As a physicist, you will be exploring the fundamental properties and laws that govern the universe, ranging from the nanoworld of the microcosmos to the planetary systems and galaxies that form the macrocosmos.

What does a Physicist do?

Physicists conduct experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis to formulate physical laws that govern space, time, energy, and matter. Some physicists carry out research on theoretical areas such as evolution of the universe or the fundamental properties of atoms and molecules that make up matter. They may work on designing and setting up sophisticated scientific equipment like electron microscopes, particle accelerators, and lasers that can be used to perform experiments. Others may take up applied physics focussing on areas like fiber optics, medical, or nuclear physics.

What does a typical day at work involve?

  • Checked Designing and implementing experiments using scientific methods and drawing conclusions
  • Checked Developing theories and laws on the basis of observation and experiments, and applying these theories and laws to problems in areas such as nuclear energy, optics, and aerospace technology
  • Checked Performing calculations as part of the analysis and evaluation of data
  • Checked Analyzing data from research conducted to detect and measure physical phenomena
  • Checked Collaborating with other scientists in the design, development, and testing of experimental, industrial, or medical equipment, instrumentation, and procedures
  • Checked Developing theories or models of physical phenomena
  • Checked Developing manufacturing, assembly, and fabrication processes of lasers, masers, infrared, and other light-emitting and light-sensitive devices
  • Checked Guiding students in conducting researches and experiments
  • Checked Writing articles, research papers and publishing it
  • Checked Teaching in schools, colleges or universities

What areas can a physicist specialise in?

Astrophysics is the interdisciplinary specialisation of physics and astronomy that studies the structure and evolution of the universe including the birth, life and death of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae and other objects in the universe.
Quantum physics studies the behaviour of matter and radiation at the atomic scale. It deals with the dual nature of matter and radiation (as particle and as wave) and their interactions and inter convertibility.
Particle physics uses quantum mechanics to study subatomic particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons and particles produced by radiative and high energy scattering processes, such as photons, neutrinos, muons and many others.
Mathematical physics is an interdisciplinary specialisation of mathematics and physics that applies rigorous mathematical theory including differential equations, complex analysis, integral transforms and group theory to solve problems in physics.
This specialisation covers the theoretical and experimental techniques in modern physics for manipulating matter at the nanoscale. It includes the study of the properties of nano-objects, fabrication and characterization methods for nano-objects and their applications.
Materials science is the study of the relationship between the properties of a material and the structure or the way that the material is assembled. It includes the characterisation of materials by spectroscopy, diffraction and microscopy. Materials science is multidisciplinary and includes subjects from both basic physics, chemistry and engineering.
Solid-state physics is the study of the properties of bulk matter through methods such as quantum mechanics, crystallography, electromagnetism, and metallurgy. It deals primarily with the mechanical and thermal behaviour of solids in relation to the properties exhibited by atoms and molecules because of their periodic arrangement in crystal lattices.
Plasma physics is the branch of physics that focuses on the study of the properties and applications of plasma or fully ionised matter in the form of ions and electrons, also known as the “4th” state of matter.
Nuclear physics is the study of particles within the nucleus of an atom such as protons and neutrons and the forces and interactions that hold them together. It includes the study of nuclear reactions, radioactive decay, nuclear fission and fusion and their applications.

How to become a physicist ?

Step 1
Take Science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Maths

Studying Physics, Chemistry and Maths at the 10+2 level and securing a minimum score in these subjects would be a prerequisite for admission into a bachelor degree in physics.

Step 2
Take B.Sc. Physics

The common course offered at the UG level in this area is B.Sc. Physics. The duration of the course is usually three years.

Note :Integrated MSc

There are 5 year Integrated M.Sc. programs in physics that are offered by many of the prominent universities in the country.

Step 3
Take M.Sc. Physics

After completing the UG degree, you can either go for MSc. Physics or MS in Physics with a specialisations of choice. M.Sc. courses in India are of two years duration and MS degrees offered in various universities abroad are mostly of one year duration.

Note: Integrated PhD

There are Integrated PhD (Master’s + PhD) programs offered by various universities across the country.

Step 4
Go for doctoral level studies

After pursuing master’s, you can go for an M Phil/PhD in Physics if your profile (including projects, research papers, and internships) and research proposal is excellent.

Physics Colleges

Name State District Type Website Course

Requirements for masters (MSc) in physics

Requirements for admission into a PG course in one of the top institutions to help you get an overall picture

India (Integrated PhD Programme in Physical Science from Indian Institute of Science )

  • A minimum of first class or equivalent in B.Sc. or an equivalent degree with Physics as one of the main subjects.
  • Clear the Joint Admission Test for M.Sc. (JAM) and Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) followed by an interview (of those candidates who are shortlisted) at IISc.
  • Valid GATE score/ NET JRF is required

Foreign (M.Sc Physics (nuclear, particle and astrophysics) from Technical university of Munich)

  • A bachelor's degree in physics (or equivalent)
  • A letter of motivation
  • Language proficiency: IELTS: 6.5 , TOEFL: (IbT): 88,(PBT): 66
  • Applicants have to pass an aptitude assessment

To see the entrance exams, scholarships and UG admission details, click here

Skills Required

Mathematical ability

A physicist will have to solve numerical problems, derive equations, and analyse graphs and various measurements. Thus a strong mathematical ability is required.

Technical knowledge

A physicist must possess technical skills as they are supposed to use technology for the measurement and analysis of data.

Writing skills

A physicist must be able to write research papers and articles regarding their experiments and research work.

Presentation skills

A physicist must possess presentation skills as they are required to present reports and research papers to different audiences.

Scientific reasoning

A physicist will have to apply logical/scientific reasoning to arrive at possible solutions to the problems that they handle by using scientific methods and tools.

Team work

A physicist will have to collaborate with other people during their work and thus they must have the ability to work in a team.


  • Checked Energy
  • Checked Instrumentation
  • Checked Manufacturing
  • Checked Telecommunications
  • Checked Aerospace and Defence