Information for Parents

What makes a good physicist? Well, for starters, if your child asks likes to ask ‘why’, and takes things apart to figure out how they work, then they may make a great physicist.

Of course, as a parent your concern is how they should prepare to become a physicist, and what they will do for a living once they become a physicist. The answer is that they can do a huge range of things, some of them clearly physics, but others often not. Some examples include careers in medicine, in wind or solar energy technology development, in communications technology, or as consultants to either government or corporations. So, as you can see, although the word ‘physics’ rarely appears in the career path, this doesn’t mean a degree in Physics won’t lead to a rewarding job.

You and your child can learn about the options by starting on the web. We have a list of profiles of physicists, or learn about the various specialty areas in physics (eg astronomy, nuclear, material science, etc). And if you’re interested to see where our graduates have gone after studying physics, or what types of salaries they can earn, have a look at our employment prospects section.

The University of Sydney has 150 years experience in studying and teaching physics and the School of Physics is now one of the largest physics departments in the country. It has an outstanding profile in both teaching and research. Degree programs are designed to be flexible, allowing your child to study with an emphasis on topics that suit his/her needs. Where appropriate degrees may combine physics with nanoscience, biology, geology, engineering and even overseas exchange or industrial experience.

Hidden physicists

Physicists are everywhere. Here is just a sample of positions in which a physics graduates could work:

Management Consultant
IT Support
Reactor Engineer
Mortgage Broker
Computer Technician
Electrical and Electric Locomotives Coordinator
Dairy Farmer
Programmer Solar Cell Designe/Maker
Telecommunications Technical Specialist
Radiation Oncology Medical Physicist
Civil Engineering Programmer
Patent Attorney
Junior Radiotherapy Physicist
Avionics Engineer
Patent Examiner
Intern Mine Radiation Safety Officer
Special Counsel
Financial Data Analyst
Laboratory Technician
Derivatives Dealer
Science and Maths Teacher
Operational Analyst (defence)
Science Communicator
Engineering Officer (air force)
Trainee Meteorologist
Experimental Scientist Health Physicist

If you still have questions, contact the School of Physics on .