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General Physical Sciences Major

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General Physical Sciences

288 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
49 Master's Degrees Annually
#237 in Popularity
$64,340 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Physical Sciences Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general physical sciences graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 4,025
Bachelor’s Degree 288
Master’s Degree 49
Doctor’s Degree 21
Undergraduate Certificate 4

What General Physical Sciences Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to physical science were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Physical Science Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in physical science should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Physical Science Majors

A major in physical science prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for Physical Science Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a physical science student include the following:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a General Physical Sciences Major?

People with a physical science degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Natural Sciences Managers 9.9% $123,860
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7.5% $60,320

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in General Physical Sciences?

288 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
48% Percent Women
35% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 288 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general physical sciences in 2018, making it rank #237 in popularity. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 48% of the graduates are women, and 52% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of physical science majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Physical Science Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 20
Black or African American 22
Hispanic or Latino 43
White 165
International Students 17
Other Races/Ethnicities 21

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Physical Science, too. About 5.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • India
  • United Arab Emirates
  • South Korea

How Much Do General Physical Sciences Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of general physical sciences students with a bachelor’s degree is $33,600 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $33,600 (25th percentile) and $33,600 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a physical science degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $64,340 to $139,680 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to physical science. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a General Physical Sciences Major  ( 64340 to 139680 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with physical science require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to physical science have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 48.6%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 12.0%
Master’s Degree 21.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.6%
Doctoral Degree 13.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 2.7%

Online General Physical Sciences Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 215 schools offered some type of general physical sciences program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 1
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 127 5
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 9 2
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in General Physical Sciences Worth It?

The median salary for a physical science grad is $64,340 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 61% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $488,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to physical science.

Major Number of Grads
Chemistry 22,389
Physics 13,815
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,816
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology 1,188
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,062
Materials Sciences 598
Other Physical Science 513

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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