Major Overview

Any major in the field of Physical Sciences provides graduates with a strong background in math and science. There are a variety of majors and concentrations that open up job opportunities in numerous industries. While you may be familiar with some areas of specialization, maybe you haven't found the one that's right for you.

Some schools provide students with the opportunity to earn degrees in areas that are less popular well known. Majors such as Applied Mathematics and Statistics, or Operations Research and Management Science (ORMS) allow students to hone in on the area of Physical Sciences they are most passionate about. Applied Mathematics teaches students how to use math and science concepts to solve a variety of problems within the science and engineering fields while statistics prepares you for a career analyzing data and working with probability. Operations Research and Management Science (ORMS) is a new field of study that teaches students to use analytical and math-modeling skills to solve problems in industries from manufacturing to business to healthcare.

Like other Physical Science majors, students will take classes in math, physics, computer science, geology, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology, and more to learn about the physical world.

Required Skills

Most careers in the Physical Sciences are geared towards solving problems through the analysis of collected data, placing a strong emphasis on critical thinking skills. Scientists often work together to complete projects making communication and teamwork skills valuable as well. Students who excel in this field have a background in math and science, specifically chemistry and physics.

Employers place an emphasis on previous experience, making internships, summer field camps, and work in research labs important. These experiences give students the ability to work closely with a professional and learn the necessary skills for a successful career in the Physical Sciences.

Depending on the type of job you pursue, you may need to achieve a master's degree or Ph.D. These advanced degrees often allow graduates to complete more thorough research or work in positions with higher responsibility and the possibility for advancement.


Physical Sciences graduates work in a variety of industries. Those with degrees in Applied Mathematics and Statistics often work for research and development companies, government offices, or companies looking for graduates with strong math and science skills. Graduates with a degree in Operations Research and Management Science often find positions in similar fields, but at a management level. This field is growing at a slower than average pace, making jobs competitive. Graduates will relevant previous experience and an advanced degree typically have better opportunities.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Physical Sciences, Other might open up.

Natural Sciences Managers
Physical Scientists, All Other
Postsecondary Teachers, All Other
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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