Start preparing for your future
Career and Professional Development Services
Tips for starting your journey
Where to begin
Look at the career paths other physics graduates have taken. This will help you to determine what careers would suit your interests and also what it takes to get there.
Here are some resources to help get you started on career exploration:
- Career Pathways and Advice
- Physics Career Planning Self-Assessment
- Physicist Profiles
- Job Prospects in Physics
- Common Careers of Physicists in the Private Sector
- "What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?"
- "Briefly describe your duties and responsibilities in your current job."
- Research Areas - Look over the different areas within physics. Once you know what area interests you most, you will have a sense of what career will fit you best. Once you have found an area of interest reach out to faculty in that area to discuss joining their research group. Having research experience as an undergraduate will help boost your application when applying to graduate school.
Depending on the career path you have chosen, you may need a graduate degree. Use GradSchoolShopper to look up the different graduate schools that thrive in your field. Take a look at these helpful resources: Physics PhDs 1 Year Later and Who's Hiring Physics PhDs?
Interested in the medical field? There are various health related career paths you can take.
Whether you want to go into the private sector or pursue a PhD, you'll need references. Make yourself known to your professors by attending office hours, setting up one-on-one meetings, and attending department events. The best letters of recommendation come from those that know you in and outside of the classroom.
Find a Mentor
Use ASU's mentorship platform to connect to faculty, students, and professionals in your field of interest.
Find an internship that is applicable to your chosen field. Gain experience early on so you can build skills that are desirable to employers. Use Handshake, Indeed, LinkedIn, and other job sites to find available positions. Sites like APS.org and AIP.org may also be helpful in your search.
Research is an important part of your graduate school application. Having this type of experience shows your level of competency in a lab, your ability to work with other students and faculty, and your eagerness to contribute to the physics community.
Not all careers are created equal. Take time to figure out if you need additional skills that your degree did not provide. These skills could include: programming, industry knowledge, grant writing, project management, or even public speaking.
Conferences provide students with the opportunity to learn about research conducted by their peers and in some instances provides students with the ability showcase their own research.
Held in April, The Department of Physics provides a forum for undergraduate students majoring in physics to present their research. In addition to gaining valuable communication skills, participating students are eligible to win one of several awards.
Provides undergraduate women the opportunity to experience a physics conference, gain information on graduate schools and physics careers, network with like minded individuals and learn about current physics research.
Enables students to participate and learn about research happening in their region.
provide students with...
- Undergraduate research sessions
- Career and professional development workshops
- Graduate school fair - March only
- Networking opportunities
More information on APS meetings and events can be found, here.
Applying to graduate school
Find a graduate program
Finding the right graduate program is more than just a great location. Students should consider a university's specific faculty, funding, notable research, and research area openings.
GradSchoolShopper.com is a database that compiles information on graduate programs within the physical sciences.
If you would like information on the climate for women in physics, APS has compiled 92 surveys from various institutions regarding inclusion.
Interested in studying medicine? Check out ASU's Pre-health website for information on various medical programs.
Use this document provided by Career and Professional Development Services to help narrow down graduate programs.
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)
For information on test prep, go to career.asu.edu/grad-school-and-test-prep
The GRE (R) General Test is completed by students who wish to attend graduate school. Students are encouraged to check graduate school admissions for their specific program to determine if the GRE General Test is required. The Princeton Review Test Prep is available to ASU Students FREE of cost. Click here to register for a review.
The Physics Subject test is important and required for most physics PhD programs. The test may also be required for physics master's programs. To determine if this exam is required, check the admission requirements at your intended graduate school.
Fall Dates: September and October
Spring Dates: April
The Medical College Admission Test
The MCAT is an exam completed by students who are applying to medical school.
Apply to graduate school
Students should start communicating with their faculty recommenders first semester of their senior year. Students should seek letters from internship supervisors, faculty research advisors, faculty mentors, and instructors. The best recommendation letters are from faculty who can speak to a student's character outside of the classroom.
Your personal statement is an important way to let program committees know why you are applying to their program and how you would contribute as a student.
Resume or CV
Creating a CV for graduate school will help showcase all of your achievements that may not be visible on your transcript. You'll want to include any research, internships, or community service you have participated in.
Here are some popular places that offer internships:
Where are they now?
View list of careers for recent ASU physics graduates
|Tutor/Camp Leader||All Around Math Learning||Tempe|
|Government Relations Specialist||American Physical Society||Washington D.C.|
|Process Support Engineer||Applied Materials||Chandler|
|Teacher Assistant||Arizona State University||Tempe|
|Teacher||BASIS Educational Group||Chandler|
|Technician Assistant||Don Air, LLC||Scottsdale|
|Materials Scientist||Headway Technologies, Inc||San Jose|
|Electrical Engineer 2||Racion||Tucson|
|Administrator||Stoneman Law Patent Group||Phoenix|
|Director, Photography||282 Studios, LLC||Tempe|
|File Clerk||Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi P.C.||Phoenix|
|Research Assistant||Arizona State University, Biodesign Institute||Tempe|
|Consultation Agent||Best Buy||Chandler|
|Director, Flight||Challenger Space Center||Peoria|
|Regulatory Affairs Associate||CR Bard||Tempe|
|Research Analyst||Global Patent Solutions||Scottsdale|
|Process Engineer||Intel Corporation||Hillsboro|
|Intern, Application||Nanoscience Instruments||Phoenix|
|Failure Analysis Engineer||Soraa||Fremont|
|Process Engineer, Senior||American Society for Microbiology, Arizona/Southern Nevada Branch||Phoenix|
|Engineer||Boeing Company, The||St. Louis|
|Space Vehicle Controller||Boeing Company, The||Springfield|
|Software Engineer||Demandbase Inc||San Francisco|
|Associate, Senior||Discover Financial Services||Phoenix|
|Process Engineer||Lam Researcg Corporation||Fremont|
|Photonics Engineer||Optilab, LLC||Phoenix|
|Field Application Engineer||Radiall||Tempe|
|Assistant Director, Finance||-||Sedona|
|Tutor||Chandler-Gilbert Community College||Chandler|
|Unit Process Engineer||IBM Corporation||Albany|
|Software Engineer||Intel Corporation||Chandler|
|Systems Engineer||Orbital ATK, Inc||Gilbert|
|Traffic Support Lead||Sports Entertainment Services||Phoenix|
|Legal Assistant||Suzette Lorrey-Wiggs P.C.||Tempe|