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2021 Best Colleges for Chemistry

Approximately 22,016 chemistry degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be difficult finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Chemistry ranking analyzed 109 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in chemistry. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 16 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 take this into account we consider a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a collection of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 7%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 128 to 57 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Chemistry graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average chemistry bachelors degree from U.S. schools results in an average starting salary of $35,333, graduates of colleges on this list average $40,931.

Starting Salary  ( 36918 to 42881 )
$0
$45,800

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 full 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 109 schools analyzed, only 16 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 16 Best Chemistry Colleges

University of California - San Diego is among your best bets if you want to study chemistry. Located in the city La Jolla, UCSD is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 94th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are about 340 chemistry undergrads enrolled in this program at UCSD. Students who graduate from the chemistry program earn an average of $37,500 in their early career salary.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison is a wonderful choice for students pursuing a Chemistry degree. Wisconsin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Madison. A Best Colleges rank of 76 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Wisconsin is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Wisconsin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). University of Wisconsin - Madison chemistry students make $5,952 more than the typical chemistry student.

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It's difficult to beat Northeastern University if you wish to study chemistry. Located in the city Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 81 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northeastern is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Northeastern also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Chemistry majors from Northeastern University receive an earnings boost of about $5,552 above the typical earnings of chemistry graduates.

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Any student who is interested in chemistry has to look into University of California - Berkeley. UC Berkeley is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Berkeley. A Best Colleges rank of 69 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great school overall.

There are approximately 233 chemistry undergrads studying this degree at UC Berkeley. Students who complete this program state that they receive average early career earnings of $39,800.

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Located in the city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 124th out of 1,715 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 Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the chemistry program make an average of $38,800 in the first couple years of their career.

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Located in the city Champaign, UIUC is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 92 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UIUC is a great school overall.

There are approximately 211 chemistry undergraduates enrolled in this program at UIUC. After graduating, chemistry students generally earn an average of $39,700 at the beginning of their careers.

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UCLA is a very large public school located in the large city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great college overall.

With 136 students enrolled, University of California - Los Angeles is one of most popular schools to study chemistry in United States. Soon after graduation, chemistry students typically make an average of $37,900 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the city College Station, Texas A&M is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 102nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, Texas A&M 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 Texas A&M University - College Station earn $2,352 above the average college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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Located in the suburb Davis, UC Davis is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 83 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UC Davis is a great school overall.

University of California - Davis is one of the most popular school to study chemistry in United States with more than 128 graduations last year. Graduates of the chemistry program make an average of $37,700 for their early career.

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UCSB is a very large public school located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara. This school ranks 133rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

A popular major for chemistry undergraduates, there are approximately 118 individuals enrolled in this degree at UCSB. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, chemistry students generally make around $38,400 in their early careers.

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Located in the city University Park, Penn State University Park is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 112th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State University - University Park is one of the most popular college to study chemistry in United States exceeding 73 graduates last year. Students from the chemistry program at Pennsylvania State University - University Park earn $3,052 above the standard college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#12

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Worcester. A Best Colleges rank of 31 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Holy Cross is a great school overall.

With 33 students enrolled, College of the Holy Cross is one of most popular colleges to study chemistry in United States. Chemistry students from College of the Holy Cross get a earnings boost of approximately $6,052 above the typical earnings of chemistry graduates.

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#13

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

University of Virginia is a very large public school located in the suburb of Charlottesville. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means University of Virginia is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, University of Virginia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students who complete this degree state that they receive average early career wages of $37,800.

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Ohio State is a very large public school located in the large city of Columbus. This school ranks 175th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There are roughly 116 chemistry undergraduates enrolled in this program at Ohio State. Students from the chemistry major at Ohio State University - Main Campus get $2,752 more than the typical college grad in this field shortly after graduation.

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UMass Amherst is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Amherst. This school ranks 118th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMass Amherst also offers 2 different higher degree levels in chemistry, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Chemistry graduates from University of Massachusetts Amherst earn a boost of around $3,352 over the typical earnings of chemistry graduates.

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Located in the suburb Storrs, UCONN is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 104th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCONN 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 report average early career wages of $40,000.

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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
17 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
18 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
19 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
20 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
21 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
22 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
23 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
24 University of Houston Houston, TX
25 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA

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 13,927
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,522
General Physical Sciences 4,527
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,168
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology 1,072

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. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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