Physical Sciences

The physical sciences is a broad field connecting many disciplines together through its focus on the earth and its components, from rocks and soils to the ocean and atmosphere. If these topics interest you, keep reading to learn more about becoming a physical scientist.

Inside Physical Sciences

Physical science is a broad discipline concerned with natural phenomena of the earth, atmosphere and space. It encompasses a variety of fields that include astronomy, chemistry, geology, physics, atmospheric science and oceanography. Physical scientists are people who love studying the earth and all its processes and components. A physical science bachelor's degree program prepares students for careers as science teachers, science writers or a range of scientific positions related to their areas of emphasis. It also serves as good preparation for graduate-level studies in any physical science discipline.

To get more information about academic and career options in this field, check out the links below.

Education Information

Physical sciences degree programs are generally structured to provide flexibility for students wanting to focus on a specific field within physical science. Alternatively, students may elect to take a variety of major and elective courses in different departments, which can range from astronomy and physics to mathematics and computer science. Some programs offer forensic science and pre-medicine tracks for students planning to continue on to graduate school in these fields. Physical science graduate degrees are rarer, but they do exist. Read the following articles to get more details regarding degree options in this field of study.

Distance Learning Options

A wide variety of options is also available to students wanting to pursue their studies online. Many degree programs in fields within physical sciences are available fully online or as hybrid degree programs. Students can also take many physical science courses online.

Career Options

Individuals with degrees in the physical sciences work a wide range of scientific jobs. The list below includes some jobs physical scientists may hold. Visit to find additional career opportunities.

Employment Information

In general, physical scientists will experience good job prospects over the 2012-2022 period. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for hydrologists, physicists and atmospheric scientists is expected to be at an average rate compared to other occupations ( However, chemists and materials scientists may see slower job growth. Physical scientists typically earn good wages, but these do vary by field. As of May 2013, mean annual wages were $77,740 for chemists, $117,040 for physicists, $79,260 for hydrologists and $88,140 for atmospheric and space scientists, also per the BLS.

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