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Best Schools for Physics Majors: List of Top Schools

Physics tends to be identified as a graduate field, but there are also opportunities for undergraduate students looking to major in physics. Discover the best schools for pursuing a major in this field. Take a look at the schools' rankings, degree offerings and potential areas of study within these physics programs so that you can compare similarities.

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School Information

Learn about schools with high-ranking programs that offer Bachelor of Science degree programs in physics. One school has consistently been at the top of the rankings for physics, overall. The other institution boasts a top graduate physics program. Award-winning faculty and a research-intensive curriculum are some other highlights of these programs. For more specifics, read on.

Top Schools for Majors in Physics

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge

Since 2002, U.S. News and World Report has listed Massachusetts Institute of Technology's physics program as first in the nation.

The MIT Department of Physics offers prospective physics majors a Bachelor of Science in Physics program, which prepares students for graduate study or careers in fields like astrophysics, management, law, and medicine. In the past 20 years, the MIT program has seen four Nobel Prize winners; seven faculty members possess an Oersted Medal, the most prominent award of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

2. California Institute of Technology in Pasadena

Located in Pasadena, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) offers the top graduate physics program in the nation, according to a 2010 publication from U.S. News and World Report.

Undergraduate students interested in a physics major can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Physics at Caltech, which includes courses in waves, quantum physics and statistical mechanics, advanced physics and engineering. This program is heavily research-based.

Good Schools with Bachelor's Degree Programs in Physics

School Name Distinction Location
Harvard University Ranked #2 for graduate physics in 2014 by U.S. News and World Report Cambridge, MA
Stanford University Requirements for a bachelor's degree with honors include completion of a senior thesis Stanford, CA
University of Arizona Undergrads encouraged to participate in faculty research Tuscon, AZ
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Hosts student organizations such as the C. Wilbur Peters Chapter of Society of Physics Students (SPS), Sigma Pi Sigma (SPS), and the Society for Women in Physics Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Students enrolled in the B.A. or B.S. program can participate in research projects Chapel Hill, NC
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
        • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
        • Atomic and Molecular Physics
        • Theoretical Physics
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Physical Sciences
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics

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