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is physics Ph.D. worth it?

In this post we’ll be exposing what is behind the scenes of phsyics Ph.D. journey, the bright sides, and the dark ones.

Is physics Ph.D. worth it?

According to BLS the median pay of a physicist is $147,450 which is considered the highest salary in stem major, Physicians earn more than computer science engineers as a medical approximation but in other cases, computer scientists and physicists can earn way more than that.

In addtion, some physicists can work in some unrelated industries like banking and the stock market industry earning over $200,000 a year, so getting a Ph.D. in physics is worth it financially if you arrived to find a good job position.

But you have to understand there are only 20,000 physicists in the United States, and the demand is growing by 8% which is equivalent to 1600 occupations created every year. These numbers are very poor compared to engineering positions.

For instance, if we take electrical engineering, the number of engineers is 200,000 and each year. They hire 20,000 engineers which is equivalent to the whole American physicist. 

So physicists are well paid, but the odds of getting jobs in this position are weak, for this reason, we find a lot of people thinking to become professors which will not be possible for anyone.

In addtion, the process of getting a Ph.D. in physics is very hard and has a lot of challenges that we will list in detail in the next paragraph, the most obvious one is spending 5 to 10 years after getting your bachelor’s in research. 

This is not discouraging, but the thing you need to consider is that loving the process or getting a physic Ph.D. is more interesting than getting a physics Ph.D. itself.

Because the financial advantages that a physics Ph.D. have can be obtained without only a 4-year engineering degree in a such domain as computer science.

So physics Ph.D. will be worth it for students who :

the pros of getting a physics PhD 

getting Ph.D. has many pros but we asked many physics students and here is what they did say:


but all of these students have one thing in common, they were enjoying doing math and solving physics problems. They said that you must have a spirit of working independently and solving problems.

For students who have a dream of becoming professors, having a Ph.D. is the road they should go in. But they have to expect a lot of setbacks and obstacles will be talking about in the next paragraph.

How hard is physics PhD

Physics Ph.D. is very hard, and a lot of students give up on the process because it is longer and tougher, students face many problems like a lack of support and discouraging funding to do their experiences but the worst thing is to have a disinterested advisor in your project.

we going to list the 3 main problems that make students struggle in physics Ph.D.

1 time and effort 

physics Ph.D. will take a longer time and dedication, it might be taking you up to 10 years of grind and hard work, whereas all your colleagues should have families and work in stable jobs, you will have some feeling of loneliness.

Some advisors offer some tough subjects that require a huge amount of time or research and work to complete.

You will be performing special experiments and analyzing data multiple times to finally prepare a paper essay of 150 pages that must be approved by the committee in the field.

So, You will be required to do a lot of research and solve problems that nobody will support you for. so persistence is what makes a difference between who succeeds in physics and who doesn’t.

2 math heavy 

if you don’t enjoy doing math and solving problems, you could not continue or succeed in physics Ph.D.

You will be studying difficult and advanced physics topics like fluid dynamics, quantum mechanics, general relativity, cosmology, astrophysical, etc.

theses subjects are really hard and require a lot of math to resolve.

you will be taking one deep specialty. For instance, if you specialize in optics you will take a small part of it like in telescopes or work in research devices to measure distance with lights.

it becomes very hard to find support and references for your topics even on the internet because you are narrowing down on the most advanced topics 99,99% don’t know about.

So there will be a lot of time-consuming research by going back to traditional methods which are books and visiting libraries even with the generation of the 2.0 web.

3 money

you will be getting around 40 k to 70k a year as a research fundings in the best condition for 10 to 15 years studying for your Ph.D. which is not enough and sounds to be difficult instead of working in engineering industries in comfortable positions with 100k.

so it will require a lot of patience and get a lot of risks.

Because if you fail you’ll be losing a lot of money opportunities, time, and energy. Especially when you get older while the working opportunities reduce with time.

The terrible thing is to drop a Ph.D. program in the middle of the road, losing all they have built over the years and going back to zero. 

This is not the right road to take for students who are looking for finances by getting a high-salary job through a physics Ph.D.


The most interesting thing to know for enthusiasts and people who are interested to do a Ph.D. in physics is this domain opens doors outside of the academic area.

In other words, if you can’t work or find a job with a government, you still have the chance to work with skyrocketed salaries in banking and comptuer science areas like blockchain and cryptocurrency.