do physics masters do?
Physics masters work primarily in science, engineering, and
education, although their occupations differ sharply by employment
setting. Physics masters are, in general, more likely than bachelors
to be hired into positions with supervisory responsibility and
frequently use advanced knowledge and technical skills to solve
There are about 35,000 physics PhDs in the workforce. Nearly half of
physics PhDs work in academia. Slightly less work in the private
sector in corporate labs conducting long-term research. About
one-quarter of physics PhDs work in Federally Funded Research and
Development Centers, government laboratories, or federal agencies
with a scientific mission. Most of these physicists are engaged in
long-term research, but a variety of other activities including
management and policy formation is also common.
descriptions are difficult to quantify in this field. The physicist
might work in a laboratory, designing materials for computer chips
or smashing atomic particles. Physicists have orbited the Earth and
explored the oceans. Physics majors build instruments that diagnose
disease; they develop better and more efficient fuels for cars and
homes; they calculate the movement of Arctic glaciers, and they
create smaller, faster electronic components for computers.
physicists in research and development, especially those employed at
universities, help increase our overall scientific knowledge. More
often, they conduct research for government agencies or for private
sector companies to develop new devices for the marketplace. They
also design equipment or find new uses for older technology.
physicists have greatly enhanced the well being of patients through
the application of physics. Such advances as computer tomography,
laser treatments for cancer, and the X-ray have improved health care
over the years and led to more effective diagnosis and treatment of
college or university level physics, higher-level positions in basic and
applied research in private industry or in government labs, biomedical
are even careers in the financial industry that require modeling
skills that are a natural part of graduate study in physics.