Why should you pursue a postgraduate degree in physics?

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Bryan Smith - July, 20 2023

6 min read

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Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

There are several reasons why someone might choose to study physics at the postgraduate level - for one, a Master's or PhD in physics can lead to a number of exciting and rewarding careers!

Why should I consider studying a Masters in Physics?

Studying physics at a postgraduate level enables researchers to delve deeper and gain a more thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of the universe, and can also be an excellent way to prepare for a variety of competitive careers, such as in finance or technology, where a strong background in science and mathematics can be highly beneficial.

  • Improved career opportunities: A master's degree in physics can open up new career opportunities in a variety of fields, including research, engineering, and education. It can also lead to higher paying jobs and greater job security.
  • Greater knowledge and expertise: A master's degree in physics provides in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field, which can be useful for solving complex problems and advancing the frontiers of knowledge.
  • Opportunities for personal growth: Studying a master's degree in physics can be a challenging and rewarding experience that can help individuals develop new skills and abilities, and grow personally and professionally.
  • Advancement in the field of physics: A master's degree in physics can prepare individuals to pursue further education and research in the field, potentially leading to important contributions and advancements in the field of physics.

What are some of the careers that a physics major can pursue?

Some of the most common careers for physics majors include working as a:

  • Research scientist
  • Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Data scientist
  • Financial analyst
  • Software developer

What are common career paths for graduates with a degree in physics?

Research scientists in physics often work in academia or for government agencies, where they conduct experiments and analyze data to understand the fundamental principles of the universe.

Engineers who have a background in physics often work on designing and developing new technologies, such as medical devices or communication systems. Physics majors who enjoy teaching may choose to become high school or university-level physics teachers, where they can help others to understand and appreciate the subject.

What are some of the best universities to study physics as a postgraduate degree?

One crucial factor to consider when choosing a university for a postgraduate degree in physics is the quality of the university's physics program.

This can be evaluated by looking at the research output of the faculty, the number of PhDs awarded each year, and the funding that the program receives from external sources.

Additionally, it can be helpful to look at the university's overall reputation and ranking, as well as the availability of scholarships and other forms of financial aid. It is also essential to consider the location of the university and the cost of living in the area, as well as the availability of housing and other amenities.

Finally, it can be helpful to talk to current students or recent graduates of the program to get a better sense of their experiences.

Some of the highest-rated physics schools in the world include:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Universite Paris, Saclay
  • Tsinghua University,
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • University of Tokyo

What do I need to know about the highest-rated physics schools?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Physics offers both Master's and PhD programs in physics, as well as a joint PhD program with the Harvard University Department of Physics.

University of Paris, Saclay

The University of Paris, Saclay, offers a range of postgraduate programs in physics, including Masters and PhD programs. The university's physics department is known for its strong research focus, and faculty members are involved in a wide range of cutting-edge research projects. The department also offers a number of resources and support for students, including access to state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment.

Harvard University

Harvard University offers a range of postgraduate programs in physics, including Masters and PhD programs. Additionally, the university offers a joint PhD program in Physics with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Physics. Harvard has a large and highly qualified faculty, many of whom are leaders in their fields.

Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University is considered to be a top university in China and is known for its strong programs in science and engineering.

Princeton University

Princeton University is considered to be a top university in the United States and is known for its strong programs in a wide range of fields, including the sciences, engineering, and the humanities.

Tokyo University

Tokyo University, also known as the University of Tokyo, is a leading university which recently ranked #81 in Best Global Universities and is widely recognized for its groundbreaking innovations and research.

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is known for its strong programs in science and engineering - having produced many Nobel Prize winners and astronauts. Caltech is also home to some of the most advanced research facilities in the world, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is responsible for many of NASA's most notable achievements.

Stanford University

Stanford University is home to a number of world-renowned research institutes and centres, such as the Hoover Institution and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Additionally, the university's faculty includes many experts in their fields who are able to provide students with a high-quality education.

The University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, consistently ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States, and it has a strong reputation for academic excellence and research.Berkeley is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to many leading technology and innovation companies, providing students with numerous opportunities for internships and employment.

Can studying a postgraduate degree in physics enhance my earning potential?

Employees with a postgraduate degree in physics often go on to contribute their knowledge and expertise in a variety of fields - most notably with prominent employers, or in a startup or engineering firm where their skills make them indispensable. Accordingly, physics postgraduates are often sought-after in the job market and earn favourable salaries.

What’s the average salary of a postgraduate with a master’s degree in physics?

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for workers in the physical sciences, which includes physicists, is $122,850 as of May 2019.

For example, physicists who work in research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industry have a median annual wage of $122,850, while those who work in the federal government have a median annual wage of $123,580. On the other hand, physicists who work in colleges, universities, and professional schools have a median annual wage of $76,110.

Finance your masters program through Prodigy Finance

If you’d like to finance your dream degree through a student loan, we lend based on your future potential - enabling you to pursue your dream study abroad experience.

We offer flexible financing to pursue international study programmes - we don’t require collateral or a co-signer, and our application process is entirely online - and only takes 12 minutes!

We support 1135 schools, 356 universities in 20 countries. Some of the schools that we support:

Find a school that suits you.

If you’d like to explore what schools you can attend through a Prodigy Finance student loan, you can use our School Search tool to explore the many schools and courses that we support. You can also instantly check if you are eligible for a loan or not.

If you know where you want to study, you can type in the name of the school you have in mind to see which degree programmes we support; alternatively, you can also search for supported programmes by selecting the country or school you’re interested in attending.

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