Career Friendly Programs

Is your Physics Department "Career Friendly"?

About half of all physics degree recipients ultimately have careers in the private sector [1]. Many students report physics department cultures that prepare them well for a career in academic or national lab research, but not for industrial or other careers [2]. Students are therefore less aware of and prepared for non-academic careers, having not taken advantage of opportunities to gain skills and experiences which will make them competitive in this job market.

The APS Committee on Careers and Professional Development (CCPD) has facilitated the collection of responses to a series of questions which should help elucidate opportunities made available by departments to students interested in learning about non-academic careers.

[1] AIP Statistical Research Center, Focus on Physics Bachelor’s Initial Employment (2012), Focus on Physics Doctorates Initial Employment (2012), Focus on Physics and Astronomy Master’s Initial Employment (2011), www.aip.org/statistics
[2] AIP Statistical Research Center, Focus on Recent Physics Doctorates: Skills Used and Satisfaction with Employment (2013), www.aip.org/statistics

The responses, for each institution, can be obtained by clicking on the name of the institution below. The questions are:
  • In a typical year, how many Ph.D., exiting M.S. and B.S. degrees does your department award?
  • In a typical year, how many Ph.D., exiting M.S. and B.S. graduates find employment in industry?
  • How does your department connect employment-seeking students or post docs with a network of graduates?
  • What opportunities exist for students and post-docs to learn about the practice of science in non-academic settings (e.g. networking opportunities, internships, entrepreneur seminars …)?
  • In a typical year, how many colloquium speakers are industrial scientists?
  • What active collaborations exist between members of your department and industrial partners?
  • What is the most important message you have for prospective students and postdocs who are interested in pursuing careers in industry?
  • How does your department foster development among students and post-docs of these skills that are highly valued by industry: written and verbal communications skills, ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, critical thinking about economic realities, knowledge of ethical practice?

If you are a department chair, and would like to add (or change) your institution's contribution, please email Crystal Bailey (bailey@aps.org) for the web site address where data can be entered.

Institution Responses