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General Physical Sciences

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General Physical Sciences Major

4,383 yearly degrees
#159 in popularity
$64,000 median salary

General physical sciences is a major that typically falls into the Physical Sciences category.

There are 127 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in physical science, 83 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 9 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 3 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Physical Science Degree?

General physical sciences is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #233 in popularity. About 300 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 48.3% of the graduates are women, and 51.7% are men.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 6.9%
  • Black or African American: 7.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 14.9%
  • White: 57.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 5.9%
  • Other Races: 7.3%
General Physical Sciences Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in physical science. About 5.9% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending physical science majors to the U.S. are China, Saudi Arabia and India.

What Will You Learn as a General Physical Sciences Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to physical science to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Physical Science Majors

A major in physical science should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for General Physical Sciences Majors

Skills for Physical Science Majors

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

Important Skills for General Physical Sciences Majors

Abilities for Physical Science Majors

Physical science majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for physical science Majors

What Can You Do With a Physical Science Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with physical science:

Careers Related to General Physical Sciences
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Natural Sciences Managers



Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education



General Physical Sciences Major Salary

Average salaries range from $64,000 to $140,000 for careers related to physical science. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Physical Science Major  ( 64000 to 140000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for General Physical Sciences Major Jobs

Some careers associated with physical science require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for physical science careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With General Physical Sciences
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online General Physical Sciences Programs

There are 83 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in general physical sciences, with 0 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a General Physical Sciences Major Worth It?

The median salary for a physical science grad is $64,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 65% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $508,800 after 20 years!

general physical sciences salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
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