What Is a Physics Degree?

Physics is the science dedicated to understanding the behaviour of the universe. The universe is a force of many, and physics studies these natural sciences and philosophies. Physics concerns itself with all forms of natural matter and how that matter moves through space and time. Energy is a large part of physics, as some form of energy generates every force. Physics is a multi-disciplinary science, with branches of the study dedicated to astronomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics and philosophy.

Many critical programmes use physics in their research and science. Without the specialised disciplines within physics, such as biophysics and quantum chemistry, the world would not know much of the advanced technology it takes for granted today. Without physics, we would not have appliances, computers or television; militaries would not have advanced weaponry; thermodynamics, a sub-science of physics, led to the industrial revolution; physics even developed calculus.

With so many interdisciplinary applications, it is easy to see why physics plays such a critical role in our society. A physics degree prepares students to enter into this highly complex science, ready to make a difference and change the world. Think Sir Isaac Newton, Max Planck or Albert Einstein. Without these physicists, we would not understand motion, quantum theory or relativity, respectively. These are just a few scientists who employed physics and drastically changed our understanding of the universe.

Students with an exceedingly strong command of mathematics and the sciences are well suited for a physics degree. These future scientists are the top of their class, hold an above-average IQ and the ability to understand and rationalize many complex scientific concepts and theories.

Job Opportunities

Students who have earned their physic degree have the option of entering into numerous scientific fields, including geophysics/field seismology, medical physics or higher education lecture.

A geophysicist/field seismologist studies the earth’s geography in an effort to determine the reason behind seismic activity such as earthquakes. In many cases, the geophysicist/field seismologist works with government agencies, aiding in disaster warning and relief and environmental consultancy. Geophysicists might also work in private industry, assessing the geology of the earth’s mass for oil production or landfills. Geophysicists/field seismologists begin their careers earning salaries that range from £22,000 to £25,000. Students who have earned their MSc/PhD command larger starting salaries of £24,000 to £30,000. Geophysicists usually earn senior status after being on the job for six years or more and earn £40,000 to £65,000.

Medical physicists, as their title suggests, work in the field of medicine. These physicists are crucial in the development and testing of technology designed to diagnose and treat illness and disease. Examples of technology implemented because of medical physics include laser technology, nuclear medicine, physiological monitoring and radiotherapy. The medical physicist works closely with both doctors and patients in an effort to determine the best path of treatment for the illness in question. The salary range for a medical physicist is a broad one, and graduating students can expect to earn anywhere from £25,528 to £97,478 throughout their career.

Graduating students wishing to enter into education might consider becoming a higher education lecturer in the topic of physics. Higher education lecturers engage in grant and/or university-sponsored research and teach students – and faculty – the results the research returned. These scientists – and educators – are the authors of the many papers published in educational and scientific journals. Higher education lecturers are crucial in the advancement of their studied topic. These physicists turned educators typically earn salaries ranging from £30,500 to over £48,000.

Physics Curriculum

Science is the foundation of the physics curriculum. Students can expect to learn the primary tools of physics – electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and relativity – and the analytical, research and reporting skills required to understand how each of the three impact the universe, from the subatomic particle level all the way up to entire galaxies. Classroom and laboratory study is included in physics curriculum to give students the hands-on experience they will need after graduation.

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