Physics provides a training in how to
solve problems. It also equips graduates with mathematical and information
technology skills. Consequently a vast range of career options are
available for a physics graduate, options which need not necessarily
directly use physics. For instance, the CEOs of several large Australian
companies are physicists. Physicists face the world with confidence
and know where to obtain the information they need to complete a
task. Of particular interest for many students will be the Double
Degrees we offer, such as Science/Law, Science/Commerce, Science/Arts
and Science/Engineering, with Physics as the principal scientific
component. These degrees teach a broad range of skills, including
the scientific methodology so important in solving problems, and
provide recognised professional qualifications in the second discipline.
Higher degrees such as the MSc or PhD are an essential prerequisite
for a career in research. The School offers a vigorous research
program where these degrees can be obtained through the submission
of a thesis by research.
Physicists are thus employed in an extensive
range of activities, both within and outside the discipline itself.
Some of the opportunities include:
- Astrophysics. Astronomical observatories
are high-technology institutions, employing skilled scientists
with engineering, electronic, computing and optical backgrounds,
as well as astronomers. While the field is competitive, Australia
has a proud record in astronomy. There are many opportunities
both within Australia and abroad for astronomical careers. For
example, in 1998 eight members of the Department of Astrophysics
found employment at major observatories around the world.
- Postdoctoral fellowships in universities
and government laboratories, where you conduct independent research.
- Technical and professional officers
in universities, industrial and government laboratories.
- Research positions in CSIRO, Defence
laboratories or industry (such as BHP, CSR, ICI and Telstra).
- Teaching at schools, TAFE and universities.
There is currently a severe shortage of qualified physics teachers.
- Medical physics, including biophysics
and bioengineering, associated with hospitals, health departments
and medical research.
- Engineering. The best engineers are
those who also understand and can apply physics.
- Industrial Physics, such as manufacturing,
communications, electronics & biomedical technology.
- Commonwealth and State Public Service,
jobs requiring an understanding of basic scientific processes,
even if not directly using that science.
- Scientific sales and management,
especially in the computer industry.
- Computing and computing science.
The experience gained as a physicist, using computers to solve
physics problems, is usually regarded by employers in the industry
as more valuable than that of graduates who simply have a computing
- Environmental science, including
studying global climate change. Many of these problems require
a sound physics background, often as a member of an interdisciplinary
- Optoelectronics, including communication
and data storage & retrieval using lasers, is one of the fastest
growing areas in science and technology. Its impact on the world
in the 21st century is likely to be as great and extensive as
electronics was in the 20th century.
- Management. Successful managers require
a great many skills, and the ability to recognise and solve problems
is one of the most important. A training in physics prepares you
for this need.
- Finance. The mathematical model building
and problem-solving skills of physicists are in great demand in
the financial sector.
For further information about the School
of Physics please contact: