Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 756-2448
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Email: physics@calpoly.edu
Chair: Karl Saunders

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Career Opportunities and Internships

Plan your Career.  Career Planning is a process.  The place to start is with questions that eventually focus your search.  What are my interests?  What kind of skills do I have?  What are my values?  What options do I have?  What jobs fit my skills?  Do I prefer business, non-profit, public sector?  What careers and industries use my skillset?  By answering these questions, you’ll be able to focus your job search productively.  Luckily, you can get professional advice from physics faculty and/or Career Services.

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Career planning starts NOW

Build your skillset as well as a network of professional connections.  A large majority of physics jobs are found through networking.

CV Builder (PDF): Take physics electives that strengthen your resume. 

Internships and Summer Jobs: Many companies have internships and the people you meet become part of your personal network.  Successful internships often lead to full-time offers of employment after graduation.  Most internships are posted during Fall and Winter quarters.

Get a Linked In account.  Linked-In connects you with hundreds of Cal Poly physics alumni.  Ask alumni for an informational interview.   Ask them about their experiences in their job hunt, and the companies that they work for.

Career Connections mentoring platform exclusive to Cal Poly students and alumni. Alumni in the platform have chosen to join specifically to help current students explore their career paths. Activate your free account to connect with alumni to get career-related advice. You can also search alumni using filters such as major, industry and location.

The Career Fairs on campus are a good place to connect with employers.

Go to conferences with job fairs and industry partners.  SPIE, APS, AAS, NOAAThe HR representatives at these physics conference are looking for people with a “BS or BA in Physics”.  They paid for the booth to connect with YOU! 

Career Services has resources that can help you identify your strengths, find job titles that fit your interests, and connect you with alumni.  You can also make a personalized appointment to explore jobs and get help editing your resume. 

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Going to Graduate School

Choosing a Career as a physics major

We suggest checking out the resources below to assist you in clarifying areas that are of greatest interest to you. For example, some of the most common job titles for physics majors include systems engineer, optical engineer, test engineer, systems analyst, process technician, etc. There are very few job titles with the word physicist in them.  It takes some work to focus your search productively.

  • Careers 2020 Career development advice and employer profiles provided by the American Physical Society. 
  • SPS Careers Toolbox Career planning resources for physics majors.  Most common Job titles and descriptions of what they mean.
  • AIP career resources  The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has many relevant resources.

Physics Job Boards

General Job Boards

Beware of scams! There is a good resource on the Cal Poly Job and Internship Search page.

Before searching a jobs board, you need know what job titles are relevant to your search.  Check out the  SPS Careers Toolbox to figure out what kind of job you’re looking for.  Professional advice is advised.  Ask your research advisor or make an appointment with a Career Counselor at Career Services.

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Resources for Future High School Teachers

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