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2024 Best Physics Schools

220 Colleges in the United States
13,447 Physics Degrees Awarded
$42,912 Avg Early-Career Salary
A degree in physics is more popular than many other degrees. In fact, it ranks #68 out of 395 on popularity of all such degrees in the nation. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

In 2024, College Factual analyzed 220 schools in order to identify the top ones for its Best Physics Schools ranking. Combined, these schools handed out 13,447 degrees in physics to qualified students.

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

Choosing a Great Physics School

Best Physics Schools Your choice of physics school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. For our Best Overall Physics School rankings, we roll up the results of our degree-level rankings, weighted by the number of degrees awarded at that level.

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

Physics Rankings by Degree Level

Bachelor's Degrees in Physics
Master's Degrees in Physics
Doctor's Degrees in Physics

The physics school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Physics Schools. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for Physics in the United States

The schools below may not offer all types of physics degrees so you may want to filter by degree level first. However, they are great for the degree levels they do offer. 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 Physics

1
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In CA
99 Physics Degrees Awarded

Every student who is interested in physics needs to check out Stanford University. Stanford is a large private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Stanford. A Best Colleges rank of #3 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

There were about 99 physics students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Stanford University

2
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
124 Physics Degrees Awarded
17.7% Growth in Graduates

Any student pursuing a degree in physics needs to check out University of Chicago. Located in the large city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #2 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means UChicago is a great university overall.

There were roughly 124 physics students who graduated with this degree at UChicago in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the physics program at University of Chicago earn $9,666 above the standard college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Chicago

3
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In IL

Any student pursuing a degree in physics needs to check out Northwestern University. Northwestern is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of #5 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were approximately 24 physics students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Northwestern University

4
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
159 Physics Degrees Awarded
$94,011 Median Starting Salary

Every student pursuing a degree in physics has to take a look at University of Arizona. Located in the large city of Tucson, University of Arizona is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 26 schools for overall quality in the state of Arizona.

There were approximately 159 physics students who graduated with this degree at University of Arizona in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physics program at University of Arizona earn $51,099 more than the average graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Arizona

5
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
120 Physics Degrees Awarded
1.7% Growth in Graduates

U-M is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of #29 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

There were approximately 120 physics students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent year we have data available. After graduating, physics degree recipients generally earn about $42,728 in the first five years of their career.

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

6
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MD
78 Physics Degrees Awarded

Johns Hopkins is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of #23 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were approximately 78 physics students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in physics from Johns Hopkins University

7
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
109 Physics Degrees Awarded
11.9% Growth in Graduates

Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of #22 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were roughly 109 physics students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent year we have data available. After graduating, physics degree recipients generally make an average of $38,630 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a degree in physics from Cornell University

8
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
119 Physics Degrees Awarded
$42,865 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #26 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were about 119 physics students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the physics program make around $42,865 in the first couple years of working.

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

9
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
194 Physics Degrees Awarded
$49,863 Median Starting Salary

Located in the suburb of Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 10th out of 168 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 194 physics students who graduated with this degree at UCSB in the most recent year we have data available. Those physics students who get their degree from University of California - Santa Barbara make $6,951 more than the typical physics graduate.

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

10
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
152 Physics Degrees Awarded
$59,702 Median Starting Salary

UC Berkeley is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Berkeley. A Best Colleges rank of #18 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great university overall.

There were roughly 152 physics students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent data year. Physics degree recipients from University of California - Berkeley get an earnings boost of around $16,790 above the typical income of physics majors.

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

11
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
65 Physics Degrees Awarded
$55,327 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 52 schools for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were roughly 65 physics students who graduated with this degree at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physics program at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities make $12,415 above the standard graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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

12
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
98 Physics Degrees Awarded
$45,916 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #30 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UW - Madison is a great university overall.

There were roughly 98 physics students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent year we have data available. Physics degree recipients from University of Wisconsin - Madison earn a boost of about $3,004 over the average income of physics majors.

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

13
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
71 Physics Degrees Awarded
$41,524 Median Starting Salary

UCSD is a fairly large public university located in the large city of La Jolla. This university ranks 8th out of 168 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 71 physics students who graduated with this degree at UCSD in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the physics program state that they receive average early career income of $41,524.

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

14
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
93 Physics Degrees Awarded
$47,882 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #34 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

There were approximately 93 physics students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physics degree program at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earn $4,970 more than the typical college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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

15
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In IN
71 Physics Degrees Awarded

Located in the suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #20 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were about 71 physics students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Notre Dame

16
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
117 Physics Degrees Awarded
6.8% Growth in Graduates

UMCP is a very large public university located in the large suburb of College Park. This university ranks 2nd out of 36 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were approximately 117 physics students who graduated with this degree at UMCP in the most recent year we have data available. Those physics students who get their degree from University of Maryland - College Park receive $5,622 more than the typical physics grad.

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

17
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
70 Physics Degrees Awarded
$55,521 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large suburb of Amherst, UMass Amherst is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 11th out of 63 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 70 physics students who graduated with this degree at UMass Amherst in the most recent data year. Physics degree recipients from University of Massachusetts Amherst receive an earnings boost of approximately $12,609 above the typical earnings of physics majors.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Massachusetts Amherst

18
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
133 Physics Degrees Awarded
14.3% Growth in Graduates

Ohio State is a very large public university located in the large city of Columbus. This university ranks 2nd out of 96 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There were about 133 physics students who graduated with this degree at Ohio State in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the physics major at Ohio State University - Main Campus earn $19,284 more than the average college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in physics from Ohio State University - Main Campus

19
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
121 Physics Degrees Awarded
$33,381 Median Starting Salary

UC Irvine is a very large public university located in the city of Irvine. This university ranks 15th out of 168 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 121 physics students who graduated with this degree at UC Irvine in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the physics program report average early career earnings of $33,381.

More information about a degree in physics from University of California - Irvine

20
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
110 Physics Degrees Awarded
$89,777 Median Starting Salary

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 8th out of 142 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 110 physics students who graduated with this degree at University of Rochester in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the physics program at University of Rochester make $46,865 more than the average college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in physics from University of Rochester

21
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
130 Physics Degrees Awarded
14.6% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 115 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were roughly 130 physics students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the physics program make about $42,452 for their early career.

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

22
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
209 Physics Degrees Awarded
$38,470 Median Starting Salary

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

There were about 209 physics students who graduated with this degree at UW Seattle in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the physics program make an average of $38,470 in their early career salary.

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

23
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In MA
46 Physics Degrees Awarded

Northeastern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Boston. This university ranks 7th out of 63 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 46 physics students who graduated with this degree at Northeastern in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in physics from Northeastern University

24
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
59 Physics Degrees Awarded
3.4% Growth in Graduates

UNC Chapel Hill is a very 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 about 59 physics students who graduated with this degree at UNC Chapel Hill in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the physics program make about $43,015 for their early career.

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

25
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
141 Physics Degrees Awarded
7.8% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city of New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #27 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means NYU is a great university overall.

There were about 141 physics students who graduated with this degree at NYU in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the physics program make about $33,529 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in physics from New York University

Rest of the Top Best Physics Schools

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33

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 Physics Schools award.

RankCollegeLocation
34Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI
35Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicago, IL
36University of Colorado BoulderBoulder, CO
37Brigham Young University - ProvoProvo, UT
38Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy, NY
39University of DelawareNewark, DE
40Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
41Virginia TechBlacksburg, VA
42William & MaryWilliamsburg, VA
43University of Massachusetts - LowellLowell, MA
44Emory UniversityAtlanta, GA

Physics by Region

View the Best Physics Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Other U.S. Territories
Great Lakes

View All Rankings >

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

Physics Focus Areas

MajorAnnual Graduates
General Physics12,551
Other Physics502
Optics/Optical Sciences220
Acoustics121
Theoretical & Mathematical Physics33
Atomic/Molecular Physics7
Condensed Matter & Materials Physics6
Elementary Particle Physics5
Nuclear Physics2

View All Physics Concentrations >

Majors Similar to Physics

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Chemistry20,985
Geological & Earth Sciences8,124
General Physical Sciences3,141
Astronomy & Astrophysics1,396
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology1,183
Materials Sciences642
Other Physical Science500
Physics and Astronomy55

View All Physics Related Majors >

Notes and References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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