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2023 General Physical Sciences Degree Guide

A major in General Physical Sciences provides a solid background in the physical sciences, often with a focus in chemistry or physics. This is an interdisciplinary major that is great preparation for a career as a science teacher, or other science related jobs.

General Physical Sciences is different from other majors in that its focus is on a broad education, rather than a specific area. Some of the classes students will take include chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, thermodynamics, earth science and others. A bachelor's degree is usually not enough education for a career specific to the various science fields. However, it is excellent preparation for teaching, work as a lab technician or graduate studies.

General Physical Sciences Degrees Decreasing

#144 Most Popular Major
3.8k Degrees Awarded
-8.8% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, general physical sciences was the 144th most popular major nationwide with 3,823 degrees awarded. This 336 less than the prior year, a decrease of 8.8%.

This year's Best General Physical Sciences Schools ranking compares 25 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom physical science rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for General Physical Sciences
2023 Overall Best General Physical Sciences Colleges >

Best General Physical Sciences Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in General Physical Sciences
Bachelor's Degrees in General Physical Sciences
Master's Degrees in General Physical Sciences
Doctorate Degrees in General Physical Sciences

Requirements for Getting a Degree in General Physical Sciences

This major is focused on the study of the physical elements of our world. Students should not be afraid of advanced science or math classes. They should have a scientific, objective mind and enjoy observing elements, performing experiments and making discoveries.

Your classes will involve time spent in the lecture halls as well as plenty of lab work. You will usually work in pairs or groups performing experiments and writing lab reports documenting your findings. Students should be detail oriented and creative when performing research and writing papers. Good communication and teamwork skills will help you when preparing group presentations, as well as in a future career.

Physical Science Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most physical science degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific physical science careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of General Physical Sciences Degrees

Physical Science degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in general physical sciences to the highest physical science degree, a . Depending on the general physical sciences degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-70 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateProgram required coursework including thesis or dissertationAt least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to physical science, with approximately 47.4% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for physical science workers below.

Level of EducationPercentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree48.6%
Master’s Degree21.4%
Doctoral Degree13.1%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate12.0%
Post-Doctoral Training2.7%

100.0% of physical science workers have at least a associate. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in general physical sciences careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the physical science career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Physical Science Graduate

Above Average Number of Jobs
$26.6k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Most students who pursue a major in General Physical Sciences are interested in teaching at the secondary level. They can become physics, chemistry or general science teachers. Some choose to continue their education with a graduate degree in the same field or in a specialized area. For those not interested in teaching, graduates can obtain jobs as lab technicians, conservationists, forestry technicians, wildlife management and other science-related work. Salary will depend on your career choice and education level.

Growth Projected for Physical Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your physical science degree? General Physical Sciences careers are expected to grow 7.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to general physical sciences.

Occupation NameProjected JobsExpected Growth
High School Teachers1,095,5007.5%
Natural Sciences Managers62,3009.9%

Physical Science Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated general physical sciences students earned an average of $26,561 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $7,081 to as high as $74,681. As you might expect, salaries for physical science graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Physical Science Majors

Salaries for general physical sciences graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers physical science grads often go into.

Occupation NameMedian Average Salary
Natural Sciences Managers$139,680
High School Teachers$64,340

Getting Your General Physical Sciences Degree

With over 234 different physical science degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased physical science school rankings to help you with this.

General Physical Sciences is one of 8 different types of Physical Sciences programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Physical Science

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Geological & Earth Sciences7,821
Astronomy & Astrophysics1,375
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology1,140

View All Physical Science Related Majors >


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