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2021 Best Colleges for Physical Sciences

Approximately 53,213 physical sciences degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be difficult finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Physical Sciences ranking analyzed 143 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in physical sciences. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools for Physical Sciences students.

Choosing a Great Physical Sciences School

Best Colleges for Physical Sciences The physical sciences program you select can have a big impact on your future. Important measures of a quality physical sciences program can vary widely even among the top schools. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 21% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 11%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 170 to 23 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

A physical sciences degree from schools on this list usually results in higher than average income after graduation. A physical sciences bachelors degree from a college in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $35,669 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Physical Sciences students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other physical sciences students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized physical sciences related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Physical Sciences students.

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 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.

Best Schools to Study Physical Sciences in the United States

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for physical sciences majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 21 Best Physical Sciences Colleges

It's difficult to beat Massachusetts Institute of Technology if you want to pursue physical sciences as a major. MIT is a large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means MIT is a great school overall.

There were about 238 physical sciences individuals who graduated from this degree at MIT in the most recent year we have data available.

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Pennsylvania State University - University Park is a great decision for students interested in a Physical Sciences major. Located in the small city of University Park, Penn State University Park is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 112th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There were approximately 528 physical sciences individuals who graduated from this program at Penn State University Park in the most recent data year.

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University of California - Berkeley is among your top options if you're planning on studying physical sciences. Located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 69 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great university overall.

There were about 617 physical sciences students who graduated from this program at UC Berkeley in the most recent data year.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison is among your best bets if you want to study physical sciences. UW - Madison is a fairly large public university located in the city of Madison. A Best Colleges rank of 76 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UW - Madison is a great university overall.

There were approximately 307 physical sciences students who graduated from this program at UW - Madison in the most recent data year.

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Texas A&M College Station is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of College Station. This university ranks 102nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

With 424 students who graduated from this program in the most recent data year, Texas A&M University - College Station is one of the most popular universities to study physical sciences in the United States.

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Located in the city of Troy, RPI is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 58 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means RPI is a great school overall.

With 95 individuals who completed this degree in the most recent data year, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is one of the most popular schools to study physical sciences in the United States.

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Located in the large city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 97th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There were roughly 593 physical sciences students who graduated from this program at UW Seattle in the most recent year we have data available.

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Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

University of California - Los Angeles is one of the most popular universities to study physical sciences in the United States with approximately 340 graduations in the most recent year we have data available.

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CU - Boulder is a very large public university located in the city of Boulder. This university ranks 227th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Colorado.

There were roughly 351 physical sciences individuals who graduated from this program at CU - Boulder in the most recent year we have data available.

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Located in the city of New Brunswick, Rutgers New Brunswick is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 183rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

With 216 individuals who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, Rutgers University - New Brunswick is one of the most popular universities to study physical sciences in the United States.

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#11

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

Located in the small city of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 88 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Virginia Tech is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Virginia Tech also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree.

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IU Bloomington is a very large public university located in the city of Bloomington. This university ranks 141st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

With 180 students who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, Indiana University - Bloomington is one of the most popular universities to study physical sciences in the United States.

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#13

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

University of Arizona is a very large public university located in the city of Tucson. This university ranks 353rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Arizona.

For those interested in something more advanced, University of Arizona also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great university overall.

There were approximately 443 physical sciences individuals who graduated from this program at UT Austin in the most recent year we have data available.

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Located in the city of Columbus, Ohio State is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 175th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in something more advanced, Ohio State also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree.

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UMN Twin Cities is a fairly large public university located in the large city of Minneapolis. This university ranks 124th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were roughly 381 physical sciences individuals who graduated from this degree at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent data year.

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Located in the city of La Jolla, UCSD is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 94 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UCSD is a great university overall.

University of California - San Diego is a fairly popular university to study physical sciences in the United States with about 548 graduates in the most recent data year.

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#18

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Located in the large city of Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 81 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Northeastern is a great university overall.

Northeastern University is one of the most popular universities to study physical sciences in the United States with about 104 graduates in the most recent data year.

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#19

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

Located in the suburb of Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means University of Virginia is a great university overall.

A preferred choice for physical sciences undergraduates, there were about 179 learners who graduated from this program at University of Virginia in the most recent data year.

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#20

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Located in the small city of East Lansing, Michigan State is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 107th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

Michigan State University is a fairly popular university to study physical sciences in the United States with approximately 265 graduations in the most recent year we have data available.

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UCONN is a very large public university located in the suburb of Storrs. This university ranks 104th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

University of Connecticut is a fairly popular university to study physical sciences in the United States with about 166 graduates in the most recent year we have data available.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Physical Sciences

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Physical Sciences students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Physical Sciences award.

Rank College Location
26 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
27 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
28 University of California - Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA
22 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
23 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
24 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
25 College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA

Physical Sciences by Region

View the Best Colleges for Physical Sciences for 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

  • 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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