University of Bath

Career options for Physics researchers

Find out about the different career options available if you're undertaking research in Physics.

Career options

Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options for researchers page for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that are may be suitable for Physics researchers. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career moves. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your time as a Physics researcher which are complementary to the scientific and technical skills you might think define your career choice.

Options with Physics

If you'd like to continue using your Physics and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath Physics doctoral graduates have gone on to do.

This covers the most obvious choices (academic, commercial and public sector physics jobs) but there are many other options.

Science-related options

You might want to continue in science as a whole, but leave the lab behind. There are many occupations in which your PhD would be valuable, including medical physics, meteorology, data science, artificial intelligence, communications engineer, science communication, operational researcher, patent attorney, regulatory affairs, scientific market analyst, software engineer, science strategy and policy, scientific publishing or technical writing. Teaching can also be an attractive option.

To find out more about what these jobs involve, check out the 'Information Sources' section below.

Options outside of your subject

If, having got to this stage, you're not sure that you want to use your Physics any more, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to analysing policy for governmental departments. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. For information on different types of jobs, explore the occupational profiles on the Prospects.ac.uk.

One sector that particularly welcomes Physics PhDs is the finance sector. Investment banks, actuarial firms, accountants and professional services organisations value your numerical and problem-solving skills highly. Some may have slightly different recruitment pathways for PhD graduates so it is worthwhile checking on company websites. The role of quantitative analyst, which usually requires a PhD in a quantitative subject, involves using research and analytical skills to design financial models used in trading and assessing financial risk. Quantitative analysts are employed in financial institutions including banks, hedge funds and investment banks. For more information on this role, view the Finance Train website and the Banking Blog on The Guardian website

Information sources

Some key resources to help you find out more about career options for physicists:

Where to look for jobs in Physics

See the vacancies page for academic, research and research-related jobs.

Other pages for researchers