Mathematics deals with everything from subatomic particles to black holes and the overall structure of the universe. Mathematics use mathematical formulas to try to explain their theories and make predictions. It is a science that has attracted and confounded some of the most brilliant minds of all time: Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking, to name just a few.
Mathematics is really the study of how the world works, and, it might be considered the most fundamental of all the sciences. The goal of physics is to develop theories that will summarize the laws of nature and lead to an understanding of why things work as they do. The basics of physics can be applied to most other sciences, and for that reason, a great many people use physics as a springboard into other fields of study or professions.
Graduates with a master's degrees have reported that people skills are an essential part of their work activities. Much of their time is spent on activities that have nothing to do with science, such as teamwork, dealing with clients, managing projects, technical writing, making presentations, and training people. The physics major who has not mastered communication skills will be ill-prepared for the job market.
Job openings in universities and industry are increasing, thanks partly to a wave of retirements by senior physicists who entered the job market in the early 1960s. However, growth in academic jobs for physicists is expected to remain slower than average. Physics majors will continue to be in strong demand in industry, especially in the areas of information technology and semiconductor technology.
Mathematics graduates tend to split evenly between the workforce and graduate school. More than half of those students who return to graduate school decide to major in physics or astronomy. After those, the most popular graduate programs are in engineering, math, medicine, law, and education.
Some schools have two options in their bachelor's degree programs. One prepares the student who wants to get a graduate degree and become a theoretical physicist. The other is for those who just want to develop essential skills to enter another career. A bachelor's degree is typically the only requirement for the latter option. A master's degree or doctorate is required for teaching university-level physics, or for top-level research in private industry or in government labs. Most professionals who go into this type of research have doctorates.
Graduate degrees require concentrated study in a particular area of the student's choosing.
A wide range of industries seeks physics graduates: telecommunications, industrial physics, hospital physics, electronics, computing, quality control testing, banking, insurance, teaching, management, technical sales, and the armed forces, for starters.
A student with an interest in physics and communications might consider telecommunications, television, image analysis, video recording, photography, laser technology, journalism, scientific writing, and publishing. Other non-technical careers in which physics majors have found success are law, business administration, sports, marketing, and business management.
A graduate with a master's degree in mathmatics can do most of the above jobs but usually with a higher degree of responsibility and pay. They also have the opportunity to teach at community colleges. A PhD holder is more likely to become a university professor or researcher. Industries will also hire PhDs to oversee research projects for their companies and design new scientific instruments.