The Physical Sciences field is multi-disciplinary, allowing students to take classes in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, meteorology, and more in order to learn the laws of nature, the chemical makeup of rocks and soil and much more. Graduates learn math and science skills that prepare them for careers in a variety of industries.
Physical Sciences is a large field with several possible choices for majors. Students can major in General Physical Sciences for a broad education in all topics. If they are more interested in space and space travel, the may choose a major in Astronomy and Astrophysics, while those interested in weather can major in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology. Other majors include Chemistry, Geological and Earth Sciences, Physics and Material Sciences.
This year's Best Physical Sciences Schools ranking compares 256 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom physical sciences rankings further below.
Students who pursue a degree in Physical Sciences have a strong background in math and science, specifically chemistry and physics. Other necessary skills for a successful career in this field include analytical and critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and teamwork skills. Scientists often work together to solve problems making it important for accurate information to be spread efficiently and project requirements to be thoroughly explained.
Bachelor's degrees in this field may allow for an entry-level position, but a master's or Ph.D. is required for advancement. These additional degrees also give graduates the ability to conduct research, pursue fulltime positions, and lead projects.
New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Specific physical sciences careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.
Physical Sciences degree levels vary. Physical Sciences programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest physical sciences degree you can get. How long it takes to complete some common physical sciences degree levels is shown below.
|Degree||Credit Requirements||Typical Program Length|
|Associate Degree||60-70 credits||2 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120 credits||4 years|
|Master’s Degree||50-70 credits||1-3 years|
|Doctorate||Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation||At least 4 years|
A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to physical sciences, with approximately 32.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to physical sciences tend obtained the following education levels.
|Level of Education||Percentage of Workers|
This of course varies depending on which physical sciences career you choose.
Students who graduate with a degree in the Physical Sciences often pursue careers that allow them to work closely with the natural world. Graduates have gone on to find jobs as meteorologists, geologists, chemists, physicists, and astronomers. Their advanced knowledge in math and science fields have allowed graduates to find jobs at research and development firms, with NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and at the National Weather Service.
Want a job when you graduate with your physical sciences degree? Physical Sciences careers are expected to grow 8.3% between 2016 and 2026.
The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to physical sciences.
|Occupation Name||Projected Jobs||Expected Growth|
|High School Teachers||1,095,500||7.5%|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||190,000||5.5%|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||99,400||11.1%|
Recently graduated physical sciences students earned an average of $40,005 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $7,081 to as high as $126,908. As you might expect, salaries for physical sciences graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.
Salaries for physical sciences graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers physical sciences grads often go into.
|Occupation Name||Median Average Salary|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$148,970|
|Natural Sciences Managers||$139,680|
With over 6,629 different physical sciences degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased physical sciences school rankings to help you with this.
|Geological & Earth Sciences||7,821|
|General Physical Sciences||3,823|
|Astronomy & Astrophysics||1,375|
|Related Major||Annual Graduates|
|Computer & Information Sciences||254,454|
|Biological & Biomedical Sciences||177,778|
|Mathematics & Statistics||52,396|