2022 Best Physics Schools

334 Colleges in the United States
13,989 Physics Degrees Awarded
$42,475 Avg Early-Career Salary
Physics is above average in terms of popularity with it being the #67 most popular degree program in the country. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

For its 2022 ranking, College Factual looked at 334 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for physics students pursuing a degree. Combined, these schools handed out 13,989 degrees in physics to qualified students.

Jump to one of the following sections:

Choosing a Great Physics School

Best Physics Schools Your choice of physics school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. For our Best Overall Physics School rankings, we roll up the results of our degree-level rankings, weighted by the number of degrees awarded at that level.

You may want to choose one of the degree levels below to find the schools of most interest to you.

Physics Rankings by Degree Level

The physics school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Physics Schools. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for Physics in the United States

The schools below may not offer all types of physics degrees so you may want to filter by degree level first. However, they are great for the degree levels they do offer. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools in Physics

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
118 Physics Degrees Awarded

Any student who is interested in physics needs to look into Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Located in the midsize city of Cambridge, MIT is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #2 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means MIT is a great school overall.

There were roughly 118 physics students who graduated with this degree at MIT in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the physics program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology get $31,425 above the standard graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

#2

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
103 Physics Degrees Awarded

Any student who is interested in physics has to look into University of Chicago. Located in the large city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #7 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great university overall.

There were roughly 103 physics students who graduated with this degree at UChicago in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the physics program make an average of $38,300 in the first couple years of working.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Chicago

#3

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NH

Dartmouth College is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a degree in physics. Dartmouth is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit college located in the town of Hanover. A Best Schools rank of #6 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There were roughly 17 physics students who graduated with this degree at Dartmouth in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Dartmouth College

#4

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
7th Most Popular In CA
98 Physics Degrees Awarded

Any student pursuing a degree in physics has to look into Stanford University. Stanford is a large private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Stanford. A Best Schools rank of #3 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

There were roughly 98 physics students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from Stanford University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In NY
60 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 160 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were approximately 60 physics students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Columbia University in the City of New York

#6

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In IL

Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. A Best Schools rank of #14 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were about 26 physics students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from Northwestern University

#7

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In PA
75 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #20 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great university overall.

There were about 75 physics students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
10th Most Popular In CA
51 Physics Degrees Awarded

Caltech is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Pasadena. A Best Schools rank of #17 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Caltech is a great school overall.

There were about 51 physics students who graduated with this degree at Caltech in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from California Institute of Technology

#9

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In PA
91 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #13 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great university overall.

There were roughly 91 physics students who graduated with this degree at UPenn in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Pennsylvania

#10

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NJ
83 Physics Degrees Awarded

Princeton is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the city of Princeton. A Best Schools rank of #12 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Princeton is a great university overall.

There were about 83 physics students who graduated with this degree at Princeton in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Princeton University

#11

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
13th Most Popular In MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit college located in the midsize city of Worcester. This college ranks 5th out of 72 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 13 physics students who graduated with this degree at Holy Cross in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from College of the Holy Cross

#12

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MA
106 Physics Degrees Awarded

Harvard is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Cambridge. A Best Schools rank of #10 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great university overall.

There were approximately 106 physics students who graduated with this degree at Harvard in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Harvard University

#13

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In MA
47 Physics Degrees Awarded

Northeastern is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Boston. This university ranks 10th out of 72 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were about 47 physics students who graduated with this degree at Northeastern in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Northeastern University

#14

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
107 Physics Degrees Awarded

Cornell is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Ithaca. A Best Schools rank of #16 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were roughly 107 physics students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from Cornell University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
209 Physics Degrees Awarded

UC Berkeley is a fairly large public university located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley. This university ranks 8th out of 203 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 209 physics students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent year we have data available. Physics degree recipients from University of California - Berkeley get an earnings boost of about $3,325 over the typical earnings of physics graduates.

More information about a degree in physics from University of California - Berkeley

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MI
108 Physics Degrees Awarded

U-M is a fairly large public university located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor. This university ranks 1st out of 67 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There were about 108 physics students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

#17

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In NY
82 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the medium-sized city of Rochester, University of Rochester is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 10th out of 160 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were approximately 82 physics students who graduated with this degree at University of Rochester in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Rochester

#18

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MD
57 Physics Degrees Awarded

Johns Hopkins is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Schools rank of #19 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were approximately 57 physics students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from Johns Hopkins University

#19

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In VA
48 Physics Degrees Awarded

University of Virginia is a fairly large public university located in the small suburb of Charlottesville. This university ranks 1st out of 73 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were roughly 48 physics students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Virginia - Main Campus

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In TX
118 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 136 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were roughly 118 physics students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from The University of Texas at Austin

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
202 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 16th out of 203 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 202 physics students who graduated with this degree at UCSB in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the physics program state that they receive average early career wages of $37,100.

More information about a degree in physics from University of California - Santa Barbara

#22

St Olaf College

Northfield, MN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In MN

St. Olaf is a small private not-for-profit college located in the distant town of Northfield. This college ranks 2nd out of 63 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were about 23 physics students who graduated with this degree at St. Olaf in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from St Olaf College

#23

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
17th Most Popular In MA

Located in the large suburb of Wellesley, Wellesley is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 9th out of 72 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 15 physics students who graduated with this degree at Wellesley in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Wellesley College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
61 Physics Degrees Awarded

RPI is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Troy. This school ranks 8th out of 160 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 61 physics students who graduated with this degree at RPI in the most recent data year. Those physics students who get their degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute make $22,825 more than the typical physics graduate.

More information about a degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WI
95 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 52 schools for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

There were about 95 physics students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Wisconsin - Madison

Rest of the Top Best Physics Schools

#26

Boston University

Boston, MA
#30

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
#31

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

#32

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

#36

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#37

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH
#38

New York University

New York, NY
#39

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ
#40

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

#44

Brown University

Providence, RI
#47

Union College New York

Schenectady, NY
#49

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Physics Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 334 different United States physics schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

Rank College Location
51 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
52 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
53 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
54 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
55 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
56 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
57 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
58 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
59 William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
60 University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA
61 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
62 Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH
63 Salisbury University Salisbury, MD
64 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
65 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
66 SUNY Geneseo Geneseo, NY

Physics by Region

View the Best Physics Schools for a specific region near you.

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

View All Rankings >

Physics is one of 8 different types of Physical Sciences programs to choose from.

Physics Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
General Physics 13,160
Other Physics 475
Optics/Optical Sciences 187
Acoustics 121
Theoretical & Mathematical Physics 18
Condensed Matter & Materials Physics 10
Atomic/Molecular Physics 10
Nuclear Physics 6
Elementary Particle Physics 2

View All Physics Concentrations >

Majors Similar to Physics

Related Major Annual Graduates
Chemistry 21,669
Geological & Earth Sciences 8,753
General Physical Sciences 4,155
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,253
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology 1,124
Materials Sciences 668
Other Physical Science 534
Physics and Astronomy 55

View All Physics 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 A. T. Service.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Find Schools Near You