WFU Department of Physics Wake Forest University

 

Wake Forest Physics
Nationally recognized for teaching excellence;
internationally respected for research advances;
a focused emphasis on interdisciplinary study and close student-faculty collaboration.

Physics:
A Gateway to Many Careers

 

Physics, the most basic of the sciences, has intellectual and useful aspects. The intellectual component resides in our innate desire to understand the physical characteristics of our universe. The usefulness is evident everywhere in high-tech products and computerized communications. Many of the technological advances in our modern society flow directly from physics laboratories, such as the many applications of lasers, or the possibility of high speed levitated trains relying on high temperature superconductors. Much of the equipment and technology used by other scientists and medical doctors were originally developed by physicists, including x-rays, lasers, and MRIs. These are just several examples of exciting applications which resulted from intellectual endeavors in physics. In addition, productive citizens in this technological age must have a basic understanding of physics. For example, congressmen and all citizens need an understanding of physics when they debate government appropriations for projects, such as the space program, the requirements for energy needs and energy conservation, and possible solutions to global warming.

A degree in physics provides opportunities for challenging and exciting careers in many professions, because physics teaches skills that are transferable to these professions. These skills include problem solving, analytical abilities, mathematical modeling, design and interpretation of experiments, research experience, and communication skills. The physics major is also excellent preparation for students planning to enter science related businesses, MBA School, Medical School, or Law School. Medical Schools seek out students with majors in physics because of the high-tech nature of medical care. MBA schools consider a major in physics outstanding preparation for an understanding of manufacturing and the high-tech aspect of our economy. Just a few of the many careers that are open to you by pursuing a degree in physics are listed below.

 

 

Possible careers with a degree in physics:

  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Biophysics
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Patent Law
  • Management
  • Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Radiology
  • Meterology
  • Imaging
  • Technician
  • Journalism
  • Actuarial Science
  • Financial Planning

 

 

 

Visit the Physics Today Jobs career portal for resources including career planning, development, job fairs, and a job search engine.

 

Facts you should know about being a physics major:

(Compiled from studies by the American Institute of Physics)

  • Its not necessary to go to graduate school to get a good job: five to eight years after graduating, about one-third of people who earned bachelor’s degrees in physics do not have any additional degrees
  • Many career paths are open to you with a physics degree: three-fourths of physics bachelors work in science-related jobs, including software, engineering, high school teachers, and managers in technical fields
  • Over three quarters of physics bachelor’s recipients would choose to study physics again

Did you know? Physics in everyday life...

(Compiled from information provided by the American Institute of Physics and WFU Physics professors)

  • An amusement park, with its roller coasters and many rides, uses many concepts, such as acceleration, momentum, gravitational potential energy, and weightlessness, that you learn in introductory physics courses
  • Concepts from physics and aerodynamic engineering are used to help race car teams reduce drag and increase traction
  • The concept of momentum, taught in physics courses, shows that a karate strike aimed slightly behind the target achieves the most force

Guidance for Physics Undergraduate Students

If you are interested in finding out more about careers in physics, visit our Career Advising page.

Another great resource for information on careers in physics, how well physics majors do on MCAT exams, what starting salaries physics bachelors degree graduates are offered, etc. can be found on the following informative website maintained by the American Physical Society (the main professional society of physicists in the United States): http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/career.html

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100 Olin Physical Laboratory
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7507
Phone: (336) 758-5337, FAX: (336) 758-6142
E-mail:
wfuphys@wfu.edu