Physical sciences and engineering
What do physical scientists and engineers do?
Doctoral graduates from this discipline form the largest group, making up 32% of all UK-domiciled doctoral graduates over 2003-2007.
Destinations at a glance
Physical sciences and engineering doctoral graduates from 2003-2007 working in the UK and who responded to the survey:
- 42% were working in the education sector, predominantly higher education
- 25% were employed in manufacturing and research industries
- 20% worked in finance, business and IT, accounting for two thirds of respondents working in the sector
- 43% worked in research roles, in both academia and industry, making it the most popular occupation
- 28% were employed as research staff in higher education
Common career paths
Common career paths in physical sciences can be roughly split into 'hands-on' (research based) and ‘hands-off' (not research based, but related to the subject).
You can start to navigate career options by looking at Options with your subject on the Prospects careers website.
Engineering offers vocational and non-vocational opportunities. Review the engineering sector guide on the Prospects careers website.
Investigate where former researchers in your department or institution are now working.
The following career profiles are useful in terms of gaining ideas on destinations.
- Chris - physics and chemistry - senior scientist
- Steve - engineering - development engineer
- Jo - chemistry - higher education specialist
- Kelly - chemistry - innovations adviser
- Caroline - chemistry - journals editor
- Kristy - chemistry - deputy director of professional body
- Bruce - colour chemistry - plant chemist
- Sara - chemistry - careers consultant
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