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2020 Best Colleges for Chemistry

Approximately 22,389 chemistry degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Chemistry ranking analyzed 435 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in chemistry. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 schools for Chemistry students.

Choosing a Great Chemistry School

Best Colleges for Chemistry Your choice of chemistry school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 5% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 9%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 92 to 5 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Chemistry graduates from schools on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. Recent chemistry graduates from U.S. schools with a bachelors degree earned an average of $35,333 in 2017-2018.

Starting Salary  ( 32088 to 43711 )
$0
$41,100

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Chemistry students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other chemistry students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized chemistry related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Chemistry students.

Best Schools to Study Chemistry in United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities in the U.S. for a Chemistry degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 435 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Chemistry Colleges

Doctorate Highest Degree Type
14th Most Popular In CA
10.5% Growth in Graduates

California Institute of Technology is a good decision for individuals interested in a Chemistry degree. Caltech is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Pasadena. A Best Colleges rank of 31 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Caltech is a great school overall.

A favorite major for chemistry undergrads, there are about 57 learners enrolled in this program at Caltech.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In MA
4.8% Growth in Graduates

It's hard to beat Massachusetts Institute of Technology if you wish to pursue chemistry as a major. Located in the city Cambridge, MIT is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means MIT is a great school overall.

A favorite major for chemistry undergrads, there are about 63 learners enrolled in this program at MIT.

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#3

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MA
11.3% Growth in Graduates

It's difficult to beat Harvard University if you wish to pursue chemistry as a major. Harvard is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great school overall.

There are roughly 106 chemistry undergrads studying this program at Harvard.

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#4

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NJ

Princeton University is among your top options if you want to study chemistry. Princeton is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Princeton. A Best Colleges rank of 20 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Princeton is a great college overall.

There are about 72 chemistry undergrads enrolled in this program at Princeton.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CA
8.8% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city La Jolla, UCSD is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 72nd out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCSD also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. University of California - San Diego chemistry majors receive $2,009 more than the standard chemistry student.

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#6

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CT
18.3% Growth in Graduates

Located in the medium-sized city New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Yale is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Yale also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#7

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In IL
5.6% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 8 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UChicago also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#8

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
25.2% Growth in Graduates

Located in the small city Ithaca, Cornell is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Cornell also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the chemistry program state that they receive average early career wages of $31,000.

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#9

Duke University

Durham, NC
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In NC

Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 1 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Duke also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#10

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In FL
7.2% Growth in Graduates

Located in the midsize city Gainesville, U of F is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 73rd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There are roughly 207 chemistry undergraduates studying this program at U of F. Students who graduate from this program state that they receive average early career earnings of $21,200.

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#11

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In CA
25.0% Growth in Graduates

Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Stanford. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Stanford is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Stanford also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In CA
7.3% Growth in Graduates

UC Berkeley is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley. This school ranks 65th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Graduates from the chemistry degree program at University of California - Berkeley get $4,309 above the standard college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IL
$39,700 Median Starting Salary

Located in the small city Champaign, UIUC is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 85th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There are roughly 212 chemistry undergrads enrolled in this program at UIUC. Chemistry majors from University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign get a earnings boost of around $4,209 above the average income of chemistry majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NJ
$41,100 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city New Brunswick, Rutgers New Brunswick is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 151st out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

For those interested in something more advanced, Rutgers New Brunswick also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Chemistry students from Rutgers University - New Brunswick earn a boost of approximately $5,609 over the typical earnings of chemistry graduates.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In OH
8.5% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city Cleveland, Case Western is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 51st out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in something more advanced, Case Western also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#16

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MD
22.5% Growth in Graduates

Johns Hopkins is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of 16 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great college overall.

There are approximately 80 chemistry undergraduates enrolled in this program at Johns Hopkins.

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#17

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IN
2.8% Growth in Graduates

Purdue is a very large public school located in the city of West Lafayette. This school ranks 100th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

For those interested in something more advanced, Purdue also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#18

Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, CA
65th Most Popular In CA

Harvey Mudd College is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Claremont. A Best Colleges rank of 6 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Harvey Mudd College is a great school overall.

Harvey Mudd College is a fairly popular school to study chemistry in United States with more than 9 graduations last year.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MN
$38,800 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 132nd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMN Twin Cities also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Graduates from the chemistry major at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities get $3,309 more than the typical college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In TX
$38,100 Median Starting Salary

UT Austin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Austin. This school ranks 78th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, UT Austin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students from the chemistry program at The University of Texas at Austin earn $2,609 more than the standard college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#21

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In PA
2.5% Growth in Graduates

UPenn is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UPenn also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In CA
20.0% Growth in Graduates

UCLA is a very large public school located in the city of Los Angeles. This school ranks 49th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

University of California - Los Angeles is a fairly popular college to study chemistry in United States with more than 140 graduates last year. Chemistry majors from University of California - Los Angeles receive an earnings boost of about $2,409 over the average income of chemistry majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In CO
21.2% Growth in Graduates

Located in the suburb Golden, Mines is a public college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 86th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Colorado.

Colorado School of Mines is one of the most popular school to study chemistry in United States with over 33 graduations last year.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NC
3.1% Growth in Graduates

UNC Chapel Hill is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Chapel Hill. This college ranks 50th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

For those interested in something more advanced, UNC Chapel Hill also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Grads of the chemistry program state that they receive average early career income of $33,600.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In CA
19.6% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city Irvine, UC Irvine is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 81st out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

A popular major for chemistry undergraduates, there are about 194 students enrolled in this degree at UC Irvine. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, chemistry students generally make an average of $31,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Chemistry

Additional Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for Chemistry badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 435 different United States chemistry schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Boston University Boston, MA
52 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
53 Carleton College Northfield, MN
54 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
55 Tufts University Medford, MA
56 Wesleyan University Middletown, CT
57 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
58 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
59 Pomona College Claremont, CA
60 Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA
61 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
62 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
63 Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
64 University of California - Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA
65 Davidson College Davidson, NC

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Chemistry award.

Rank College Location
66 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
67 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
68 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
69 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
70 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
71 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
72 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
73 George Washington University Washington, DC
74 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
75 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
76 Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI
77 Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, MO
78 Colby College Waterville, ME
79 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
80 Clemson University Clemson, SC
81 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
82 Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA
83 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
84 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
85 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
86 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
87 Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME

Chemistry by Region

View the Best Colleges for Chemistry for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Chemistry is one of 7 different types of Physical Sciences programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Physics 13,815
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,816
General Physical Sciences 4,387
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology 1,188
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,062

View All Chemistry Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Sarah Chambers.

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