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4 Signs a PhD in Physics is Right for You

If you’re a recent Bachelors or Masters graduate in Physics, you might be wondering whether to pursue research at PhD level.

But besides knowing you’d be right at home in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, how to do you know you’ve got what it takes to do a PhD in Physics? We’ve put together four signs to look out for.

#1 You’re interested in the big questions

The laws of physics are evident in the everyday minutiae of life, from light reflecting off a glass prism to the steam rising from a pan of boiling water. But Physics is also concerned with the universe’s biggest conundrums. What is matter made of? Could we be living in a multiverse? Why does time only flow in one direction? Meanwhile, Physicists have long put forward candidates for an all-encompassing ‘Theory of Everything’, from string theory to loop quantum gravity.

Physics is perhaps the science most concerned with the existential – which is why it is often studied alongside Philosophy. It should come as no surprise that the most mind-bending problems in Physics are tackled at the doctoral level. If your curiosity about the nature of the universe knows no bounds, a PhD in Physics could be the right choice for you.

#2 You’re good with numbers

Any scientific PhD will involve a degree of Mathematics, but Physics is the most maths-heavy of the three sciences. Whatever your area of specialisation, you’re likely to encounter your fair share of complex numerical problems! If nothing brings you more satisfaction than the perfect equilibrium of a balanced equation, Physics could certainly be your ideal discipline.

#3 You want to help build humanity’s future

Physicists are at the forefront of developing cutting-edge technologies, from secure communication devices designed using quantum cryptography, to improved smart batteries for electric cars. A breakthrough in nuclear fusion could be the key to unlocking unlimited energy supplies – and overcoming a significant hurdle in humanity’s battle against climate change.

As a PhD candidate in Physics, you’ll go beyond developing an in-depth knowledge of previous discoveries in Physics and start making those discoveries yourself. If you want to play a part in finding technological solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, you should definitely consider a PhD in Physics.

#4 You’re open to a range of careers

A PhD in Physics has some obvious applications in roles directly related to the field – you might choose to continue your career in academia or put your specialist knowledge to use by becoming a geophysicist, meteorologist or engineer (to name a few!).

But the skills you’ll gain as a doctoral Physics student can also open up some unexpected career options. For example, your analytical and mathematical talents could help you earn a position in finance. Consulting firms are often keen to hire candidates with a background in hard sciences such as Physics for their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

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Last Updated: 30 January 2023