Physical Sciences

2023 Best Physical Sciences Schools

256 Colleges in the United States
50,306 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded
$39,880 Avg Early-Career Salary
Physical Sciences isn't the most popular major in the world, but it's not the least popular either. To be more precise it ranks #19 in popularity out of 38 majors in the country. As such, the degree program isn't offered at every college in the United States, but there are schools that do have a program in the field that are top-notch when it comes to quality.

College Factual reviewed 256 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for degree seekers in the field of physical sciences. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 50,306 degrees in physical sciences during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Jump to one of the following sections: * Degree-Level Rankings

Choosing a Great Physical Sciences School

Best Physical Sciences Schools Your choice of physical sciences school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. In order to come up with a best overall ranking for physical sciences schools, we combine our degree-level rankings, weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each level.

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

Physical Sciences Rankings by Degree Level

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Physical Sciences Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you. You can also filter this list by location to find schools closer to you.

In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

More information on how we come up with our rankings can be found here: College Factual's Data Methodology.

Best Schools for Physical Sciences in the United States

If you aren't interested in a particular degree level and want to know which schools are the overall best at delivering an education for the physical sciences degrees they offer, see the list below. 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 Physical Sciences

#1

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
243 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Stanford University is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a degree in physical sciences. Stanford is a large private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Stanford. A Best Colleges rank of #2 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

There were approximately 243 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent year we have data available. Physical Sciences degree recipients from Stanford University receive an earnings boost of around $17,538 over the typical income of physical sciences majors.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Stanford University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
317 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

University of Chicago is one of the best schools in the country for getting a degree in physical sciences. Located in the city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #7 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UChicago is a great university overall.

There were about 317.00000000000006 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UChicago in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the physical sciences degree program at University of Chicago get $4,611 more than the typical college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Chicago

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
146 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Every student who is interested in physical sciences needs to take a look at Northwestern University. Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the small city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of #5 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were about 146 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent year we have data available. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from Northwestern University receive $32,200 more than the average physical sciences graduate.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Northwestern University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
244 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Johns Hopkins University is one of the finest schools in the country for getting a degree in physical sciences. Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of #9 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were roughly 244 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent year we have data available. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from Johns Hopkins University receive $12,918 more than the average physical sciences grad.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Johns Hopkins University

#5

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
258 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of #13 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were roughly 258 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent year we have data available. After graduation, physical sciences degree recipients typically make about $38,146 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Cornell University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
560 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

UC Berkeley is a very large public university located in the city of Berkeley. A Best Colleges rank of #17 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great university overall.

There were approximately 560 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the physical sciences program at University of California - Berkeley make $28,694 above the standard college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
347 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

U-M is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of #25 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

There were roughly 347 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. Soon after graduating, physical sciences degree recipients typically make about $31,888 at the beginning of their careers.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
401 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #33 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UW - Madison is a great university overall.

There were approximately 401 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from University of Wisconsin - Madison make $5,379 more than the typical physical sciences graduate.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
400 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 10th out of 170 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There were about 400 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UCSB in the most recent year we have data available. Physical Sciences degree recipients from University of California - Santa Barbara earn a boost of approximately $17,919 over the typical income of physical sciences graduates.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
375 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 87 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There were roughly 375 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physical sciences major at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign make $19,732 more than the standard college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

#11

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
99 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the large suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #16 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were approximately 99 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from University of Notre Dame earn $22,951 more than the standard physical sciences student.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Notre Dame

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
598 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

UCSD is a fairly large public university located in the large city of La Jolla. This university ranks 9th out of 170 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 598 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UCSD in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from University of California - San Diego earn $9,416 more than the average physical sciences graduate.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of California - San Diego

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
343 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 55 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were approximately 343 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent data year. Physical Sciences degree recipients from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities earn a boost of approximately $5,015 over the average income of physical sciences majors.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

#14

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
189 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the midsize city of Rochester, University of Rochester is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 7th out of 143 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 189 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at University of Rochester in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from University of Rochester make $49,897 more than the standard physical sciences student.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Rochester

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
267 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

UMCP is a very large public university located in the suburb of College Park. This university ranks 2nd out of 34 schools for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were approximately 267 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UMCP in the most recent year we have data available. Physical Sciences degree recipients from University of Maryland - College Park receive an earnings boost of around $9,475 over the average income of physical sciences graduates.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Maryland - College Park

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
371 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #29 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were roughly 371 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent data year. After graduating, physical sciences degree recipients typically make around $40,129 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of California - Los Angeles

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
241 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

University of Virginia is a very large public university located in the suburb of Charlottesville. A Best Colleges rank of #32 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great university overall.

There were about 241 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the physical sciences program earn about $28,682 in their early career salary.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
53 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Chicago, Illinois Tech is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 8th out of 87 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There were roughly 53 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Illinois Tech in the most recent year we have data available. Physical Sciences degree recipients from Illinois Institute of Technology earn a boost of about $38,453 over the typical income of physical sciences graduates.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Illinois Institute of Technology

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
376 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the midsize city of College Station, Texas A&M College Station is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were approximately 376 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Texas A&M College Station in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physical sciences program at Texas A&M University - College Station get $10,854 more than the average graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Texas A&M University - College Station

#20

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
63 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the fringe town of Williamstown, Williams is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of #27 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Williams is a great college overall.

There were approximately 63 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Williams in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the physical sciences program earn around $35,668 in the first couple years of working.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Williams College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
351 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 116 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were roughly 351 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physical sciences program at The University of Texas at Austin make $9,380 more than the typical graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
612 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 51 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There were roughly 612 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UW Seattle in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the physical sciences program report average early career earnings of $40,318.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of Washington - Seattle Campus

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
314 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

UNC Chapel Hill is a fairly large public university located in the city of Chapel Hill. This university ranks 2nd out of 93 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There were approximately 314 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UNC Chapel Hill in the most recent data year. After graduating, physical sciences degree recipients generally earn about $41,551 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

#24

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
138 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 69 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were about 138 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the physical sciences program earn an average of $20,784 for their early career.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Emory University

#25

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
49 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Wake Forest University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Winston-Salem. This university ranks 3rd out of 93 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There were approximately 49 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Wake Forest University in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the physical sciences program report average early career earnings of $37,985.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Wake Forest University

Rest of the Top Best Physical Sciences Schools

#25

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

#36

Boston University

Boston, MA

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 Physical Sciences Schools award.

Rank College Location
39 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
40 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
41 New York University New York, NY
42 College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA
43 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
44 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
45 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
46 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
47 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
48 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
49 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
50 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
51 Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta, GA

Physical Sciences by Region

View the Best Physical Sciences 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 >

Physical Sciences Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Chemistry 21,239
Physics 13,674
Geological & Earth Sciences 7,821
General Physical Sciences 3,823
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,375
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology 1,140
Materials Sciences 658
Other Physical Science 538
Physics and Astronomy 38

View All Physical Sciences 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 NASA.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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