Best Value Colleges For Science Majors

If you're interested in the sciences, from astronomy to zoology, PayScale's College ROI Report can help you find the best value college for science majors by calculating the best college returns on investment based on how much science majors from a particular college earn.

Physical Science is the study of organic, non-living materials, and includes chemistry, physics, meteorology and more.  Read More

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1University of California - Berkeley(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$649,000
Total 4 Year Cost$136,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,300
2University of California - Berkeley(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$555,000
Total 4 Year Cost$229,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,300
3University of California - San Diego (UCSD), Warren College(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$552,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,600
4Georgia Institute of Technology(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$545,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,200
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$31,700
5Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$498,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,200
6San Jose State University (SJSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$495,000
Total 4 Year Cost$99,200
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
7University of California - Davis (UC Davis)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$493,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
8Brigham Young University (BYU)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$487,000
Total 4 Year Cost$70,500
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$20,200
9Duke University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$476,000
Total 4 Year Cost$252,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,000
10Georgia Institute of Technology(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$467,000
Total 4 Year Cost$174,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$31,700
11Harvard University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$465,000
Total 4 Year Cost$244,000
Grad Rate98%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$20,300
12San Francisco State University (SFSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$460,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,100
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
13University of California - San Diego (UCSD), Warren College(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$458,000
Total 4 Year Cost$217,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,600
14University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$456,000
Total 4 Year Cost$119,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,100
15San Jose State University (SJSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$450,000
Total 4 Year Cost$144,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Life science is the study of living organisms and the physical, particularly their processes and interrelationships. Physical science disciplines include geology, chemistry, meteorology, and many more. Disciplines that fall under life science include ecology, neurology, and biology, to name a few. See which schools top the College ROI Report for best value colleges for students who major in life science and physical science.

The University of Rhode Island has among the best college ROIs for science majors in the country. More than 16,000 students attend the University of Rhode Island, and they are well-known for their nursing programs, as well as agricultural and marine natural economics. URI is located in Kingston, Rhode Island, and famous alumni include Lamar Odom and Dawan Robinson.

Several schools in California rank very high in terms of college ROI for science majors. San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, University of California at Berkeley and University of California San Diego all have perennially excellent college ROIs. Each of these colleges are located in areas with strong economies and favorable geography. Life science majors have access to research and fieldwork in a variety of environments, and physical science majors benefit from proximity to job opportunities from big employers in technology, biotechnology, pharmacology and chemical manufacturing.

It's no surprise that science majors provide good ROI for students; after all, you can't spell "STEM" without science. Life sciences and physical sciences set students up for excellent career prospects, ranging from medical careers to research and development. However, some science disciplines lead to higher-paying careers than others, so don't expect the same high demand that engineering and computer science majors enjoy. Also, keep in mind that these figures don't include alumni who go on to earn a graduate degree. Life science majors often see bigger pay bumps when they have a master's degree.