Published: 21 March 2017

Top jobs with a physics degree

Find out what you could do with a degree in physics, and discover some of the jobs Surrey physics graduates have secured over the past few years.

Laser in the Physics department

At the University of Surrey, our distinct physics degrees put you at the heart of the 21st century and are among the very best in the UK. They reflect the diversity and excitement of the subject and are ranked top ten by the Complete University Guide 2017.

Our graduates benefit from one of the best employability rates in the country and attractive career prospects. Our students enjoy a range of Professional Training placement opportunities and close links to industry, including our partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

My programme at Surrey has allowed me to study a subject I’ve always been fascinated by – astrophysics – and to consolidate my understanding of core concepts in physics. The Professional Training year was a big factor in my decision to study at Surrey and I would recommend taking up this option to anyone looking to study my subject. Getting a taste of the graduate world whilst you are still a student is so worthwhile. - Gayathri Eknath, BSc Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics


Careers with a physics degree

A degree in physics, including a physics degree integrated with mathematics, astronomy, nuclear astrophysics or quantum technologies, can lead to a range of fufilling and exciting careers.

Physicists are highly sought after in industry, research, education, management, medicine, law and business, because of their broad practical skills and knowledge of fundamental theory. Our degrees will provide you with the analytical, experimental and computational skills valued in a wide range of careers.

Our physics graduates have taken up roles such as research physicists, consultants, engineers, teachers and bankers in companies including the BBC, BAE Systems and Astrium. Our degrees naturally lead to a career as a professional scientist but can also open many other doors, as the skills our students are taught are valued by a wide range of employers in areas such as journalism, law, IT, education and finance.

Physics at Surrey has helped me gain a greater understanding of the subject, and the Professional Training year has increased my employability and helped me test the waters so I know what career to pursue in the future. - Abigail Stone, BSc Physics

Many of our students opt to take an integrated Research Year or Professional Training placement year. Our pioneering Professional Training placement programme gives our students the opportunity to experience a real working environment as an integral part of their degree, giving them invaluable work and research experience, and a real head-start whether they enter the job market or pursue their passion further with postgraduate study.

We are proud to say that a considerable number of our students are offered work within the company/organisation they completed their Professional Training placement with.


Physics graduate jobs

In recent years, our physics graduates have secured roles including:

  • Chief Executive, Daphne Jackson Trust (MPhys Physics, class of 1990)
  • CMO and VP Solutions & Strategy, IBM Systems and Technology Group (BSc Physics, class of 1987)
  • Senior Data Scientist, Uber (BSc Physics, class of 2008)
  • Data Scientist, Sainsburys (MPhys Physics, class of 2011)

Surrey has definitely encouraged me to take new opportunities that come my way. During my degree, I’ve completed two summer schools, in South Korea and Crete, as well as a placement in an industry that I had no idea existed before I started there. As a result of my placement at PGS, I’ve decided I want to pursue a career as a geophysicist in the petroleum industry. - Mahfuj Ali, BSc Physics

  • Head of Technology Programme, Foster + Partners (BSc Physcis with Nuclear Astrophysics, class of 2001)
  • Consultant, Nuvia Ltd (BSc Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics, class of 2011)
  • Researcher, University of Reading (BSc Physics, class of 2012)
  • Electrical Systems Engineer, Airbus Defence and Space (BSc Physcis with Satellite Technology, class of 2009)
  • Linux Systems Administrator, ADP Dealer Services (BSc Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics, class of 2001)

My time at National Instruments was an invaluable aid to my career prospects. Having the job security provided by my placement experience made the rest of my time at university much more enjoyable and far less stressful. - Laurence Stant, BSc Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics

  • Harvard Fellow, Advanced Leadership Initiative, Harvard University (BSc Physics, class of 1987)
  • Technology Buyer, UTC Aerospace Systems (BSc Physics with Finance, class of 2011)
  • Associate Professor and Associate Head Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee (BSc Physcis with Acoustics, class of 1996)
  • Energy Technology Consultant and Professor at Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester (BSc Physics, class of 1968)
  • Deputy Chief Advisor to Government, Met Office (BSc Physics and Optoelectronics, class of 1992)



Discover more about our physics degrees, our pioneering Professional Training placement scheme and student life at Surrey.

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