Careers in Physics

A degree in Physics and Astronomy from Sussex will equip you with a wide range of skills and we give you specialist support throughout your degree to help you prepare for your future career. This is why we are ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects in the Guardian University Guide 2018. Our graduates are in great demand with 100% in employment or further study after six months (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, 2015/16).

Develop career skills

You develop knowledge and understanding of fundamental physics laws and principals and the ability to apply them, an analytical approach to problem solving, and effective use of IT for analysing data.

You also develop the ability to work independently, work to tight deadlines and develop skills to communicate scientific information. All of these are highly prized by employers.

Career destinations

As a Physics graduate you can enter a wide variety of fields, including becoming a professional scientist in industry, government or academia, and your broad training means you can cross over into other scientific and technological disciplines. 

Other career options include the financial sector, where physicists’ ability to handle complex abstract models is particularly valued. Your analytical training also makes you suitable for careers in law, consultancy and business management.

Our MPhys degrees are perfect if you are planning a career in science or who want to go on to a higher research degree. The BSc programme gives you the same broad range of knowledge and skills and is ideal if you want to explore a wider range of options early.

Some of the careers our students have gone on to have included:

Cyber Security Consultant for PwC UK - John Treen

MPhys graduate John TreenWhat are you doing now and what does it involve?

I’m in my first job after graduation as a Cyber Security Consultant for PwC UK. The job involves conducting penetration tests which is ethical hacking. This is to help clients look for security weaknesses in their computer systems to gain insight on how to improve their security.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

I was always interested in computers. After graduation, I had an open mind and had not made a decision on what sector to enter. After browsing several job adverts, I saw this one and it seemed interesting. Hacking seemed like a cool thing to do for a living and I was excited by the opportunity of working with a wide range of clients.

Does your Degree help you with your current career?

I completed multiple modules in programming and maths, which I use in my every day role. Furthermore, the degree taught me problem solving and analytical skills, which I still use daily.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

There were a couple of modules directed towards developing soft skills such as the dedicated careers module in year two which helps guide students towards developing their resume. In addition, there were multiple presentations throughout the course that involved presenting to a group, which helped develop my public speaking skills.  

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Most definitely!  The faculty and staff of the department are supportive and friendly. They were always helpful, knowledgeable and willing to render support. They gave good feedback and also the facilities provided by the department were fantastic.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Definitely, I find the job very exciting as I face a different problem every day. This career has a great future as technology keeps advancing and the cyber security sector can only get bigger. 

John Treen 
MPhys Physics graduate January 2017

Data Analyst for ThanksBox - Mark Davies

Mark Davies MPhys Theoretical Physics graduateWhat was your first position after graduation and what did it involve?

My first job after my degree was as a Catalyst team member for the Sussex Innovation Centre. I worked on various projects for the new centre; Sussex Innovation Croydon and multiple start-up companies including UKRIO, 3nStrategy, SME Needs and Thrivo.

What are you doing now and what does it involve?

I work for ThanksBox as a data analyst both internally and producing reports for clients. Internally this allows me to inform and own some decision making within inbound marketing, sales and product.

I’m working towards formalising some of the skills I’ve been developing and moving towards a product management style role in the analytics side of the ThanksBox app. the app.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

From my first job at the Sussex Innovation Centre, I worked with ThanksBox and really enjoyed the direction of the company, the people and decided to join them.

Does your degree help you with your current career?

A Physics degree teaches many skills that open up a wide range of job opportunities. I have really used the research methods and critical thinking skills gained on my degree. The analytical skills taught have also proved invaluable.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

Having to work closely with my peers helped develop interpersonal and communication skills which are very useful for day-to-day life.

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Yes. There are many extracurricular opportunities offered. I did a summer placement in my 1st year, an IOP research placement in my 2nd and taught in the summer school during my 3rd summer.  

Furthermore, the environment is great! Very conducive for studies and collaboration.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Yes, the role is unusual but is very interesting. The career advisory team is incredible, approach them and they will definitely help you as much as possible. 

Mark Davies
MPhys Theoretical Physics graduate 2015

Software Developer for Rutherford Appleton Laboratory - Stewart Martin-Haugh

physics graduate Stewart Martin HaughWhat was your first position after graduation and what did it involve?

My first position post-graduation was a software developer for Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and I’m still there today. I work on the ATLAS experiment with the LHC. I write software to keep only interesting data and then discard the rest. The data is then used to search for evidence of new particles and better measure those we know.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

While doing my PhD, I was already involved with the ATLAS experiment.  I enjoyed particularly the technical aspects of work on the experiment and was excited to continue working in that area.

Does your DPhil help you with your current career?

I gained a great deal of technical knowledge on my PhD particularly in particle physics. The year I spent at CERN during my PhD was extremely valuable firstly in getting exposure to the job and for networking with various people in the field.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

There were regular experiment meetings when I was a student, and I’d often have to prepare results and present them at short notice. This is a valuable skill, which I have used multiple times in my current role.

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Yes, I had a very good time at Sussex. The department is great and there are so many different branches of physics within the department itself. Furthermore, the university is in a wonderful location, close to the South Downs and also to Brighton city itself.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Yes. I love what I’m doing and it’s definitely working out career wise. 

Stewart Martin-Haugh
PhD in  Experimental Particle Physics, graduated in 2013

Software Engineer in Electronic Warfare - James Allen

James Allen What are you doing now and what does it involve?

I am a Software Engineer working in Electronic Warfare for a Thales graduate scheme. What I do on a day-to-day basis can change rapidly – from writing software that displays high-resolution radar images, generating code that tests itself, teaching young students to program as a part of a STEM activity to working on an active warship, there is plenty of variation.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

I started to research careers. The engineering industry is a popular route for physicists due to their penchant for complex mathematics and algorithms, experience in a lab environment and background in problem solving. Thales, in particular, has a huge variance in both the different industries and type of work that it can offer, and so seemed like the natural choice.

Does your degree help you with your current career?

My dissertation was in Particle Physics; I worked with Fabrizio Salvatore during his work with Supersymmetry within the ATLAS detector. This involved a great deal of manipulating simulations using the C++ language, which, in turn, has become my ‘go-to’ language at work. Besides this, the mathematical skills and problem-solving techniques I developed in courses such as ‘Skills in Physics’ have allowed for greater application of the fundamental theories we were taught throughout our time at Sussex.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

The classic ‘soft-skills’ are actually vital for any career in industry – these include time management (which was a key element for both making sure the various deadlines were submitted in good time and maintaining the work/life balance) as well as presentation skills (so to communicate complex ideas without relying on text-heavy slides).

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Absolutely, even though I am now pursuing a career in Software Engineering, I am glad I spent my time at university studying physics. I don’t think there are any other subjects that offer the same fundamental skills as physics does, which puts its students in a strong position for their first steps into a career.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

I would also recommend my line of work to other physicists. It is varied and interesting, as well as having room for progression.

James Allen
MPhys Physics graduate

Technical Consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence - Mark Carter

What are you doing now and what does it involve?Mark Carter

I am a Technical Consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence. I specifically work in a Business Unit called NetReveal which specialises in software to detect and prevent fraud. I am currently working on an installation for a major banking client which involves lots of programming and problem solving.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now? 

My current company actively hire Physicists. This was a great opportunity for me as I wanted a technical role in IT.

Does your degree help you with your current career? 

Definitely. Problem solving is the main thing that I took from my degree as I have to deal with new problems every day. Programming courses in Matlab and C++ at university helped me understand the logic of programming languages, and although I use different languages now, those courses helped me with the fundamentals.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student? 

I also have a lot of client interaction, so inter-personal skills I learnt at university, through things like working on open days and participating in various student committees, have put me in a good position for this.

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else? 

I would. University is about so much more than just the academic side now. You need a good all-round department and university, and you certainly get that at Sussex. The social scene is great, there are lots of opportunities to get involved with committees and societies, and the careers advice and opportunities are great.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else? 

I would. I get to do many different things in a job I enjoy. 

Mark Carter
MPhys Physics with Astrophysics graduate

Chartered Accountant for an accountancy firm - Katy Ford

Katy FordWhat are you doing now and what does it involve?

Training to be a Chartered Accountant in the audit department of an accountancy firm. It involves studying for my accountancy exams while working. My work mainly consists of performing year end audits for the firms clients, but also some accountancy work for example preparing year end accounts.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

It wasn’t the first career choice I considered. But after a lot of thought I wasn’t considering the other careers for the right reasons and I think that this career suits me.

Does your degree help you with your current career?

Directly the material I learnt during my degree doesn’t help me, but my job involves using maths and problem solving skills on a daily basis, which I learnt throughout my degree. Particularly the Skills for Physics course in my final year which helped my problem solving skills improve dramatically.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

During my time at Uni I was in the Sussex University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) and this helped with me develop my team work, which is now very important now as I tend to work in different audit teams on each job. Also as part of my job I have to work with different clients on each job and so I have to be comfortable working with new people. Before I came to Uni I was quite a shy person and would have dreaded being put in these type of situations, but after helping at admission days I managed to overcome this.

Did you get any careers help from the Department?

I had career advice from my personal tutor, which was very usual as during my final year of uni I didn’t really have a specific idea of what I wanted to do and so needed lots and lots of advice and help!

Do you think Physics was the right choice for you?

Yes I really enjoy the subject and I think that if I decided to change careers later in life, then my physics degree will be a vital asset to me.

Do you think Physics at Sussex was the right choice for you?

Definitely. I don’t think I have ever regretted my decision about picking Sussex as my university. It was a great department, a lovely Uni and Brighton is an amazing town to live in!

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Yes I would. I enjoy what I do and I think the ACA qualification is vital if you want a career in finance.

Katy Ford
MPhys Theoretical Physics graduate

Plasma Physicist at a government-funded research organisation - Matt Hill

Matt Hill'I began my PhD at Sussex immediately after finishing my degree there; having spent 4 years in the Department I knew that I would be well supported and that the environment would be friendly, relaxed and constructive. My MPhys final year project formed the basis of my research, which aimed to probe Einstein’s theory of special relativity by exploiting a quantum mechanical trick in atomic physics, known as ‘slow light’. The experiment involved getting to grips with the tools of quantum optics: lasers, low pressure atomic vapours, magnetic shielding and a great deal of patience!

My MPhys degree provided me with a good base from which to start my PhD research - the undergraduate labs showed me the importance of careful experimental design and assessing uncertainty, and the atomic physics and quantum mechanics courses gave me the theoretical tools I needed. Even my astrophysics courses came in handy when it came to the relativity aspects of the research; as an undergraduate I had chosen the courses I found most interesting, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to bring them all together (and that the hours of doing problem sheets hadn’t gone to waste!). I found demonstrating in the undergraduate labs to be very rewarding - it was a little strange being on the other end of the red pen at first, but both I and the other new postgraduates were all a little shocked at how much we had picked up during our degrees, without even realising it.

After a year at Sussex our group had to move to Leeds, where I spent another 2 years setting up the new lab and doing experiments. During this time I continued to develop a wide range of skills, including computer modelling, experimental techniques, presenting my work in talks and writing reports. Anyone would find these very useful, regardless of whether they were going on to a research career or not, which is why I am so grateful to the physics department at Sussex for providing such a variety of courses during my degree. I also built up a large network of contacts, which has gained me new friends as well as many useful professional relationships around the world - of course, all of this makes you much more employable when you start job hunting!

I began looking for jobs in both academia and industry while writing up my thesis; I feel very fortunate that my degree and PhD allowed me to apply for a wide range of jobs in many areas I found interesting, despite the difficulties many others were having finding work. I was invited to an interview within a month of starting to look, and was phoned on the drive home to be offered the job!

I now work as a Plasma Physicist at a government-funded research organisation, looking at how matter behaves at the very high energies found in the cores of stars and planets. The work is very rewarding and has allowed me to carry on developing the skills I first picked up at Sussex.

Looking back, I know that Sussex was the best choice I could have made - I have honestly found nowhere else where I would rather have done my degree. I am still in touch with most of my undergraduate classmates and we all agree that the atmosphere, attitude and faculty at Sussex, as well as the amazing culture and nightlife in Brighton, made it the perfect place to spend as many years being a student as you can get away with!'

Matt Hill
Physics MPhys and PhD graduate

Sam RasonWhat are you doing now and what does it involve?

I'm working for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd as a Senior Radiation Environments Engineer. Energetic charged particles in space can induce a variety of problems in spacecraft electronics and materials. The effects can range from temporary upsets to permanent damage and mission failure. I am responsible for the radiation hardness assurance of SSTL's spacecraft. This involves several tasks such as:

- The definition of the space radiation environment along a spacecrafts orbit using established models

- Providing support with the design of the spacecraft and choice of electronics and materials to withstand their environment. This normally involves providing a minimum shielding level for the electronics and ensuring the correct radiation verification tests have been performed on the components and/or the correct mitigation techniques have been considered in the design

- Review of subcontractor's analyses and test reports to determine whether components meet customer/internal requirements and hence are acceptable for the mission.

In 2013, I was shortlisted for the final of a poster competition in Parliament! There were about 1000 entrants and 240 people selected to present their posters. I spoke to two MP's, a Baroness and several judges and experts in industry about my research. This is a much more diverse audience than normal and I was particularly interested in engaging with politicians regarding SET research industry. There has been a lot of interest in my work and I have been invited to contact various committees.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

I saw the job advertised online; it was closer to home, better paid and was in the same technical area as my last job but with more responsibility and mission focus. It would have been silly not to go for it.

Is it what you expected?

I did some similar work in a previous company, however there were several more people on my team and I didn't have as much responsibility as I do now. It's a lot better than I expected; it is a pleasure to work with everyone in my team, across the company and several people from companies all over Europe. I enjoy travelling on a regular basis to visit customers and to attend conferences. I enjoy the fact that the work is technically and logistically challenging and each day is never the same. There are a lot of young, intelligent and motivated physicists and engineers at SSTL and you can tell we all have a passion for space! It's an inspiring place to be and everyone is a lot of fun.   

Does your degree help you with your current career?

I do use things directly from my degree (such as particle physics knowledge and computing skills) but it's mainly the skills I learnt during the degree such as; problem solving, picking things up quickly and sorting through information efficiently that help me to succeed. Mphys labs and skills were very beneficial because you're not held by the hand, you're left on your own a bit more, which is closer to the situation at work or as a researcher.

Did you acquire other useful skills whilst an undergraduate?

Team work, communication and relationships with your colleagues are very important. To develop these sorts of skills experimental labs were good as we had to work with a partner. However I think that my time as a student mentor and representative of my year on the Departmental Joint Committee were invaluable; I am very confident in meetings because of the experiences I had in these roles at Sussex.

Do you think Physics at Sussex was the right choice for you?

Definitely - it was because everybody at Sussex was so friendly, approachable and supportive that I did so well during my degree. I liked the size of the department and I think there’s a fantastic atmosphere, in which your mind and your research are nurtured. It’s hard to describe it but it’s very chilled and allows ideas to flow free, but at the same time you can work hard as required by the degree. After starting a PhD at another institution I really appreciated how important this is; they didn’t have this approach and it just didn’t work as well.

In hind sight, would you have done anything differently as an undergraduate?

Sam Rason researchSam and a colleague with an SSTL-100 spacecraft

The MPhys Physics with Astrophysics degree at Sussex was right for me. I have concentrated in particle astrophysics during my career directly as a result of the courses I specialised in. But a physics degree opens many doors and you never stop learning after your degree; I find that I am learning more in the areas of device physics and electronics now. In hind sight I should have kept up my French and I would have liked the opportunity to do internships at several companies during my undergraduate degree. I think internships are really beneficial as they allow you to understand what it's like to work for a company, get good experience on your CV, improve your skills and you can become useful more quickly to an employer than a fresh graduate with no experience. The majority of graduates from Europe who work in the space industry have several internships on their CV's and are fluent in several languages! In today's harsh climate for graduate jobs I think an internship can make all the difference.

Do you have any tips for graduating Physics students looking for work?

Think about jobs way before you graduate! Make sure you have a good CV and send it out to every job that sounds good. Use your contacts! Attend lots of interviews, even if it’s just for the practice and ask lots of questions so you get a good feel of the atmosphere of the company to see if you’d fit in.

Sam Rason
MPhys Physics with Astrophysics graduate

Outreach Officer at University of Surrey - Heather Campbell
Heather CampbellWhat was your first position after graduation and what did it involve?

I pursued a PhD at the University of Portsmouth on Gravitation and Cosmology. I worked on supernovae and my aim was to come up with a new way to classify them. I particularly worked with the Sloan Digital Sky Supernovae Survey, which discovered 10,000 of transient objects; these are astronomical objects that change brightness with time.

What are you doing now and what does it involve?

I am currently working in the University of Surrey as an Outreach Officer in the Physics department. My job is rather varied and I get to experience many different things. I go into schools and increase enthusiasm for STEM subjects, and for Physics in particular.  I also organize events, stargazing sessions and science fairs to help showcase the department to the public.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

After my PhD, I worked as a post doctorate researcher at Cambridge for 2.5 years. While doing that, I spent a fair amount of time carrying out outreach. I realised that I really enjoyed outreach and decided to make a careers move. Every day is different and it’s exciting, one day I can be giving a talk to a primary school and the next I could be giving a lecture to an astronomical society.

Does your degree help you with your current career?

When I was in Sussex doing my MPhys, I did summer research placements, which helped me, prepare for my PhD. The degree also helped me discover that I loved the astronomy side of physics.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

I used to help on applicant days which taught me management skills and forced me to have to speak up which boosted my confidence when talking to the public. I was in the Wind Band and also took part in Ballet, both these activities helped develop my team building skills. In Ballet I was appointed the financial manager which aided me in budgeting in my day to day job.

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Yes, I really enjoyed studying in Sussex. The department is really friendly and I felt that at Sussex the academics really cared about the students. Furthermore, Sussex is a great campus that really makes you feel at home.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Yes. My line is varied and interesting. I generally recommend anyone to pursue a science based job. 

Heather Campbell
Astrophysics MPhys research placement graduate

Manager at Micron Semiconductor Ltd - Gwenaelle Lefeuvre

Gwen LefeuvreIn which year did you graduate?

I obtained my PhD in 2006.

What are you doing now and what does it involve?

I am the manager of the new Diamond Detector Department at Micron Semiconductor Ltd. I started this activity from scratch, and set up most of the equipment & processes. Now I focus on R&D projects and I supervise a small, but growing team of personnel involved in diamond detector manufacturing. I interact with customers, academic and industrial partners, and I go to conferences to grow Micron's network of partners.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

After several years in academic research in particle physics it was finally clear to me although I was having a great time, this line of work just wasn't for in the long term. I wanted to own my projects more and work on shorter timescales. A SME like Micron was the perfect match for me as my day to day work is very diverse and I keep learning a lot.

Does your degree help you with your current career?

Absolutely, and in many ways. Understanding the basic physics principles helps understanding quickly how a piece of equipment works, even if I never heard about it before. It also makes my interactions with physicists very natural

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

Time management is the most important: there are always several projects to juggle with at the same time. But presentation and writing skills are equally crucial.

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Yes, there is a very good, friendly and hardworking atmosphere in the department, both among students and between students and faculty. Students often work on projects in the research groups of the department, which is very motivating for them. I believe that a motivated student can find there an occasion to exceed his/her own expectations.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Yes too! I am having a lot of fun in a work that I like to describe as at the frontier between fundamental physics and craftwork. There are so many interesting ways to apply physics to the world, academic research really is only one of the possible paths!

Gwenaelle Lefeuvre
MPhys Physics and PhD graduate

Liam De GarisIn which year did you graduate?

I graduated in 2014.

What are you doing now and what does it involve?

I’m a Project Engineer at the ghd research and development labs in Cambridge. My job is to do scientific testing on various ghd products (both unreleased and those currently available), in order to improve them. It involves a lot of practical science, such as setting up experiments and analysing the results.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

Practical science was always of interest to me, as I wanted to apply the skills in my degree in a more real environment. Aside from that, it just seemed like interesting work, in a rapidly growing company.

Does your degree help you with your current career?

My degree has been very useful in my work, particularly the practical lab courses, as the majority of my work involves the exact same practices in order to get results (such as following proper experimental procedure, or writing project reports).

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

Skills such as time management and analysis skills have come in very handy in the working world, as well as communication skills developed through group work on projects.

Would you recommend Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Sure, Sussex has a great Physics department, and the syllabus gives a lot of opportunities for developing skills that employers really like (particularly the practical lab stuff). I enjoyed my time at Sussex, and think it’s an excellent place to learn.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

I think that anyone interested in practical science would enjoy this line of work, its interesting stuff. Project engineer can be a pretty broad term, and it can be applied to a large variety of roles that could suit pretty much any interest.

Liam de Garis
MPhys Physics with Astrophysics graduate

Managing Director of a Human Resources consultancy - Helen Astill

Helen AstillWhat are you doing now and what does it involve?

I’m currently the Managing Director of a Human Resources consultancy. I help companies to manage their people more effectively — particularly companies in the engineering and technical sectors.

How, if at all, does your job benefit from skills and knowledge acquired during your undergraduate degree?

All my jobs and roles have benefitted from the problem-solving skills developed during my time at Sussex. It has also inspired my interest in continuing to learn. Earlier jobs directly used my physics knowledge — these include being a physics teacher and running radiological protection courses at Harwell. I even ran some courses for the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. Having an understanding of the technical issues helped when working with staff at Culham Fusion Research Centre – just talking the same language helps! In my current role, a lot of the companies I work for are in the engineering, IT or technical sectors (e.g. digital forensics, medical imaging, biomedical engineering, manufacturing, software programming etc.). Having a physics background means I have a good understanding of the technical issues they face and the sort of people that they employ.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst an undergraduate student?

The skills that I have developed and now apply to my current job include time management, meeting deadlines, numeracy and an interest in continuing to learn. On a personal note, as an undergraduate I was a member of the University of Sussex choir. Singing is an interest that I continue to enjoy and I am now a member of a local community choir.

Do you think a Physics degee was the right choice for you? Would you recommend a Physics degree to someone else?

I enjoyed my time at Sussex — physics was a subject that I particularly enjoyed at that time and so it was a logical thing for me to do. It has opened doors for me and I have since branched out into other areas, but I still retain an interest in science. My husband took a degree (and DPhil) in Chemical Physics at Sussex, so it’s probably not a great surprise that one of our sons has followed in our footsteps: He is taking an MPhys course in theoretical physics at Sussex - where else?!

What are your favourite Physics related memories from your time at Sussex?

Helen Astrill revisedI remember during one of the undergraduate lab sessions taking photographs to measure film/ light sensitivity using an SLR camera — lots of different exposures etc. However whilst we were in the process of developing the film in the dark room, our ‘helpful’ lab supervisor switched on the main light to see how we were doing! We had to start the experiment all over again and he wasn’t very popular. For my 3rd year project I decided to undertake a teaching project. I gave a Tomorrow's World type presentation- complete with lasers - on medical physics and its applications to a class of 6th formers at a school in Crowborough. I enjoyed this so much that I decided to do a PGCE and follow a career in teaching.

Helen Astill
BSc Physics with Medical Physics graduate

Software Developer at LiveLink Technology - Vicky Stephens

Vicky Stephens
BSc in Physics graduate

Industrial placement year

We also offer the BSc and MPhys as courses with an industrial placement year. The industrial placement provides you with the opportunity to spend your third year working in industry, in an area relevant to your course, and to receive a salary. This will extend your studies by a year.

A year in industry is a proven way to fast-track your career and both the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the University’s Careers and Employability Centre provide you with dedicated placement support. This includes guided preparation early in your course to help you find, secure and succeed in your placement.

Career management and support

As a student, you can access a range of services through our Careers and Employability Centre. You can get individual career support or attend employer events and career talks specifically for Physics students, including:

  • the Science, Engineering and IT Fair: we organise a yearly fair giving you the opportunity to meet and find out more about employers that are particularly interested in physics graduates
  • our Career development course: we offer second year students a course on the fundamentals of successful career development
  • the Physics Careers Forum: we organise a yearly careers forum giving you the opportunity to hear from Sussex and non-Sussex graduates and employers about careers and job prospects.

Other opportunities to enhance your career prospects include:

  • our MPhys students can complete a research placement with Sussex researchers during the summer vacation, which provides a unique opportunity to learn about research methods and practices at the same time as developing your knowledge and understanding of Physics and/or Astrophysics.
  • extra-Curricular Activities are those things you do during your time as a student which are not a formal part of your degree course. You can get involved in all the Student Union activity clubs and societies, and develop a range of skills that employers value.
  • career-related vacation work will enhance your future employment prospects and say something about you as a person and potential employee. In addition, it offers other advantages such as finding out whether you really like a particular kind of work or company before you graduate. Work experience helps you get more out of your degree. It gives you a chance to see how your courses are relevant to the world of work, and can motivate the work you do at University.