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2021 Best Physical Sciences Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

130 Colleges
32,633 Bachelor's Degrees
$36,003 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Physical Sciences Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Best Physical Sciences Colleges for Non-Traditional StudentsPhysical Sciences is the #17th most popular major in the country with 32,633 bachelor's degrees awarded in 2018-2019.

For this year's Best Physical Sciences Colleges for Non-Traditional Students ranking, we looked at 130 colleges that offer a bachelor's in physical sciences. This ranking identifies schools with high-quality physical sciences programs as well as strong support for students classified as non-traditional.

When determining these rankings, we looked at things such as overall quality of the physical sciences program at the school, affordability, and presence of non-traditional students. For more information, check out our ranking methodology.

More Ways to Rank Physical Sciences Schools

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Physical Sciences Schools for Non-Traditional Students list to help you make the college decision.

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

2021 Best Physical Sciences Schools for Non-Traditional Students in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for non-traditional students studying physical sciences.

Top 15% Best Physical Sciences Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Pennsylvania State University - University Park tops the 2021 list of our schools in the United States that are best for non-traditional physical sciences students. Penn State University Park is a very large public school located in the city of University Park. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Penn State University Park, the school also landed the #2 rank in our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.9%. There are approximately 13,255 students at Penn State University Park that take at least one class online. About 1,670 of the students at Penn State University Park are attending part time. Penn State University Park does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Physical Sciences at Pennsylvania State University - University Park Report

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Texas A&M University - College Station comes in at #2 in this year's ranking. Texas A&M College Station is a very large public school located in the city of College Station. Texas A&M College Station not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #5 on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.1%. There are approximately 4,608 students at Texas A&M College Station that take at least one class online. About 9,459 of the students at Texas A&M College Station are attending part time. Texas A&M College Station does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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University of California - Berkeley earned the #3 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public school with a fairly large student population. UC Berkeley also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences rankings.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.0%. There are approximately 930 students at UC Berkeley that take at least one class online. There are roughly 3,108 part time students in attendance at UC Berkeley.

Full Physical Sciences at University of California - Berkeley Report

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The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Wisconsin - Madison. Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public college with a very large student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at UW - Madison, the school also landed the #4 rank in our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences ranking.

The student loan default rate at UW - Madison is lower than is typical, just 1.3% of students default in three years. Approximately 6,424 students take at least one class online at UW - Madison. 4,418 of UW - Madison students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Physical Sciences at University of Wisconsin - Madison Report

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Rutgers University - New Brunswick landed the #5 spot in our 2021 best physical sciences schools for non-traditional students. Rutgers New Brunswick is a very large public school located in the small city of New Brunswick. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, Rutgers New Brunswick is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

About 3.8% of Rutgers New Brunswick students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 10,368 students take at least one class online at Rutgers New Brunswick. 7,501 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#6

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

Our rankings recognize University of Arizona as the #6 school in this year's rankings. University of Arizona is a very large public school located in the large city of Tucson. University of Arizona excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 6.0%. Approximately 12,701 students take at least one class online at University of Arizona. 7,884 students are part time. University of Arizona does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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University of Washington - Seattle Campus comes in at #7 in this year's ranking. UW Seattle is a very large public school located in the city of Seattle. UW Seattle also made our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list, coming in at #7.

The student loan default rate at UW Seattle is lower than is typical, just 2.8% of students default in three years. There are approximately 3,490 students at UW Seattle that take at least one class online. 5,528 of UW Seattle students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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University of Colorado Boulder earned the #8 spot in our 2021 rankings. CU - Boulder is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Boulder. CU - Boulder did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #9 on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 3.2%. Approximately 2,234 students take at least one class online at CU - Boulder. 5,951 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Indiana University - Bloomington landed the #9 spot in our 2021 best physical sciences schools for non-traditional students. IU Bloomington is a fairly large public school located in the city of Bloomington. IU Bloomington also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 3.6%. Approximately 5,026 students take at least one class online at IU Bloomington. 5,192 students are part time. IU Bloomington does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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University of Minnesota - Twin Cities comes in at #10 in this year's ranking. UMN Twin Cities is a fairly large public school located in the city of Minneapolis. UMN Twin Cities excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

The student loan default rate at UMN Twin Cities is lower than is typical, just 2.2% of students default in three years. There are approximately 13,571 students at UMN Twin Cities that take at least one class online. There are roughly 10,971 part time students in attendance at UMN Twin Cities. UMN Twin Cities does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Physical Sciences at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Report

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University of California - Los Angeles comes in at #11 in this year's ranking. Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public college with a fairly large student population. UCLA also took the #8 spot in our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences rankings.

About 1.3% of UCLA students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 2,288 students at UCLA that take at least one class online. 1,642 of UCLA students are attending part time.

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#12

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

Our rankings recognize Virginia Tech as the #12 school in this year's rankings. Virginia Tech is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Blacksburg. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, Virginia Tech is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 1.6%. Approximately 8,844 students take at least one class online at Virginia Tech. 2,711 of Virginia Tech students are attending part time.

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#13

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

Our rankings recognize University of Virginia - Main Campus as the #13 school in this year's rankings. University of Virginia is a very large public school located in the small suburb of Charlottesville. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, University of Virginia also did well on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

About 1.5% of University of Virginia students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 1,445 students take at least one class online at University of Virginia. About 2,130 of the students at University of Virginia are attending part time.

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Ohio State University - Main Campus comes in at #14 in this year's ranking. Located in the large city of Columbus, Ohio State is a public school with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Ohio State also is in the top 10% of our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences ranking.

The student loan default rate at Ohio State is lower than is typical, just 4.5% of students default in three years. Approximately 18,037 students take at least one class online at Ohio State. About 8,041 of the students at Ohio State are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#15

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State University earned the #15 spot in our 2021 rankings. Michigan State is a fairly large public school located in the small city of East Lansing. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, Michigan State is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

About 3.4% of Michigan State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 9,273 students take at least one class online at Michigan State. About 6,488 of the students at Michigan State are attending part time.

Full Physical Sciences at Michigan State University Report

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The University of Texas at Austin earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public school with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, UT Austin also is in the top 10% of our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences ranking.

About 2.6% of UT Austin students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 12,546 students at UT Austin that take at least one class online. About 3,290 of the students at UT Austin are attending part time. UT Austin does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the #17 school in this year's rankings. Located in the city of Champaign, UIUC is a public college with a very large student population. UIUC also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list. It's in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 1.9%. Approximately 12,503 students take at least one class online at UIUC. 6,389 of UIUC students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Physical Sciences at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Report

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#18

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Northeastern University comes in at #18 in this year's ranking. Northeastern is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Boston. Northeastern excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences list.

About 2.0% of Northeastern students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 1,838 students at Northeastern that take at least one class online. 842 students are part time.

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#19

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

San Diego State University earned the #19 spot in our 2021 rankings. SDSU is a very large public school located in the city of San Diego.

About 2.9% of SDSU students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 15,788 students take at least one class online at SDSU. 4,852 of SDSU students are attending part time. SDSU does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Physical Sciences at San Diego State University Report

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Rest of the Top Schools for Best Physical Sciences Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for non-traditional students studying Physical Sciences that almost earned our Best Physical Sciences Colleges for Non-Traditional Students award.

Rank College Location
20 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
21 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
22 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
23 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
24 University of Houston Houston, TX
25 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
26 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY

Physical Sciences by Region

View the best for non-traditional students Physical Sciences colleges in a specific region near you.

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

Physical Sciences Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Chemistry 22,017
Physics 13,871
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,418
General Physical Sciences 4,527
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,166

View All Physical Sciences Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Engineering 196,678
Computer & Information Sciences 173,112
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 160,242
Engineering Technologies 52,780
Mathematics & Statistics 49,071

View All Physical Sciences Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • 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).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NASA.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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