Attending the best physics colleges can help you unlock several rewarding potential careers. Whether you’re interested in being an inventor, researcher, or teacher, a physics degree can be diverse.
Accredited Programs That Might Interest YouLearn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
There are several fabulous programs across the country designed to offer lucrative degrees. In this guide, we’ve ranked 10 of the best physics colleges across the United States. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $15,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Physics Colleges
1. Moorpark College
2-4 Year; Moorpark, CA
Average Annual Cost: $1,473
The physics program at Moorpark College is for students interested in a well-rounded educational pathway. You will learn about the fundamentals of the subject as well as the major’s versatility and all it offers. Whether you are looking for courses in biophysics, astronomy, environmental science, or engineering, this pathway provides it all.
Moorpark College ensures its students obtain a multidisciplinary approach to learning. Your physics program will contain medicine, math, science, and technology classes. As an added advantage, the courses show students how their careers can affect and benefit society on both large and small scales.
It is a fabulous opportunity to take courses that capitalize on critical thinking, collaboration, and independent work. During your studies, there are several topics you are bound to explore, including:
- Life Science
- Differential Equations
- Wave Motion
- Optics and Modern Physics
- Social Sciences
2. CUNY Brooklyn College
4 Year; Brooklyn, NY
Average Annual Cost: $2,683
CUNY Brooklyn College offers an undergraduate physics program as a part of the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences. Students will learn all of the intricacies of the major, especially when it comes to quantum mechanics. This degree is ideal if you have a curious mind that has always wondered how natural occurrences happen.
During your studies, you will explore natural phenomena using qualitative and quantitative skills. The courses will engage your analytical, logical, and problem-solving skills, preparing you for a diverse career. Many students move on to work in biophysics, engineering, or astronomy once they acquire their degrees.
As an undergraduate student, there are a couple of degree options open to you at CUNY Brooklyn College. Physics students can acquire a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Physics and a Physics Teacher (7-12) Bachelor of Arts. If you want to take it as a minor, you can add it to your existing study plan.
It is possible to complete your degree within three years, and students will navigate through various courses. Some of the most commonly explored topics you can expect are:
- The Making of the Atom Bomb
- Space-Time, Gravity, and the Quantum
- General Physics and the Computer
- Introduction to Modern Physics
- Advanced Laboratory
- Solid-State Physics
3. Orange Coast College
2-4 Year; Costa Mesa, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,178
Orange Coast College takes a unique approach when it comes to providing students with physics education. Their courses can be taken and transferred to other schools to obtain a four-year degree. During your time in class, you will explore many fascinating topics, including:
- Quantum Physics
It is important to note that most physics courses from Orange Coast College require prerequisites. The prerequisites may differ depending on the program you choose, so it is best to speak with a counselor beforehand. With their help, you can develop a custom learning pathway to help you obtain your degree.
This program is known as a Physics Associate in Science for Transfer. Basically, you will work on building the fundamental skills necessary to pursue a four- or three-year degree from another institution. With this foundation, you will find that it’s much simpler to be accepted into some of the highest-ranked schools for physics.
Students will be required to earn 60 credit units to get their Physics Associate in Science for Transfer. A few examples of core courses you will need to take include:
- Modern Calculus-Based Physics
- Math and Calculus
4. City College of San Francisco
2-4 Year; San Francisco, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,267
City College of San Francisco has one of the most competitive physics programs, as it is among the largest two-year physics departments. Approximately 1,200 students enroll in the program each year, unlocking unique courses. The vast majority of classes will be held at the Ocean Campus but could be spread among other campuses.
Upon completing your studies, you will be granted an Associate of Science in Physics. Students can then use their two-year degree to continue working or enroll in a four-year program. After obtaining a baccalaureate from another school, you will be a highly competitive prospective employee.
At City College of San Francisco, you will earn the foundational knowledge needed for a physics specialist. Students will gain knowledge of classical mechanics, introductory physics, conceptual physics, elementary physics, and more. It is a fantastic solution to help prepare you for further education to broaden your degree.
5. Foothill College
4 Year; Los Altos Hills, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,859
Understanding the science behind how the world works is one of the primary tenets of Foothill College’s physics program. Students will explore multiple disciplines during their studies, including geology, chemistry, and astronomy. Not only does this learning pathway help expand your understanding of physics, but it also prepares you for various careers.
Many of the students enrolled at Foothill College move onto profitable careers as space physicists, nuclear physicists, engineering physicists, geophysicists, and astrophysicists. Your in-depth education will help you get experience in several avenues to help for-profit and non-profit organizations. Also, they have a couple of degree options.
Although Foothill College doesn’t offer baccalaureate degrees, they help you get the foundational knowledge required. Students can obtain an Associate in Science or an Associate Degree for Transfer. With the Associate Degree for Transfer, you can move onto a four-year program to expand your education to acquire a bachelor’s and even doctorate.
Like many of the other programs on this list, there are multiple courses you can expect to enroll in. A few examples include:
- General Physics
- Introduction to Modern Physics
- Independent Study
6. San Diego Miramar College
2-4 Year; San Diego, CA
Average Annual Cost: $4,384
Attending San Diego Miramar College is ideal for students interested in obtaining Physical Science degrees. Apart from offering physics courses, this program is perfect for pre-engineering, geology, and earth sciences students.
Through your classes, you will explore various fundamental elements to achieve specific outcomes. Students will understand the meaning of physical phenomena while experimenting using scientific theory. Your courses will also help you solve problems using physical science and visualize the features of natural phenomena.
A massive component of studying at this college is to refine your analytical skills by reviewing scientific results in physical science laboratories. Along with investigating natural phenomena, the Physical Sciences program is ideal for non-living systems.
Students will work to use physics principles and investigative tools to understand and appreciate methodologies. Like many other learning pathways, this course is intended to help you transition to a four-year physical science degree.
If you intend to transfer to another school to obtain a baccalaureate, it is important to speak with the Transfer Center. A counselor will then help ensure your credits are transferred and put towards your future degree. You can obtain a career in numerous fields, such as:
- Hydrologic Sciences
- Natural Sciences
7. Diablo Valley College
2-4 Year; Pleasant Hill, CA
Average Annual Cost: $5,103
Diablo Valley College is an excellent option for physics majors looking for schooling to make them career-ready. Its unique program explores the marriage between astronomy, physics, chemistry, and other disciplines. You will also study engineering, scientific research, and software engineering.
At Diablo Valley College, there are three main disciplines students often opt for: geography/geology, astronomy, or physics. Another unique option is Global Information Systems/Global Positioning Systems, a specialty you aren’t likely to find in other schools. If you have always been interested in pursuing a unique study area, this program is ideal.
There are many degree options students can consider in the physics department. All are two-year degrees, making them ideal for transferring to a four-year program to further your education. Considering that most physics careers require a baccalaureate at the very least, these introductory courses are ideal.
At Diablo Valley College, you can obtain the following degrees:
- Associate in Arts (Social/Cultural Geography)
- Associate in Arts for Transfer (Geography)
- Associate in Science (Geographic Information Systems/Global Positioning Systems, Geology, Meteorology, Physical Geography)
- Associate in Science for Transfer (Geology, Physics)
8. Ohlone College
2-4 Year; Fremont, CA
Average Annual Cost: $8,776
Ohlone College offers a student-centric learning environment that helps you gather the fundamental skills for a physics degree. Upon graduation, you can obtain an Associate in Science or Associate in Arts. Upon completing this program, you can then transfer to a four-year program to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Another unique option for students is the Certificate of Accomplishment learning pathways. Ideal for employed individuals, you can explore specialties to help further your career. Currently, Ohlone College offers the following Certificates of Accomplishment:
- Physics: Introductory Certificate of Accomplishment
- Physics: Advanced Certificate of Accomplishment
Although this school doesn’t offer a full four-year degree, its course offerings are some of the most diverse. At Ohlone College, you can expect to explore mechanics, electricity, optics, modern physics, and more. Their courses are specifically designed to give students the introductory knowledge they need to move onto a more in-depth program.
9. Utah Valley University
4 Year; Orem, UT
Average Annual Cost: $9,159
Once you’ve decided to pursue a degree in physics, it is essential to find a college where you can get into a four-year program. Utah Valley University is a fantastic choice, offering a Bachelor’s in Physics or a Bachelor’s in Physics Education. Students can also enroll in the Associate Degree in Physical Science for a quick two-year program.
The learning objectives for all pathways ensure students can think analytically, develop math and lab skills, and apply physics principles to everyday problems. You will have hands-on experiences working with modern scientific instruments and analyzing data. Also, there are multiple lab environments to help you test theories and watch how natural phenomena occur.
During your time in school, there are multiple classes you are bound to experience, including:
- Space and Time
- Introduction to Geology
- Natural Sciences
- Computers and Physics
As expected, the Bachelor’s in Physics program is slightly more in-depth than the other two pathways. Students will explore classical mechanics, optics and wave phenomena, modern physics, quantum mechanics, and more. By the end of your studies, you will have the ideal amount of in-class and real-world experience to explore a profitable career.
10. Metropolitan State University of Denver
4 Year; Denver, CO
Average Annual Cost: $14,257
The physics program at the Metropolitan State University of Denver is perfect for passionate students. The course revolves around how physics interacts with the natural world and its many illustrious careers. Students will navigate curing disease, fighting climate change, analyzing evolution, and more.
There is no doubt that the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s physics program is ideal for a multidisciplinary approach. You can expect to learn about foundational science, math, and philosophy. Your courses will contribute towards earning an advanced degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.
One of the more unique options from the school is their Bachelor of Arts with Secondary Licensure. This program is highly recommended for STEM teachers, giving them the skills needed to pursue a teaching career.
There’s no doubt you will always have a fast-paced and interesting learning environment comprised of numerous courses. Students will benefit greatly from the school’s smaller class sizes and the real-world experience you will get while studying. The diverse faculty also features industry-leading professionals who work closely with their students.
As an added benefit, the Metropolitan State University of Denver has many partnerships. For example, the school works alongside aerospace and physics companies in Colorado and nationwide. Thanks to this, you may find new networking opportunities to access job placements and internships. Overall, this program is designed to help you every step of the way from enrollment to post-graduate employment.