Learn more about what’s on offer to help you become 'work-ready' after completing a physics course.
Kay Pearson, our Employability and Professional Skills Advisor, works on a range of opportunities for students and employers to connect throughout the academic year. These range from employer talks in the department, work experience placements (summer and year-long) to mentoring by employers and CV/interview support for job applications.
Undergraduate and masters
If you are thinking of doing an undergraduate or masters course, then see below on the ways we support you during your studies.
One year placements
Kay works alongside Professor Joe Keddie and Dr Paul Stevenson to help source Professional Training placements where students work in industry for up to a year and research placements, support students with one to one sessions on CV writing and interview preparation.
We offer summer placements between four to twelve weeks long. They are a great chance to gain some work experience mid-degree, whether or not you intend to go on a Professional Training placement in your third year.
SEPnet runs a tailored scheme for physics undergraduates each year, with applications open in March with start dates from end of June.
A mentor is a person who acts as guide/advisor to someone else, typically where the mentee is less experienced. Employer mentors can offer support and guidance with things like:
- Gaining an insight into a particular area of work
- Thinking about whether to stay in academia after your course or move into commerce, industry or business
- Developing your professional network
- Learning about an organisation or company and its culture.
Each semester, there is a programme of employer talks held in the department at lunch-time. Talks are advertised by email, on the Phys Soc Facebook page and by flyers displayed around the department. Recent speakers include:
- Framestore (digital media/special effects)
- Ultra Electronics (nuclear radiation detectors)
- Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
- NPL (National Physical Laboratory).
Site visits and fairs
Open days at research institutes and labs are promoted to students. We also promote specialist careers fairs in areas such as technology and aerospace/aviation and organise visits to part of the Medical Physics department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
If you are thinking of doing a PhD, then see below on the ways we support you during your studies.
We are part of GRADnet, a collaborative graduate school of nine South East England physics departments. Through GRADnet our PhD students benefit from courses on physics research techniques, and courses taught in conjunction with companies, on team-working and working in industry.
Careers after graduation
After graduation, our PhD and EngD students go on to careers in both the private and public sectors. Some go into postdoctoral positions, at British or overseas universities, and in some cases go on to become academics, either in the UK or overseas. Others go on to jobs in the private sector directly related to their PhDs, such as companies making radiation detectors, photonics companies, oil companies, etc, or they apply their skills in related areas such as data science. PhD graduates also go on to work in the public sector, for example in Dstl or AWE.
Employer mentoring programme
In 2015 we launched a postgraduate research employer mentoring programme to help PhD students find out about career options for doctorates in business and industry earlier in their PhD, and to better manage the transition from academic research to work outside of university. Mentors came from a variety of different employer types, sectors and sizes, such as NPL, AWE, Oxford Instruments and SME, Fourth State Medicine.
Mentoring can be undertaken in a one-off session or over several sessions during the academic year.