Physics Careers Information
Careers and professional skills
As well as providing an education in Physics, we place importance on being able to help you with your career choices. Many employers are looking for the types of analytic skills that physicists offer.
Nevertheless, companies seek graduates who are employable: those who possess an excellent scientific background, professional skills and personal transferable skills. Successful candidates demonstrate their employability through the possession of excellent written and verbal communication skills, they have an awareness of the functions of business and they can work as part of a team, manage and organise their time, can take positions of responsibility and lead others.
Skills development during your degree
The degree course in Physics provides many opportunities for skills development. Professional skills are incorporated into the many and varied elements of the degree course and acquired alongside and during the study of physics.
Many different aspects of the skills you will need for your future career are developed over your studies including: scientific/technical writing, training in proper referencing, searching the technical literature, critical thinking and review and the avoidance of plagiarism. Team work is developed through group projects (years 1, 3 and 4) and students also have the opportunity to give presentations throughout their degree.
Students are also be invited to attend Research Frontiers talks and Physics in Industry talks (Terms 1 & 2) to learn more about how physics plays a role in research and the commercial world.
Volunteer work, outreach, clubs and societies also provide opportunities for students to gain valuable experience whilst helping others while the College’s Horizons programme gives students the chance to broaden their skills with courses in business and professional skills or languages.
The Physics undergraduate summer research opportunities project (UROP) and international research opportunities project (IROP) schemes also serve to increase students’ skill base.
Departmental Careers Advisor
Prof Lesley Cohen
Blackett Room 1111, Level 11 (no lift beyond Level 10)
Office hours are 12.00-14.00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during term; please email first to arrange an appointment during office hours. In special cases, appointments can be arranged at other times. I am happy to set up virtual meetings on TEAMS at other times.
The Departmental Careers Advisor is member of academic staff who acts as a point of contact between the students in that department and the College's Careers Advisory Service. If you want to discuss, for example, vacation training, research opportunities and further study, CV writing for technical jobs, or other career matters then you are welcome to come and see me.
Departmental Careers Consultant
Jessica Popplewell is the Careers Consultant responsible for the Department of Physics
Jessica will be offering career interviews this term for Physics students.
Students who would like an appointment should book via JobsLive. Appointments will be open at 07.00 on the day before the appointment takes place (e.g. if you look on a Monday morning you will see availability for Monday and Tuesday).
25-minute appointments with any of the Careers Consultants, are available in the Careers Service or online via Microsoft Teams. These are bookable via JobsLive. The Careers Service is located on Level 5 of the Sherfield Building.
The College Careers Service offers a range of services to Physics students. The Careers website is a comprehensive information resource where you can find help with every stage of planning your career, from making choices, to applying and attending interviews.
There is also information on psychometric tests and other activities that might form part of the assessment / selection process. You may find the publication ‘Your Guide to Career Planning’ useful also.
The Careers Service organises a programme of employer presentations, fairs, skills workshops run by employers and a range of careers seminars as well as a vacancy site. All the events can be booked via JobsLive.
PhysicsJobs is one of the leading recruitment directories for the physics community, and is a valuable resource for undergraduates looking for a job or post-graduate course in physics or engineering during their final year.
JobsWatch is the online jobs resource for high-energy physics and related areas, and is also a useful website for undergraduates.
JobsLive The Imperial College Careers Service maintains a career management system, called JobsLive, that includes a database of vacancies. Employers can advertise vacancies in this system via the following link.
Other Useful Links
Summer Vacation Placements
Here are some suggestions of places you might apply to gain research experience in addition to the UROP scheme.
The Leyden/ESA Astrophysics Program for Summer Students (LEAPS) provides opportunities for students with an interest in Astrophysics to do a 10- to 12-week research project in collaboration with a scientist from Leyden Observatory or ESA.
CERN Summer Student Program offers undergraduate students of physics, computing and engineering a unique opportunity to join in the day-to-day work of research teams participating in experiments at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
DESY Summer Student Programme: Each summer DESY, one of the world's leading accelerator centres, in Germany, offers undergraduate students in physics or related natural science disciplines the possibility to participate in the research activities of the laboratory.
DAAD Research internships in Science and Engineering: A programme of internships giving Physics students and other students the chance to spend a summer working with PhD students in a German university or research centre on a real research project.
Institute of Physics (IOP) have a great careers website and advertise summer placements https://www.iop.org/careers-physics#gref
Diamond Light Source summer projects: Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron facility, located in Oxfordshire. Each year Diamond gives 10-15 undergraduate students the opportunity to work on a beamline during the summer period.
STSI Space Astronomy Summer Program, Baltimore, USA.
Biophysical Sciences Institute Summer Bursaries at Durham University offers undergraduate students in their penultimate year of study funding for 4-8 weeks of biophysical research over the summer vacation.
Oxford Instruments - https://nanoscience.oxinst.com/featured/learning-programmes
National Physical Laboratory - https://www.npl.co.uk/careers/industrial-placements
Additional physics related placements in the engineering and science sectors can be found at https://www.gradcracker.com/search/sciences-maths/physics-work-placements-internships