2020 Physical Sciences Degree Guide
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.
Physical Sciences Degrees On The Rise
Approximately 1,156 colleges in the U.S. offer a physical sciences degree of some kind. This year's Best Colleges for Physical Sciences ranking compares 479 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of physical sciences programs later in this article.
Physical Sciences Degree Requirements
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.
Getting Accepted Into a Physical Sciences Program
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.
Types of Physical Sciences Degrees
There are many different physical sciences degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in physical sciences to something that takes less time like a first year certificate. 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.
Career Opportunities for A Degree In Physical Sciences Graduate
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.
Solid Growth Projected for Physical Sciences Careers
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%|
Physical Sciences Degree Salary Potential
Recently graduated physical sciences students earned an average of $38,122 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $11,100 to as high as $117,200. As you might expect, salaries for physical sciences graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.
High Paying Careers for Physical Sciences Majors
Salaries for physical sciences graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 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|
Getting Your Physical Sciences Degree
With over 6,438 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.
Top Ranking Lists for Physical Sciences
Highest Paid Graduates
Most Popular Colleges
Best for Non-Traditional Students
Best for Veterans
Study Areas in Physical Sciences
Physical Sciences Majors to Study
|Geological & Earth Sciences||9,816|
|General Physical Sciences||4,387|
|Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology||1,188|
Majors Similar to Physical Sciences
|Related Major||Annual Graduates|
|Computer & Information Sciences||209,723|
|Biological & Biomedical Sciences||157,997|
|Mathematics & Statistics||47,138|
Featured Physical Sciences Schools
|Request Info||Southern New Hampshire University You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Purdue University Building on Purdue’s mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that’s tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from the prestigious Purdue University system—completely online. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Grand Canyon University (GCU) With a spotlight on intellectual creativity and innovation for the 21stcentury, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU provides a job focused education. It blends the study of traditional humanities in a modern context. Through academic inquiry and beyond the box thinking, the college advances our society and its accomplishments. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Northcentral University Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences. Learn More >|
|Request Info||Colorado Technical University (CTU) CTU could help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional community, faculty who are real-world professionals, and innovative technology. Learn More >|