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I want to be a theoretical physicist.

In the STEM industries, I am curious about which school I may attend to become a theoretical physicist and what is the percentage of job placement coming out of college? #science

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Khoi’s Answer

So physics is a big word, and the truth is if you are if you want to become a theoretical physicist you will have to also be a good teacher. Your journey starts now, dont wait for the classroom to give you assignments on General Relativity, QCD, Heat mechanics, EM Field, etc....
There is simply not enough time to teach you everything to prepare you, so most physicst find a specialty.

If you get a chance , apply or ask to help in anyway with research with your professors.

You will need to get comfortable with the process of getting grants for your research and publishing papers.


Now for the job market, physics major tend to benefit most with an engineering degree or computer science minor or double major.
The industry needs physicst to do research on anything from superconductivity to protein folding. No two physicst's path are ever the same.

Where ever you decide to go, just remeber the most important thing about physics is to expand our knowledge of the universe in any way possible. And Dont forget to always do thought experiments when you can, it helps keep the physicst inside us grow.

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Joseph’s Answer

The site is recommending I answer this question - at this point the asker has probably been through college and could provide an answer from their own perspective; but for the sake of anyone else reading the question, I'll chip in a bit of an answer.

I note the question is specifically about theoretical physics - to which I'll comment that the job opportunities are usually in more practical and applied physics or engineering fields. Outside of PhD / postdoctoral research within universities, there's not many jobs you'd call theoretical physics - so from that perspective, the percentage is quite low - as a guess, maybe somewhere in the region of 10-25% go into placements or jobs they would call theoretical physics. However, theoretical physics students are still quite well marketable in more general physics, and a lot will be able to find physics-related jobs quickly - thinking back to my astrophysics and nuclear physics classmates, I'd guess over 50% had physics-related jobs lined up within months of graduation, and while it took some of us a little longer to find job openings, a year or so later, that percentage had gone up much higher. Of course, some students choose to go into different fields, so the percentage is never going to be 100%, but I think of those that wanted to stay in physics, virtually all did.
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