Pursuing a master’s or PhD in quantum physics: What you should know
Quantum physics is, in short, the physics that explains how everything works. It explores the nature of the particles that make up matter and the sheer force with which they interact. It’s the study of matter and energy at the most core level — explaining how electrons move through a microchip or how the sun is a consistent ball of fire.
A great example is fluorescent lighting. The light you get from the tubes is a result of a quantum phenomenon — it’s basically the reaction of a small amount of mercury vapour into the plasma.
Now, a master’s or PhD in quantum physics per se is not a thing. It’s usually studied as part of the physics programme. However, you can aim for a master’s or PhD that specialises in this field by taking on concentrations in quantum mechanics or quantum science.
To study physics at the postgraduate level, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree in physics or a related degree with a specialisation in physics.
Without a related degree in the field, you may need to submit additional documentation with your application for the university’s evaluation on whether or not you meet the admission requirements. Some universities may admit you if you have a degree in other scientific disciplines with significant physics and mathematical content.
Those who are looking for a PhD programme in physics with a focus on quantum physics should have a strong undergraduate and master’s background in physics with sufficient coursework in the domain. To add to that, an interest in independent research or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is also needed.
At the master’s level, some of your courses may include advanced quantum mechanics, advanced classical physics, particle physics, and advanced quantum information, to name a few.
When pursuing a PhD with an interest in quantum physics, topics such as quantum mechanics, applied electrodynamics, quantum theory of solids, advanced solid state physics, statistical mechanics, quantum physics of matter, modern optics and quantum electronics are covered.
With a degree in this field, you can be a theoretical or experimental physicist, a researcher and even work with a quantum computer. Not only can you work in the engineering field (the highest paid jobs at NASA are the engineers), but in the world of medicine too, as quantum mechanics are used to make different compounds. A quantum physicist takes home an average annual pay of US$120,172.