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Physics

Physics.18194

As a physics graduate, you will be equipped with a range of scientific, technical, computational and problem solving skills that are highly valued by employers and which will enable you to progress into a wide range of career areas. 

The most popular first career destinations for physics graduates nationally are: IT (21%), business and finance (20%), engineering (8%), education (6%) and Science (6%). (HESA - What Do Graduates Do?)

The government is keen to develop the UK’s scientific sector and has committed to invest through its 10 year Science Innovation Strategy (2014) in 8 ‘Grand Technologies’ including physics-related areas such as big data, satellites and space applications, robotics, advanced materials, nano-technology and energy.

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What skills will I gain during my degree?

In addition to your subject specific knowledge, your physics degree will equip you with a range of transferable skills including:

  • The ability to understand and solve complex problems
  • A high level of mathematical and analytical ability including the ability to model complex systems mathematically
  • Advanced computational and fundamental programming skills
  • Experimental lab and technical skills and the ability to effectively use advanced technologies and specialist instruments.
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas
  • Written and oral communication skills developed through presentations and report writing
  • Teamworking and collaboration gained through undertaking projects and tasks in pairs and small groups.

From MSci Physics to PPC Specialist

Read Jonathan's story on our blog 

Photo of Jonathan Catton 

I found the position of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Specialist at Hallam Internet, a digital marketing agency in Nottingham.

In this role I get to use my mathematical and statistical skills in a practical environment, with possibilities of coding and other such fun. I work with clients and reguarly use one of the key skills I picked up from my course – explaining technical concepts to lay people.

 
 

How can I develop my skills and experience during my degree?

Due to the wide range of potential career options and sectors open to you as a chemistry student, it is important to start to consider your options early on in your course. Look for opportunities to gain relevant experience and skills within your areas of interest whether this is in a scientific or in a non-scientific sector.

Work experience 

Summer internships are also a great way to gain experience, whether in science or non-science based roles. 

The Nottingham Internships Scheme, for example, offers a range of local paid internships with companies in Nottingham, and other sources of vacancies are listed on our work experience pages.

Find out more about work experience opportunities

Also check out:

White Rose Industrial Physics Academy WRIPA (links with Nottingham) 

WRIPA - student video case studies

School of Physics and Astronomy - internships

Year in Industry

If you want to work in the scientific sector, it is worth thinking about doing a year in industry if you are not already registered on this course. 

Contact Olga Fernholz for more information about the School of Physics Year in Industry opportunities

Develop your programming and coding skills

You should have a good grasp of the fundamentals of coding through MATLAB. Coding skills are highly valued by employers in a number of different sectors. 

If you are interested in this area, look out for opportunities to learn and try out other programming languages either through the university or via online resources such as:

Codecademy

Undergraduate Summer Scholarships

Around twelve paid summer scholarships are available
to physics undergraduate students. The research projects in the School would take place between the second and third year OR third and fourth year.  

School of Physics and Astronomy

Careers fairs and employer events

Attend sector specific careers fairs and employer events to find out more about career sectors and employers of interest.

Our events programme

Students' Union 

Get involved in activities including volunteering and societies such as PhysSoc and the STEM Outreach Society.

Students' Union

Nottingham Advantage Award

The Nottingham Advantage Award offers a range of modules to help you expand, develop and evidence your skills and experience during your time at university. 

Nottingham Advantage Award

 

What are the range of careers that I can enter?

Within the science and technology sectors, physics students are appreciated for their fundamental depth of understanding of scientific principles and their ability to apply these to solve problems as well as their technical and IT skills. 

These can lead to careers in sectors such as IT, advanced manufacturing, engineering, defence, space, medical science, meteorology, nanotechnology and energy.

In the commercial world, physicists’ numerical and problem solving skills are valued and well-utilised and business, finance and data analysis. 

Physics skills and knowledge can also be applied to a range of other sectors including patent law, science communication and teaching.

More careers information

Scientific careers

Science careers beyond the lab

More graduate careers 

Institute of Physics (IoP) - career directions

Bright Recruits - job vacancies (part of IoP)

Prospects - what can I do with my degree?

School of Physics Community Moodle page

Destinations of Nottingham graduates

Roles entered:

Technology and Computing

  • Graduate Test Analyst
  • Junior Application Developer
  • Software Development Engineer
  • Technology Consultant
  • Trainee Software Developer –

Business and Finance

  • Business Modelling Analyst - Telereal Trillium
  • Data Analyst – PWC
  • Finance Analyst – Prospera Associates

 Healthcare science

  • Medical Physicist
  • Trainee Clinical Scientist
  • Trainee Clinical Technologist
  • Trainee Healthcare Scientist

Engineering

  • Graduate Systems Engineer
  • Process Engineer

Other areas

  • Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Civil Service Fast Stream Graduate

Companies joined

  • Accenture
  • EDF Energy
  • Capgemini
  • Dorset Software
  • FDM
  • Finmeccanica
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • NHS Trusts (various)
  • Page, White and Farrer
  • The Access Group
 

What further study options do I have?

A large proportion (around 40%) of Nottingham physics graduates progress into further study.  Many choose to build on their undergraduate qualification by undertaking a physics-related masters course or PhD. Examples are shown below:

PhDs in

    • Physics
    • Astronomy
    • Particle Physics
    • Next Generation Nuclear
    • Civil Engineering
    • Semi-conductor Physics
    • Carbon Capture and Storage

Masters courses:

  • MSc Theoretical Physics
  • MSc Gravity Particles and Fields
  • MSc Computer Science
  • MSc Software Development
  • MSc Atmosphere Ocean and Climate
  • MSc Advanced Maths
  • MSc Information Technology
  • MA Building & Surveying
  • MSc Financial Mathematics 

Others opt to take a postgraduate qualification which will allow them to pursue a particular career interest such as teaching or finance.

  • PGCE Secondary Science
  • TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Certificate in Financial Mathematics
  • Association of Chartered Accountancy
  • Computer Programming
 

 

Careers and Employability Service

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email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk