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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. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

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

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

A physical sciences degree from schools on this list usually translates into higher than average salaries following graduation. A physical sciences bachelors degree from a school in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 make $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 complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Physical Sciences students.

Best Schools to Study Physical Sciences in the United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities for a Physical Sciences degree. 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 wish 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 colleges nationwide means MIT is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, MIT also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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Pennsylvania State University - University Park is a good option for students pursuing a Physical Sciences degree. Penn State University Park is a fairly large public school located in the city of University Park. This school ranks 112th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

For those interested in something more advanced, Penn State University Park also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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University of California - Berkeley is one of the best schools in the country for physical sciences. Located in the medium-sized city Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 69 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great school overall.

There are roughly 617 physical sciences undergraduates studying this program at UC Berkeley.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison is among your top options if you're planning on studying physical sciences. Located in the large city Madison, Wisconsin is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 76 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Wisconsin is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Wisconsin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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Texas A&M is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of College Station. This college ranks 102nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, Texas A&M 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 city Troy, RPI is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 58 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means RPI is a great school overall.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is one of the most popular college to study physical sciences in United States with over 95 graduates last year.

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UW Seattle is a very large public school located in the city of Seattle. This school ranks 97th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

For those interested in something more advanced, UW Seattle 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 Los Angeles, UCLA is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UCLA is a great college overall.

With 340 undergrads, University of California - Los Angeles is one of most popular colleges to study physical sciences in United States.

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

For those interested in something more advanced, CU - Boulder also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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Rutgers New Brunswick is a fairly large public school located in the city of New Brunswick. This college ranks 183rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

Rutgers University - New Brunswick is a fairly popular school to study physical sciences in United States with over 216 graduations last year.

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#11

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

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

There are approximately 218 physical sciences undergraduates studying this program at Virginia Tech.

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

For those interested in something more advanced, IU Bloomington also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#13

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

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

For those interested in something more advanced, 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 Austin, UT Austin is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UT Austin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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

There are roughly 317 physical sciences undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Ohio State.

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UMN Twin Cities is a very large public school located in the large city of Minneapolis. This college ranks 124th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There are roughly 381 physical sciences undergraduates enrolled in this program at UMN Twin Cities.

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UCSD is a very large public school located in the city of La Jolla. A Best Colleges rank of 94 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCSD is a great college overall.

University of California - San Diego is a fairly popular college to study physical sciences in United States with over 548 graduates last year.

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#18

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Northeastern is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston. A Best Colleges rank of 81 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northeastern is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Northeastern also offers 2 different higher degree levels in physical sciences, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#19

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

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

With 179 students enrolled, University of Virginia - Main Campus is one of most popular colleges to study physical sciences in United States.

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#20

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

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

With 265 students enrolled, Michigan State University is one of most popular colleges to study physical sciences in United States.

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

With 166 undergraduates, University of Connecticut is one of most popular schools to study physical sciences in United States.

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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 22,156
Physics 13,927
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,522
General Physical Sciences 4,527
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,168

View All Physical Sciences Related Majors >

Majors Similar to Physical Sciences

Related Major Annual Graduates
Computer & Information Sciences 220,337
Engineering 200,684
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 162,961
Engineering Technologies 92,549
Mathematics & Statistics 49,748

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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