Physics & Astronomy

Have you always been interested in understanding nature at its deepest level? Do you enjoy combining experiments with mathematical modeling to observe nature, explore phenomena and construct theories to understand phenomena? Majoring in Physics & Astronomy at York will help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to do this. It will prepare you for a career centered in the scientific world where job options can be incredibly diverse and range from investigating earthquakes to creating new spacecraft and vehicles in propulsion laboratories.

Career Options in Physics & Astronomy

This list is not exhaustive but provides an idea of the options graduates have and what they have gone on to do. Some options are more directly associated with a Physics and Astronomy degree than others.

  • Acoustics Physicist
  • Astronomer
  • Astrophysicist
  • Atmospheric Physicist
  • Automotive Designer
  • Bioinformatics Specialist
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Biophysicist
  • Chemical Physicist
  • Computational Physicist
  • Construction Consultant
  • Crime Scene Analyst
  • Customs Inspector
  • Cytotechnologist
  • Food Scientist
  • Hazardous Materials Manager
  • Health Equipment Designer
  • Hydrologist
  • Light and Optics Specialist
  • Materials Researcher
  • Materials Tester
  • Medical Illustrator
  • Medical Researcher
  • Meteorological Technician
  • Metallurgist
  • Molecular Physicist
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist
  • Nuclear Physicist
  • Optical Technician
  • Organic Mass Spectrometrist
  • Paper Product Developer
  • Pollution Analyst
  • Professor
  • Radiation Safety Technician
  • Radiologist
  • Researcher
  • Science Writer
  • Scientific Editor
  • Seismologist
  • Soil Tester
  • Teacher
  • Technical Sales Representative
  • Technical Writer
  • Water Quality Inspector

Some of these career choices may require additional education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential education or professional formative courses and exams. For a more in-depth description of some of the careers mentioned above visit Career Cruising (login information can be found on the home page of the Career Centre's online system) or the National Occupational Classification website.

Skills Developed through a Physics & Astronomy Degree

Studies in Physics & Astronomy can develop many different professional abilities and can introduce you to a vast body of technical, and theoretical knowledge.

Core Physics and Astronomy Skills

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the structure and behaviour of materials and matter
  • The skills to effectively perform laboratory work
  • The ability to comprehend complex technical and scientific material and its implications on everyday life and technology
  • The skills to collect various types of information, assess them, and formulate and test hypotheses

Communication, Data Gathering and Organizational Skills

  • The ability to present your thoughts clearly and intelligently in written statements
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to easily navigate and understand statistics and mathematical calculations
  • An ability to organize, understand and analyze new sources of information and to apply novel forms of technology or new information to different professional settings and tasks
  • Deduction of information from various sources and the ability to concentrate on relevant resources
  • The ability to learn new information and apply this to professional demands
  • The capacity to critically analyze problems, think creatively and make sound and well-reasoned decisions while considering different sides of each argument

Management and Teamwork

  • The ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers and efficiently and constructively support or challenge their proposals, theories, ideas and reports in order to achieve a project's intended and successful end result
  • Skills enabling you to work effectively in group situations, partaking in decision-making, leading and contributing in various capacities to the ultimate success of the team and task
  • The ability to debate, persuade, mediate and present your thoughts and opinions clearly to others, as well as the capacity to recognize and incorporate other potential solutions or applications to given problems
  • The capability to identify priorities and proper courses of action, to plan the execution of tasks and to determine and delegate responsibilities to group members to most effectively carry out projects

Professional Associations and Organizations

Knowing the industry and how to excel in it after receiving a degree are key elements of future success. University study sets up the building blocks you will need to develop and enhance your understanding and knowledge in your career. Being part of a professional organization or network and gaining further insight through training are excellent ways of increasing your knowledge of the field.