Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

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 (32.1%)
  • business and finance (17.3%)
  • engineering (8.7%),
  • education 7.6%
  • science (7.3%).

(Source: HECSU – What Do Graduates Do? 2020/21). 

 

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.
 

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 physics 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.

Find work experience 

Summer internships are 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

Explore a Year in Industry

A Year in Industry placement is a way to acquire invaluable professional skills and gain insights into a profession while you study. It also increases your employability. 

School of Physics & Astronomy - Industrial experience

Try 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 & Astronomy - summer scholarships

Get involved in Students' Union activities

Get involved in activities including volunteering and societies such as NatSciSoc.

Students' Union

Join the 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

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

 

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.

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

  • Teacher
  • Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Civil Service Fast Stream Graduate

Companies joined

  • Accenture
  • BT
  • Capital One
  • Deloitte
  • EDF Energy
  • Capgemini
  • Dorset Software
  • Experian
  • FDM
  • Finmeccanica
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • MBDA Missile Systems
  • NHS Trusts (various)
  • Page, White and Farrer
  • The Access Group
 

Careers fairs - employers with vacancies to fill

Physics Industry Recruitment and Placement Fair

The White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA) holds an annual recruitment and placements fair in October. The employers who come to the fair are specifically interested in hiring physics students.

It is an excellent chance to explore the breadth of career opportunities, find out about Year in Industry placements, summer internships and research projects in sectors from aerospace engineering and nuclear energy to scientific consultancy and software development.

Find out more about the fair

Engineering, Science and Technology Fair

Our fair, also in October, hosts employers who are looking to recruit UoN students for graduate roles and internships. You will find companies recruiting in areas directly related to your subject as well as those offering a broader range of graduate and internship opportunities that you might want to consider.

Find out more about careers fairs at Nottingham

Explore more...

Institute of Physics (IoP) - Where physics could take you: Career paths

White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA)

Scientific careers

Science careers beyond the lab

Careers with medical physics includes case study videos

More graduate careers 

Bright Recruits - job vacancies (part of IoP)

Prospects - what can I do with my degree?

School of Physics Community Moodle page

 

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
 

Chris, Senior Software Developer

UoN alumnus, Chris talks about what his role involves, how he uses the skills from his degree in his job and his top tips for students thinking about their next step.

Katie, Software Developer

UoN alumna, Katie talks about how she uses the skills from her degree in her job. She also offers advice to those graduating or looking for work experience.

 

Catherine, Trainee Patent Attorney

UoN PhD alumna, Catherine talks about her career journey, what she enjoyed about her studies and the key skill from studying physics she uses every day.

Jake, Graduate Systems Engineer

UoN alumnus, Jake talks about his role, how his studies prepared him for his current role and his ambitions for the future. 

 

From MSci Physics to PPC Specialist

Photo of Jonathan Catton

Read Jonathan's story on our blog 

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 regularly use one of the key skills I picked up from my course – explaining technical concepts to lay people.

 

 

Careers and Employability Service

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email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk