The skills students develop while doing a Ph.D. in Physics makes them extremely attractive to a wide range of employers in a variety of STEM and non-STEM disciplines. To get a sense of potential employers, check out the Who's Hiring Physics PhDs? tool developed by the AIP.
Below are a number of options and programs available to Georgia Tech Physics Ph.D. students to help find the career they want when they graduate.
I. Individual Devlopment Plans (IDPs)
Individual Development Plans (IDPs) have been shown to be an extremely effective tool to help graduate students think about and plan for their futures. IDPs assist students with organizing their goals, keeping track of their skill development, and identifying areas for future growth. The School of Physics and the Graduate Association of Physicists (GAP) have collaborated to produce an IDP specifically designed for Physics Ph.D. students. The School strongly encourages all Ph.D. students to complete and annually update their Individual Development Plan while in the Ph.D. program. Students should discuss their IDP with their research advisor at least once a year in order to develop a plan for pursuing the goals described in the IDP.
II. Career Development While at Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech's Office of Graduate Education has a Professional Development page that gives information on a variety of workshops, services and contacts to help with finding employment after graduation. All Physics Ph.D. students are encouraged to make use of these programs and services throughout their time at Georgia Tech. These programs include:
- Tech to Teaching Certificate Program for students interested in future teaching careers
- Preparing Future Faculty Workshops that help students get ready for the academic job market. See also this page for some helpful advice on preparing the teaching and research statements needed for academic job applications.
- Professional Development Roadmaps to help students organize their development activities
- Graduate Pathways to Success Series offers personal development opportunities for graduate students through a variety of non-credit workshops, seminars and other activities.
- Professional Development Passport is an online series of webinars and workshops covering topics such as career exploration, communication skills, conflict resoution and teamwork.
- For students interested in exploring nonacademic career options, check out IMPact from the APS which connects students to physicists working in industry. (See also this page from the AIP about private sector jobs for physics Ph.Ds.)
In addition, visit the Graduate Career Services website to contact or make an appointment with a career advisor or peer mentor, view and sign up for upcoming events and workshops, as well as utilize job aids and resources.
III. Graduate Interns & Co-ops
Current School of Physics Ph.D. students, in consultation with their research advisor, may find it useful to spend a semester or two working as an Intern or as a Co-op Student (some possible internship opportunites are listed by the APS; see also intern and GRA opportunities at GTRI). There is no tuition associated with the Graduate Co-op Program, nor are there any required fees. Students are provided full-time enrollment status through registration in an audit credit Graduate Co-op course. This permits students to retain all privileges of full-time enrolled students while on work assignments. Full information, plus a FAQ, can be found at the Georgia Tech Co-Op/Internship website.
The application process for internships has now been streamlined and can be completed online. Step-by-step instructions for applying for approval can be found at the Application Process website. Please apply well before the deadlines for each semester (4pm on the Friday before Classes Begin).
IV. Postdoctoral Fellowships and Job Listings
Here are some well regarded Postdoctoral and Research Fellowship programs to consider applying to as students approach finishing up:
- NRC Research Associateship Programs - 4 deadlines a year.
- NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (NPP) - 4 deadlines a year.
In addition, below are some links to popular job posting sites for physics graduates.
- Physics Today Jobs
- American Physical Society - Careers in Physics
- American Physical Society - Physics Jobs
- American Astronomical Society - Job Register
- NASA related/sponsored postdoctoral positions (including NPP)
- Physics Education Research Job Postings