Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Physics Degrees

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Physics Degrees

The best physics liberal arts colleges are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best physics degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding physics faculty.

A bachelor’s degree in physics is an excellent starting point for a career in engineering, alternative energy, space exploration, and a host of other exciting and rapidly innovating fields. As a physics major, you’ll study subjects such as calculus, mechanics, and thermodynamics. Your degree will incorporate a variety of branches within math and physics, including astrophysics, biophysics, and quantum physics. The best schools for physics are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of physics concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Frequently Asked Questions About Physics Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in physics can open numerous professional doors, particularly in the field of engineering. A physics degree can help prepare you for work as an engineering technician, data scientist, or geologist. It’s also a great starting point if you plan to eventually pursue a license to be a professional engineer (PE), or if you intend to continue into an advanced degree program and become a research scientist, physicist, or astronomer. The best schools for physics will put you in a position to become an innovator and a leader in this exciting and challenging field.

Today, top influencers in physics are breaking new ground in Mathematical Physics, Quantum Field Theory, Theoretical Physics, and much more.

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Physics is a great major because it can serve as the starting point for a number of well-paying careers. For instance, physicists and astronomers earned a median of $122,220 per year in 2019; geoscientists earned a median salary of $92,040; and industrial engineers saw a median of $88,020 in the same year. A bachelor’s degree in physics gives you the chance to choose between these and a wide range of other pathways where salaries and the rate of job growth are much higher than the average for all professions.

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Once you’ve declared your major in physics, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of STEM-related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized physics electives, there are several common courses that most physics majors will be required to take, including:

  • Classical Mechanics
  • Modern Physics
  • Calculus
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Differential Equations
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Waves and Optics
  • Statistical Physics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Atomic Physics

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Earning a degree in physics can qualify you for a number of well-paying jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for physicists and astronomers is expected to grow at a rate of 5% by 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. For industrial engineers, that rate is even higher, at 10%. Depending on your concentration, a degree in physics could help you make the jump into one of these high-growth sectors. The following are among the most popular jobs for physics majors:

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Physics Degree Programs

If you think a research university may be a better fit for you, see our ranking of the best research universities for a bachelor’s in physics.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Physics Degrees

  1. #1

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    Swarthmore College Physics Majors

    • Major and Minor Physics

    Source

  2. #2

    Williams College

    Williamstown , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

  3. #3

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  4. #4

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    Wellesley College Physics Majors

    • Physics
    • Interdisciplinary Option
    • Astrophysics
    • Chemical Physics

    Source

  5. #5

    Pomona College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

    Pomona College Physics Majors

    • Physics
    • Physics – Astronomy
    • Physics – Astrophysics

    Source

  6. #6

    Wesleyan University

    Middletown , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    4K

    Wesleyan University Physics Major Tracks

    • Astrophysics
    • Biophysics
    • Chemical Physics
    • Econophysics
    • General Physics
    • Geophysics
    • Mathematical Physics

    Source

  7. #8

    Bowdoin College

    Brunswick , ME
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

  8. #9

    Middlebury College

    Middlebury , VT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    22%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

  9. #10

    Barnard College

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    Barnard College Physics Majors

    • Physics
    • Astronomy
    • Astrophysics
    • Interdisciplinary Major options

    Source

  10. #11

    Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    Claremont McKenna College Physics Majors

    • BS in Physics – emphasis on computational and numerical techniques

    Source

  11. Other Rankings

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/29

    United States Naval Academy Physics Majors

    • BS in Physics

    Source

  12. Other Rankings

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    United States Military Academy Physics Majors

    • Advanced Physics
    • Nuclear Engineering
    • Space Science

    Source

  13. #14

    Colgate University

    Hamilton , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  14. #15

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

  15. #16

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  16. #18

    Kenyon College

    Gambier , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1365/31

    Kenyon College Physics Majors

    Source

  17. #20

    Reed College

    Portland , OR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1422/32

  18. #22

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  19. #23

    Carleton College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

  20. #24

    Oberlin College

    Oberlin , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1380/31

Go to all Liberal Arts Colleges for Physics programs

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