After your degree

After your degree

Six months after graduation, 90% of our 2014 graduates were in work or further study

Video: Skype chat with a physics graduate
Case study: Emily Rickman

Emily RickmanPhD student, University of Geneva

"When I first visited Sheffield I knew it was where I wanted to be. The main thing that struck me was that everybody was so friendly. I was also attracted to Sheffield because of the possibility to study abroad on the astrophysics masters program, which was something I hadn't seen offered anywhere else in the UK.

"I enjoyed the course the more I went through it, from learning the basics in first year to leaving as a scientist after fourth year. I enjoyed that in the course we not only got taught skills, but these skills were immediately put to use and in context. For example, in second year we were taught how to programme and then we used these skills to model the internal structure of the Sun.

"The path to where I am now truly started in second year with Simon Goodwin's extra-solar planets and astrobiology course. At that point, I was captivated into learning about planets outside of our solar system.

"My third year was spent studying at the Australian National University, which was a challenging but rewarding year. In Australia, I undertook a research project hunting for planets and it was such an incredible experience getting to work with cutting-edge research. It gave me the opportunity to network and meet people in the field, which would be how I ended up studying for a PhD in exoplanets in Geneva. I was able to observe at a world-class site, operate a particle accelerator, be taught by a nobel-prize winner in cosmology, as well as meet directors from NASA who were visiting Canberra's deep space communication complex. I left Australia with a greater knowledge and understanding of the field, invaluable experiences and lasting friendships.

"Studying in Australia in third year gave me the confidence to look at PhDs abroad when it came to fourth year. I knew that I enjoyed living in another country and this has given me the ability to come and study for a PhD in direct imaging exoplanets at the University of Geneva."

Case study: Evelyn Johnston

Evelyn JohnstonESO Fellow, European Southern Observatory

Evelyn was asked to write about her career so far for the European Southern Observatory magazine, The Messenger. She wrote:

"I moved to Sheffield in England to do a degree in Physics and Astronomy. During those years, my interest in astronomy grew and for my masters year I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to carry out my research project while working as a student support astronomer at the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) in La Palma. This position gave me my first opportunity to experience life as an astronomer at an observatory, and while the job was hard, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

"The INT is a rather hands-on telescope, where visitors have to do everything themselves, including refilling the cryostats, pointing the telescope, opening and closing the dome, etc. As a result, it gave me a real feel for how astronomical observations are really carried out, the preparation that has to go into planning the night, and a true appreciation of the work by the whole observatory team to build and maintain the precision of such impressive machinery."

Read the full article

What job will I get?

The overwhelming majority of our students get first or upper second class (2:1) degrees, but that's not all they get from their courses. You'll learn lots of the skills that employers are looking for, from specialist knowledge of physics, astrophysics and mathematics, to more general scientists' skills such as numerical techniques, programming, problem solving, logic and critical thinking. You'll also improve your oral and written communication, time management, group working and IT.

Our degrees can take you into many different areas: renewable energy, nanotechnology, space exploration industries, telecommunications, teaching, scientific research in industry or via a PhD. Other careers build on the many transferable skills you'll get from your degree, such as computing, insurance, accountancy and consultancy.

Graduate case studies database

Continuing your studies

Our department is staffed by world-leading researchers. Many of our graduates choose to do a PhD with us, so that they can remain a part of our ground-breaking discoveries.

Find out more about our PhD opportunities

Careers Service

The University Careers Service provides help, both while you study and after you graduate. They offer general advice on CV writing, applications, interviews, psychometric tests and careers skills. There are workshops, leaflets, tips and talks tailored to Physics and Astronomy students to help you get a job, events where you can meet employers, and opportunities for you to get work experience or a part-time job while you study.

Careers advice for Physics and Astronomy students and graduates


We're part of the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA), which was set up to get more physics graduates into technical industries (science, engineering and technology) that are worth around £220bn to the UK economy.

Through WRIPA, we can set up collaborations between our students and industrial partners. By giving you hands-on experience of research and development projects with industry, WRIPA can help you get more skills and experience for your CV, and expand your career opportunities.

We've also hosted the biggest specialist physics careers fair in the UK, in conjunction with WRIPA, where more than 400 students met staff from more than 30 companies.

News: Employers visit campus to talk to physics students about careers