Career Directions for Undergraduates

Career Directions for Applied Physics Majors

  1. Applied physics provides excellent preparation for and is a traditional pathway to graduate programs in physics-related areas including the applied physics areas of condensed matter, plasma, and optical physics, and biophysics, as well as areas such as high energy physics and astrophysics.

  2. Applied physics is a great vehicle for entry into many types of graduate-level programs in engineering fields, with a background as compelling for these graduate programs as are bachelors degrees in engineering.

  3. Applied physics provides superb preparation for a wide range of positions in university, government, and industrial organizations, in part because the applied physics curriculum is highly customizable with elective chains possible in diverse applications of the student’s choice.

  4. Applied physics is perhaps the best preparation for careers in general technology areas, and is ideally suited for up-and-coming areas, such as energy and nanotechnology.

  5. Applied physics is very well suited for any career requiring strong experimental and/or theoretical and/or calculation skills.

  6. Applied physics is a strategic major for pre-med, pre-dental, pre-teaching, and other pre-professional students, in part because it provides a strong background in core areas, combined with great flexibility in the choice in electives.

  7. Applied physics is an ideal background for careers in patent law.

  8. Applied physics offers a seamless way to enter masters programs and then start careers in the highly-recruited area of medical physics.

  9. Applied physics is excellent preparation for careers at the interfaces of biology, medicine, and physics.

  10. Applied physics provides a very desirable pathway to careers in finance.

For more about careers in Applied Physics see:

APS: Careers
Physics Today: Jobs

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Career Directions for Applied Mathematics Majors

  1. Applied mathematics is the nexus of the quantitative sciences. Its powerful abstractions (algebraic systems, differential systems, geometrical descriptions, probability distributions, discrete structures, etc.) are fed by all of the other quantitative disciplines; its results, developed in one area, inform all of the other areas that share the same abstractions. Applied mathematicians can therefore choose to work anywhere along the spectrum from collaborative teamwork in the applications to autonomous research on the abstractions, and freely move back and forth on this spectrum.

  2. Applied mathematicians and computational scientists are essential to advances in science and engineering from aerodynamics to biomedicine, from geophysics to materials science, from quantum chromodynamics to webpage ranking.

  3. The applied mathematics curriculum at Columbia is highly customizable with elective chains or minors in diverse applications of the student’s choice.

  4. The applied mathematics B.S.E. degree is easily combined with an M.S. degree in five years at Columbia, or, with careful planning and advanced placement, in just four years.

  5. Applied mathematics is a strategic major for professional school applications, since, when combined with the appropriate set of electives or minor, the degree communicates quantitative proficiency essential to meeting conceptual challenges in business, law, or medical studies.

  6. Applied mathematics is a strategic major for Ph.D. program applications throughout the sciences and engineering.

  7. Applied mathematics provides a strong foundation for careers involving risk management, a growth area in government and industry.

  8. Applied mathematics is an excellent major for immediate entry into the financial industry.

  9. The career prospects of applied mathematicians are robust because they can work independently of major experimental devices and large research programs. Their primary tool, the computer, is continually becoming more powerful and less expensive, meaning that over their careers an ever increasing degree of scientific and engineering work will be simulated first, and demonstrated second.

  10. Mathematicians of all kinds are in demand as teachers and can find satisfaction in professional and voluntary roles as instructors, tutors, and consultants, at all stages of life, and in cultures all around the globe regardless of the local language and economy.

For more about careers in Applied Mathematics see:

SIAM: Careers

AMS: Careers

Career Overview
: Math Careers

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Career Directions for Materials Science Majors

Below are a  few of the well-known companies within which materials scientists and engineers work as a vital part of the manufacturing of products:

Electronic Materials: GlobalFoundries, Apple, Intel, IBM, GE, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Xerox, Western Electric, Western Digital Company

Metals: Alcoa, U.S. Steel, International Nickel, General Motors, Ford, Boeing, General Dynamics, Western Electric

Polymers: Exxon, Phillips, Dupont, Dow , Gore 

Ceramics and Glasses: Corning Glass, Pilkington, Norton, major steel companies, electronic components industrial companies

For more about careers in Materials Science and Engineering see:

American Ceramic Society: ACerS Career Center

AIST: Employment Board

ASM: Career Center

TMS: Jobs and Career Resources

Materials Research Society: Career Connections

Materials Advantage: Career Resources

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