Physics Job Opportunities
Physics Degree Career Paths
Immediately after obtaining their Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, some graduates may wish to enter the workforce in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) position. According to the AIP Statistical Research Center’s Initial Employment Surveys from 2006-2008, the following employers in Mississippi and the three neighboring states hired graduates with Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics: Energy Services Inc., NASA Stennis Space Center, the National Center for Physical Acoustics, Northrop Grumman, Albemarle Corporation, Halliburton Energy Services, ICF Consulting, John Deere, Schlumberger, Analytical Services Inc., DSM Design Group LLC, Dynetics Inc., Envirochem Inc., Advanced Composites Inc., Buchart-Horn Inc., ICx Radiation, and St. Jude Medical Center. Other employers who have specifically hired MC College graduates in the past include GM/Delphi, EDS Corporation, Motorola, Entergy, the U.S. Navy, The National Institute of Standards and Testing, Aspect Communications, the U.S. Army Missile Engineering Center, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nationwide, other potential employers include Apple, Applied Research Laboratories, Boeing, Brookhaven National Lab, Corning Inc., Digital Semiconductor, General Electric, Hewlett- Packard, IBM, Intel, ITT Industries, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the Naval Research Lab, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Raytheon, and the U.S. Air Force.
Another option for graduates of the Physics program is to further their studies in graduate school and obtain a M.S. and possibly a Ph.D. in the field of physics. Some of the most common fields in physics to specialize in include astrophysics, atmospheric physics, gravitational theory, high energy physics, physical acoustics, and solid state physics.
The Physics program at MC can prepare students for graduate school in an engineering discipline. Based on the current structure of MC's Physics program, a graduate degree in either mechanical or electrical engineering would likely result in the smoothest transition from the bachelor’s program.
A popular choice with college graduates of various disciplines is to further their studies by obtaining a master’s degree in business administration (M.B.A.). The M.B.A. program at Mississippi College requires undergraduate prerequisites of Accounting, Finance, and Marketing. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics can easily integrate these prerequisite courses into their physics curriculum.
Graduates of the Physics program are well prepared for law school with opportunities in a wide array of concentrations. Students should consider taking as elective courses PLS/HIS 407 and 408 (American Constitutional Development I and II), and the University core curriculum courses HIS 211 and 212 (United States History). The Mississippi College School of Law gives complete details of their program and admission requirements.
Two popular applied physics graduate degrees are in the fields of biophysics and medical physics. According to the Biophysical Society, biophysics “explains biological functions in terms of molecular mechanisms: precise physical descriptions of how individual molecules work together like tiny machines to produce specific biological functions”. The American Association of Physicists in Medicine defines the role of a medical physicist as one who is involved with clinical service and consultation (for example, the planning of radiation treatments for cancer patients); research and development in areas such as cancer, heart disease, and mental illness; and teaching, where they help train future medical physicists, resident physicians, medical students, and technologists who operate the various types of equipment used to perform diagnosis and treatment. A student at Mississippi College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics who is also interested in either of these applied physics fields is encouraged to minor in biology. Additionally, depending on the requirements of the specific biophysics or medical physics graduate program, we may also recommend certain courses in organic chemistry, anatomy, biochemistry, and physical chemistry.
Graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics are also well prepared to pursue medical school. The University of Mississippi Medical School requires 1 academic year in each of the following disciplines: English, mathematics, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and 1 academic year in an upper level science/mathematics courses, e.g., biology, chemistry, physics or mathematics. All of the above, with the exception of the 1 academic year of biology and organic chemistry are required of all physics and engineering physics majors, and these requirements can be satisfied for physics majors with elective hours.
Graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics may also be interested in applying to dental school. The University of Mississippi School of Dentistry requires 1 academic year each in English, inorganic chemistry, physics, and mathematics, all of which are satisfied in the physics and engineering physics curriculum. Additionally, 1 academic year in organic chemistry, biology, and advanced biology or chemistry, and 1 course in statistics are required.
Upon receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, graduates may be interested in teaching at the high school level. Mississippi College does not specifically offer a physics education undergraduate program, but Mississippi licensure in physics can be obtained by taking one of the several alternate route programs offered by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Students with an interest in writing science fiction or non-fiction works may want to consider pursuing either a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with a minor in writing, or a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, writing concentration with a minor in physics. The former would require taking the following courses in addition to the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in physics : ENG 371 (Analysis of Discourse), six hours of 300-400 level elective courses in writing, and three hours of 300-400 level elective courses in either literature or writing.
As was the case for the writing option, students interested in journalism may want to consider a major or minor in physics, with a corresponding major or minor in journalism. To obtain a minor in journalism outside the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, students must take 18 hours of journalism classes made up of the following courses: JOU 101, 201, and 301 (Journalism Lab I, II, and III), JOU 333 (Journalism I), JOU 334 (Photojournalism), JOU 434 (Journalism II), JOU 454 (Professional Writing), and JOU 454 (Public Relations Writing).