On physics and jobs

Careers support for physicists at QMUL

Melanie Christou, the School's internship co-ordiantor talks about why physicsts are so valued  by employers.

Could you briefly describe your role in the School of Physics and Astronomy?

I am the SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer in the School of Physics & Astronomy. I am responsible for organising and co-ordinating paid internship opportunities suitable for physics and astronomy students. This varies from placements during the summer to part-time placements during the term time. I am also responsible for organising events that will allow students to network with employers and to find out more about how to be successful in placements and graduate programmes.

Could you give us an example of some of the placements you have organised for physics students?

Most recently, I placed a Physics graduate in a 6-month role with a company called SCISYS. The role involved earth observation data analysis. Previously, I placed a 1st year student in a start-up company called Wallacea that has created a crowd funding platform for science research projects. Overall, I aim to develop a range of opportunities which can be suitable for all students, from their 1st year through to graduation.

Do companies like employing physicists or physicist interns?  

Certainly, some of the employers I have been speaking with have said that physicists are some of the best employees/interns they have. People have told me that they have found that there is no problem is too big for a physicist! Physicists are also known for their methodical and logical approach towards problem solving. Many successful companies rely on good problem solvers.

Physicists are also curious about things, which makes them open to new learning. Being versatile and open to new challenges makes for a desirable candidate. Finally, physicists are strong in skill sets that aren’t easily found, such as the combination of good numerical skills with an ability to grasp complex concepts.

How do our placements benefit students, are there any examples of the placements leading directly to employment?

It can be a life changing experience for some. Almost two years ago now, I placed a student in an aerospace engineering firm in an 8-week summer internship. He was set on doing a PhD after his undergraduate studies but his internship had enthused him so much that he chose to go on and do a masters in aerospace engineering with a view to get a job in the industry upon graduation. One of our 1st year students whom I placed in a data analytics role in the City was made a job offer upon the completion of her internship. Thankfully, the company are happy to wait for her to complete her studies before joining them!

You can find out more about Physics specific careers and employability schemes on our careers pages.

Published on: 
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

 The School of Physics and Astronomy keeps an archive of bulletins across all research groups, scientific disciplines, and types of activities.​ You can access various bulletins archives by following these links.

Other Bulletins - Undergraduate | Postgraduate