engineer 0% $95,230
Lawyer 6% $115,820
Mathematician 21% $111,110
Mechanical Engineer 5% $83,590
Physicist (Ph.D.) 8% $110,980
Physics Teacher (high school) 6% $57,200
Sales Engineer 7% $97,650
Software Developer 17% $100,690

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Growth projections are for 2014-2024.