Physics

Careers and opportunities

What do civil engineers specialising in physics do?

You may have noticed that our world is not made solely of virtual reality, computer code and equations. As well as living beings, it is also populated with very real objects of greater or lesser technical complexity. These objects are made of matter, governed by the basic laws of physics and chemistry. Since the dawn of humanity, people have tried to master these laws in order to create objects and systems that will improve their lives (and their finances). Some recent examples of these objects are illustrated by the images on this page: prostheses and medical devices, electronic equipment, aircraft and other means of transport, sporting items, methods of communication (optical fibres, flat screens, inks, paper…), sensors and detectors, satellites, construction materials such as smart glass, steel beams and cement, protective packaging for food, information storage media (CDs, DVDs, hard disks), toys of varying levels of sophistication, tyres, high-voltage cables. The list is long – just look around you.

Thanks to its detailed coverage of different areas of physics (the physics of materials, optics, electromagnetism, electronics, mechanics, quantum physics and the foundations of physics), the civil engineering master's specialising in physics (FYAP) opens the door to many careers and industrial specialisms and to technology activities with a strong research aspect. Civil engineers specialising in physics master the physical aspects of how objects function and understand their interaction with their environment (waves, ions, electrical and magnetic fields, temperature gradients etc.). The training for civil engineers specialising in physics is multidisciplinary and emphasises both experiment and modelling. They are able to apply theoretical and formal representations of material objects using digital simulation tools and to conduct laboratory experiments using sophisticated instruments, which they may have developed themselves. Their multi-scale understanding of physical properties enables them to draw links between properties on the atomic level and macroscopic properties.

Civil engineers specialising in physics have sought-after scientific and technical expertise. They are called on to resolve frequently complex, multidisciplinary technological problems associated with the design, production and use of materials, devices and systems. They can play a key role as an interface between different users of functional materials. They are also at the cutting edge of technological innovation.

Civil engineers specialising in physics are constantly faced with legal, ethical and economic constraints, values and rules in their work. Their broad scientific and technical knowledge enables them to work independently and manage complex industrial projects. They are comfortable as part of a team and communicate effectively, including in English.