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General Physical Sciences Major

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General Physical Sciences

82 Master's Degrees Annually
20 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#243 in Popularity (Master's)
$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 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 82
Doctor’s Degree 20

What General Physical Sciences Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to physical science and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Physical Science Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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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

A major in physical science will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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 Master’s Degree in General Physical Sciences?

82 Master's Degrees Annually
37% Percent Women
9% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This major tends to be male dominated. About 63% of recent graduates 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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 2
Black or African American 2
Hispanic or Latino 1
White 26
International Students 47
Other Races/Ethnicities 4

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Physical Science, too. About 57.3% 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?

Salaries According to BLS

Physical Science majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $64,340 to $139,680 (25th to 75th percentile). 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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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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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.

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

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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 2018-2019 academic year, 216 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) 10 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 127 5
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 10 0
Master’s Degree 10 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 22,156
Physics 13,927
Geological & Earth Sciences 9,522
Astronomy & Astrophysics 1,168
Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology 1,072
Materials Sciences 681
Other Physical Science 503

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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