Why Physics?

What can I do with a Physics Degree?

A Physics degree helps prepare you to do almost anything. An incredible range of careers benefit from the quantitative and analytical skills – the problem solving skills of physics, and from an understanding of the fundamentals behind science and technology that a physics degree provides.

Physics degree programs also give you much more flexibility than, e.g., engineering programs, to tailor your coursework and prepare you for your dream job.

What have Cornell Physics graduates done?  A partial list:

  • Graduate school – physics, applied physics, biophysics, astronomy, engineering, biochemistry, education, geophysics, oceanography, atmospheric and environmental science, economics
  • Professional school – medicine, law, business
  • High school physics teaching - at private and public schools, including via Teach for America
  • College and university teaching - at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, state universities, and major research universities
  • Industrial research and development – energy, transportation, telecommunications, nanotechnology, biotechnology, medical devices, space and satellites, defense
  • Government and academic research – at national laboratories and universities
  • Hospitals and health care – as doctors, MD/Ph.D.s, medical physicists for MRI, X-ray, ultrasound imaging and nuclear medicine
  • Military or national / international service
  • Government policy and private think-tanks
  • Management and management consulting - e.g., at McKinsey
  • Finance - many Cornell physics graduates work on Wall Street
  • Software and IT - e.g., at Microsoft and Google
  • Science writing / journalism - Cornell physics graduates write for Science and Physics Today
  • Technical Sales, marketing and customer support


To learn more about physics-related careers, explore the links below from the American Institute of Physics:

Physics career profiles 

Physics careers by sector

Companies hiring physics graduates by state 

Salaries and other employment data

Where Cornell Physics Grads have gone