Best Value Colleges For Science Careers

Science careers are a great choice for students who prefer a lab coat to a suit and tie.

Science jobs encompass more than working in a lab though -- a science career can mean you work in any field from anthropology to zoology.  Read More

Find Out Exactly What You
Should Be Paid


208 (tie)University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,500
208 (tie)Wright State University - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate39%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,300
213 (tie)Bowling Green State University - Bowling Green, OH(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$271,000
Total 4 Year Cost$124,000
Grad Rate55%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,900
213 (tie)University of California - Irvine (UCI)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$271,000
Total 4 Year Cost$124,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,300
215 (tie)Appalachian State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$270,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,200
215 (tie)University of North Dakota(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$270,000
Total 4 Year Cost$125,000
Grad Rate55%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$36,300
215 (tie)University of South Florida - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$270,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,000
218 (tie)California State University - San Bernardino (CSUSB)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
Total 4 Year Cost$127,000
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,000
218 (tie)Iowa State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
Total 4 Year Cost$127,000
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,500
218 (tie)Louisiana Tech University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,000
218 (tie)SUNY - College at Oneonta(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,600
218 (tie)University of Texas at Arlington (UTA)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,800
223University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$268,000
Total 4 Year Cost$128,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$37,600
224New Mexico State University - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$267,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$20,000
225 (tie)University of California - Riverside (UCR)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$266,000
Total 4 Year Cost$130,000
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,900

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

PayScale's list of Best College ROIs for Science Jobs calculates the return on investment for schools based on alumni who work in science jobs. Job titles in this category are varied and includes workers who work in the physical science jobs like geology, chemistry, environmental science and geography; life science jobs like biology, animal science and microbiology, and social science jobs like counseling, sociology and economics.

Before we look at the best value colleges for students who want to work in a science career, we should note that PayScale's College ROI figures are calculated based on college graduates who only earned a bachelor's degree. We do not include individuals who go on to earn advanced degrees because we can't accurately calculate the cost of graduate school. And since many of the highest-paying science jobs require advanced degrees, you may not see as high of numbers as you would expect. The truth is, if salary is your highest priority and you want to work in science, you'll most likely have to go to grad school. But the schools that rank well on PayScale's College ROI Report for science jobs provide a good return on investment for individuals who go on to work in the science field even if they only have a bachelor's degree.

UC Berkeley, home of the Golden Bears, is a great choice if a science career is in your future. Furthermore, Cal students graduate in an average of four years, and Cal has a 91 percent graduation rate. This wonder school once again ranks near the top of the list in this category.

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) is a good investment if you plan to pursue a career in the sciences , as is the University of Texas at Austin. It joins a host of other state schools that offer a good value of education, in terms of salary and ROI. In fact, many of the schools on our list of best value colleges for science jobs are public. This doesn't mean that you can't get a good return on your investment if you attend a private school and want to work in sciences, it just means that it may be less common.