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.  Read More

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1University of Rhode Island (URI)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$578,000
Total 4 Year Cost$106,000
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,600
2San Jose State University (SJSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$557,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,600
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
3University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$530,000
Total 4 Year Cost$94,100
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
4San Francisco State University (SFSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$517,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,100
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
5University of Rhode Island (URI)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$515,000
Total 4 Year Cost$169,000
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,600
6San Jose State University (SJSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$512,000
Total 4 Year Cost$142,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
7Northeastern University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$506,000
Total 4 Year Cost$228,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,400
8University of California - Berkeley(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$491,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,300
9Rutgers University - New Brunswick Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$488,000
Total 4 Year Cost$116,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,100
10San Francisco State University (SFSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$472,000
Total 4 Year Cost$142,000
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
11University of Connecticut (UConn) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$457,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,000
12University of Delaware(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$454,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
13University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$453,000
Total 4 Year Cost$121,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,600
14University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$442,000
Total 4 Year Cost$182,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
15University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$438,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,000

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

Physical Science is the study of organic, non-living materials, and includes chemistry, physics, meteorology and more. 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 the best college ROI for science majors in the country. Based on the salaries of URI graduates who majored in science, the 20-year net return on investment here is upwards of $570,000 (and above $600,000 with the typical financial aid package factored in). 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 college ROIs greater than $450,000. 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.