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Department of Physics

Careers in Physics

Graduate students from the Davis Physics Department have gone on to a wide variety of careers -- from university teaching to semiconductor fabrication, from software design to Wall Street to the national laboratories.

UC Davis Physics graduate and undergraduate students tour Intel's Santa Clara site, spring 2005
PHY 285 Trip

Making the transition from school to a career can be confusing, though, especially since most college faculty -- at Davis and elsewhere -- have limited experience outside academia. To help students understand their options, the Physics Department runs an annual "Careers in Physics" seminar, which brings in speakers from outside the university to talk about their work. The seminar also includes "field trips" to local high tech industry. Here are some recent talks.

The department has put together a small collection of books on career options and career skills. The campus Internship and Career Center also provides advising services, and runs a variety of workshops on such subjects as writing a CV, interviewing for faculty and industry positions, and giving an academic job talk. The UCD Office of Graduate Studies offers professional development training, and the campus organizes regular Career Fairs.

UC Davis Physics graduate and undergraduate students tour Intel's labs, spring 2005
PHY285 Lab Suits

Some other useful links:

The American Institute of Physics has extensive statistical information about physics employment, including a list of companies that have recently hired Physics BAs.

Joanne Cohn's Physics and Astronomy Job Hunting Resources website is an outstanding collection of resources and links.

The American Physical Society's Careers in Physics site is a valuable resource. is another useful source of information and ideas.

To get an idea of faculty job openings at research universities, look at the "Rumor Mills": Theoretical Particle Physics, Experimental High Energy Physics, Theoretical Nuclear Physics, Astrophysics, and Condensed Matter/AMO.

Contact: Rena Zieve
Vice Chair, Graduate Matters