Physical Sciences

2022 Best Physical Sciences Schools

391 Colleges in the United States
52,200 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded
$38,122 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 #18 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.

In 2022, College Factual analyzed 391 schools in order to identify the top ones for its Best Physical Sciences Schools ranking. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 52,200 degrees in physical sciences during the 2019-2020 academic year.

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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

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

It is difficult to beat Massachusetts Institute of Technology if you want to pursue a degree in physical sciences. 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 colleges nationwide means MIT is a great school overall.

There were about 224 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at MIT in the most recent data year. Physical Sciences degree recipients from Massachusetts Institute of Technology get an earnings boost of around $32,178 above the average income of physical sciences majors.

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

#2

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In NH
64 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Dartmouth College is a good option for students pursuing a degree in physical sciences. Dartmouth is a medium-sized private not-for-profit college located in the remote town of Hanover. A Best Schools rank of #6 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There were approximately 64 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Dartmouth in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Dartmouth College

#3

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
280 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

University of Chicago is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a degree in physical sciences. Located in the large city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Schools rank of #7 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UChicago is a great university overall.

There were approximately 280 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UChicago in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the physical sciences program state that they receive average early career income of $38,300.

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

#4

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
124 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Any student pursuing a degree in physical sciences has to take a look at Northwestern University. Northwestern is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the small city of Evanston. A Best Schools rank of #14 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were approximately 124 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from Northwestern University receive $51,278 more than the standard physical sciences graduate.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Northwestern University

#5

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
223 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were roughly 223 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from Carnegie Mellon University make $22,278 more than the standard physical sciences graduate.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Carnegie Mellon University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
224 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 224 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#7

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In CA
241 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large suburb of Stanford. A Best Schools rank of #3 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

There were approximately 241 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Stanford University

#8

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
53 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 53 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Holy Cross in the most recent data year. Physical Sciences degree recipients from College of the Holy Cross receive an earnings boost of about $7,678 above the typical income of physical sciences majors.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
10th Most Popular In CA
114 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were approximately 114 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Caltech in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#10

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In PA
192 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the large 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 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great university overall.

There were approximately 192 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UPenn in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#11

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NJ
224 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 224 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Princeton in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Princeton University

#12

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MA
226 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were roughly 225.99999999999997 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Harvard in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Harvard University

#13

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
107 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were approximately 107 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Northeastern in the most recent year we have data available. Physical Sciences degree recipients from Northeastern University get an earnings boost of around $7,178 above the typical earnings of physical sciences majors.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Northeastern University

#14

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
281 Physical Sciences 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 colleges nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were about 281 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the physical sciences program make an average of $31,000 for their early career.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Cornell University

#15

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MD
204 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Johns Hopkins is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the large 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 204 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent year we have data available.

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

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

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

There were approximately 597 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent data year. Those physical sciences students who get their degree from University of California - Berkeley earn $11,478 more than the average physical sciences grad.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WI
373 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were roughly 373 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent year we have data available.

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

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In TX
402 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the 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 402 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year.

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

#19

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In NY
171 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 171 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at University of Rochester in the most recent data year.

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

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

Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 11th out of 203 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were about 344 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the physical sciences major at University of California - Los Angeles make $4,445 more than the standard graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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

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

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

There were roughly 348 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physical sciences major at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor earn $7,878 above the typical college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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

#22

St Olaf College

Northfield, MN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
57 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

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

There were roughly 57 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at St. Olaf in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the physical sciences program state that they receive average early career income of $37,400.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from St Olaf College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In MO
103 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Missouri University of Science and Technology is a medium-sized public university located in the remote town of Rolla. This university ranks 3rd out of 55 schools for overall quality in the state of Missouri.

There were about 103 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Missouri University of Science and Technology in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Missouri University of Science and Technology

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

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

There were about 429 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at UCSB in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the physical sciences program report average early career income of $37,750.

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

#25

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In MA
43 Physical Sciences Degrees Awarded

Located in the 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 about 43 physical sciences students who graduated with this degree at Wellesley in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physical sciences from Wellesley College

Rest of the Top Best Physical Sciences Schools

#25

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA
#27

Boston University

Boston, MA
#28

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

#32

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

#37

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
#38

University of Delaware

Newark, DE
#39

William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA

#42

Saint Anselm College

Manchester, NH
#44

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH
#46

New York University

New York, NY
#47

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA
#48

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA
#49

John Carroll University

University Heights, OH

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Physical Sciences Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 391 different United States physical sciences schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
51 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
52 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
53 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott Prescott, AZ
54 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
55 Brown University Providence, RI
56 Emory University Atlanta, GA
57 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
58 Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO

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
59 Salisbury University Salisbury, MD
60 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
61 University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA
62 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
63 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
64 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
65 Smith College Northampton, MA
66 Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta, GA
67 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
68 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
69 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
70 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
71 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
72 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
73 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
74 University of Georgia Athens, GA
75 Wofford College Spartanburg, SC
76 Concordia College at Moorhead Moorhead, MN
77 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
78 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA

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 21,669
Physics 13,989
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 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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