Employability

Physics graduates are highly employable and their career options are very wide. You may go on to apply your physics knowledge directly in a scientific or engineering environment, or might use your mathematical knowledge in finance, your computing skills in software, or your problem-solving skills in business.

94% of our physics graduates go directly into in Graduate Employment or Further Study (HESA DLHE Survey – Birmingham 2016 graduates), and Birmingham consistently ranks near the top of Russell Group universities for physics graduate employability. Graduate Employment includes sectors such as scientific, engineering, business, law, finance, IT/software, consultancy, teaching, and approximately 1-in-3 graduates who continue with further study are studying for a PhD.

Careers support provided is provided at all stages of your undergraduate physics degree, including: careers fairs, talks, and career-focused skills modules.

What makes physics graduates employable?

A fundamental understanding of the wide range of core and specialised physics topics will make you highly employable. You can apply this knowledge directly at graduation to a range of careers including scientific research, defence, medical physics, energy or telecommunications. Alternatively, you can combine this physics expertise with other skills to work in careers such as science communication, patent law or teaching. The physics courses at Birmingham are all accredited by the Institute of Physics so employers are confident in our graduates’ scientific knowledge.

Mathematics is the language of physics, so as one of our graduates you will be an excellent mathematician as well. Many graduates decide to apply this mathematical understanding to careers outside of physics, in sectors including meteorology, statistics or financial services.

Physicists are problem-solvers at heart and throughout your degree you will learn how to tackle a variety of problems and develop the breadth of understanding to apply this to many different areas. As such, employers from a wide range of industries wish to employ physics graduates for these analytical skills. You might end up working in operational research, business or consultancy.

You will gain a firm grasp of programming during the first two years of your physics degree, and if you have a particular interest in this area you can choose projects and modules based on data analysis, simulation or numerical studies that allow these skills to be developed further. Many of our graduates are employed in careers that depend on computing skills such as software engineering or data analysis.

As well as all of these specific skills our graduates are equipped with a variety of transferable skills, ensuring that you will be highly employable whichever field you enter. For example, writing reports, essays and seminars develops evaluation and communication skills. The project work you will undertake demonstrates organisation, planning and teamwork.

Further study

Over 40% of our students go on to further study after graduating, with around two-thirds of those being research leading to a PhD, a route open directly after completing an MSci degree. As well as being the main route into academic research, a PhD also opens the door to many careers that need specific advanced scientific knowledge. The most compelling reason to do a PhD is love of the subject, and the high number of our graduates choosing this route illustrates the satisfaction of students who study with us.

The remaining third of students who carry on to further study either take a specialised postgraduate Masters in subjects such as a very specific branch of physics, or engineering or computing, or they are pursuing a postgraduate teaching qualification such as a PGCE or PGDipEd.

Career support

There are many, many options open to physics graduates so we work hard to ensure that you can find the right one for you and to provide any support you might need in securing the career you want. The School has an academic careers tutor who oversees the careers support within the School. This includes organising an annual Physics careers fair, talks, and running career-focused activities in the Physics and Communication Skills module.

The University Careers Network is a team of specialist careers advisors who will support you throughout your studies and up to two years after you graduate. They provide support, guides, workshops and one-on-one sessions in areas such as CV writing, interview preparation, finding an internship and mentoring.

In the School of Physics and Astronomy, you will be part of the University's College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Our alumni span from new graduates to Nobel Prize winners, and they are making important things happen across the world. Many impart knowledge and inform change, some influence government policy or lead multi-national companies, but all have a foundation here in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. 

Find out about our graduates