Important Information for Physics Majors

It is never too early to start thinking about your future career path. Following these steps will help in making your decision easier.

Undergraduate Education

  1. Join the UAlbany chapter of the Society of Physics Students as early as possible. You will get exposure to lectures that go beyond the required classes, to hands-on activities, such as rocket building, and to discussions of interesting career choices. Also, consider joining the Math Club.
  2. In your sophomore, junior and senior years participate in the Annual Joseph Henry Competition. Exposure to non-standard physics questions sharpens your problem solving skills, the most attractive feature of physics majors for prospective employers.

Research as an Undergraduate Student

  1. Talk to faculty members about their research and take elective courses. Having exposure to various research areas will help you to choose your future career path.
  2. Consider applying for REU programs after your sophomore and junior years. REU is a paid internship funded by the National Science Foundation which allows students to join various research groups in the summer. Exposure to this program provides you with valuable experience and increases your chances of getting to the best graduate schools.

Applying to Graduate School

  1. If you are interested in applying to graduate schools, start preparing for the GRE exams (general and subject tests) in your junior year. You can use various study guides to study for these exams. Subject GRE is only offered few times a year, please check the registration deadlines.
  2. If you are interested in applying to graduate schools, identify the universities which have strong research groups in the fields you are planning to pursue. The rating of physics graduate programs can be found here. Notice that most programs waive the tuition costs for PhD students and provide additional financial support.

Non-academic Jobs

If you are interested in a non-academic jobimmediately after graduation, you can use this site to identify the potential employers. A state-by-state listing of employers looking to hire Physics Majors with a B.S. degree can be found at

The list of UAlbany students who recently completed REU programs and/or entered graduate schools can be found here.