Physics Graduate Salary

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Jan 10 2024

Recently completed a physics qualification? You’re probably curious as to how much you can earn at this early stage of your career. In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about graduate physics salaries, from how much you can expect to earn to how to negotiate your salary.


How much can physics graduates earn?

Completing a physics qualification opens doors to a range of career opportunities. Here are some of the career opportunities for physics graduates, alongside estimated starting salaries from the UK government.


  • Astrophysicist: research the origin and structure of the universe. £15,609
  • Geophysicist: study the physical processes of the earth (earthquakes, mineral exploration). £24,000
  • Medical physicist: use physics theories to improve healthcare equipment. £31,365


  • Electrical engineer: design, build and service electrical systems and machinery. £20,000
  • Telecommunications engineer: install broadband and mobile networks, and develop satellite and other telecommunications systems. £24,000
  • Robotics engineer: design, build and maintain machines for automated processes in different industries. £27,500


  • Laboratory technician: provide practical support to advance scientific research and product development. £20,000
  • Meteorologist: study the atmosphere and climate to make weather forecasts. £20,000

Postgraduate study 

Postgraduate study is a great way to not just specialise in an area of physics you’re passionate about, but to also boost your earning potential. Research found that six months after graduation, postgraduates earn 18% more than those with an undergraduate degree.

One of the biggest barriers to postgraduate education is cost. A Level 7 apprenticeship is a great way to get a master’s without getting into debt. As an apprentice, you’ll receive paid work experience, while also having your education fully funded. There’s a range of physics apprenticeships to choose from, such as the Research Scientist apprenticeship and the broadcast engineer pathway. 

Negotiating your salary

Many graduates assume their salary is set in stone, but it’s definitely possible to negotiate a salary increase. Many physics graduates are lucky enough to secure a number of offers from companies. If this is the case for you, don’t be afraid to mention this to the companies you’re most interested in. If you’re transparent yet polite (avoid using other offers as a threat), you could find companies increasing your starting salary providing you accept their offer.

If you’re already working in a graduate role, you could have a conversation with your employer about your salary. It’s best to do this about a year into the role, and to do some research beforehand. Make sure you understand the company’s business needs and what similar companies pay, so you come in with a viable offer. Furthermore, during negotiations, be sure to showcase the value you bring to the company, citing specific examples of times you’ve shown initiative or leadership skills.

Asking for a pay rise can be scary, but, if you’re polite and forthcoming, the worst they can do is say no. 

Other factors

Many different factors go into a graduate salary. You can see above that starting salaries differ greatly, so you might wish to focus on applying to certain roles or industries which pay more. Other factors that influence one’s salary include working in a high cost of living area (London or another large city), working for a large, well-established company or having experience in the sector through work experience or internships.