Careers in Physics

verticalbannerCareer opportunities in physics are as varied as the subject itself. The great variety of skills that the physics graduate has is an important asset in industry where technology develops rapidly. It is those transferable skills that make the difference between an employee who is merely satisfactory and one who will significantly improve the performance of the organisation concerned. This is because a physicist requires a logical and numerate mind, the ability to solve problems, communication skills (developed through report-writing and presentations), computing and practical skills, teamwork and flexibility (essential for lab work and projects) – all these abilities learned during an undergraduate course at UCC. The physicist then has a flexible approach to career paths so that in addition to the more obvious outlets in basic physics research and teaching, physicists work in such diverse areas as electronics, information technology, telecommunications, aerospace, electro-optics, electricity generation, medical physics, meteorology, geophysics, development of new materials and so on.

On completing a physics degree, the student usually has two main career options – a choice between industry or academic research. Today, there is a tendency towards furthering an education in physics with postgraduate studies regardless of whether a career in industry or research is pursued. Many physics graduates traditionally enter careers in Applied Physics and Engineering, especially Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The Department provides opportunities for achieving higher degrees either by research or coursework. The Postgraduate Diploma and the MSc in Applied Physics are intended to provide a high technical knowledge of physics for industrial applications.

Example of research areas and careers undergone by Physics graduates around the world include:

Professor of physics at the University of Bristol, UK, carrying out research on penguins.

Military Test Pilot and Co-Founder of aviation company, HopFlyt

Radar Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California

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