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

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16 (tie)Iowa State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$319,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,100
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,500
16 (tie)Minnesota State University - Moorhead Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$319,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,600
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$35,800
16 (tie)New Mexico State University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$319,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$20,000
16 (tie)St. Cloud State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$319,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,400
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,300
16 (tie)West Virginia University (WVU) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$319,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,400
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,700
16 (tie)Western Kentucky University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$319,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,100
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,300
22University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$318,000
Total 4 Year Cost$77,800
Grad Rate55%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,900
23 (tie)Montana State University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$317,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,500
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,000
23 (tie)North Dakota State University (NDSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$317,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,600
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
23 (tie)Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$317,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,500
Grad Rate55%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,500
23 (tie)University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$317,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,800
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,500
27 (tie)Northern Kentucky University (NKU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$316,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,200
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,200
27 (tie)University of Idaho(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$316,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,200
Grad Rate58%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,200
27 (tie)University of Northern Iowa(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$316,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,500
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
27 (tie)University of South Alabama(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$316,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,300
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$36,400

*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.