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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16University of Delaware(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$446,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
17Idaho State University (ISU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$445,000
Total 4 Year Cost$82,800
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,000
18Colorado School of Mines(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$443,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate76%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$33,400
19Harvey Mudd College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$436,000
Total 4 Year Cost$260,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,400
20Cornell University - Ithaca, NY(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$432,000
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
21University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$430,000
Total 4 Year Cost$117,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,700
22Stanford University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$428,000
Total 4 Year Cost$247,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,100
23University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$427,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,100
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
24 (tie)Dartmouth College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
Total 4 Year Cost$257,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,200
24 (tie)University of Massachusetts (UMass) - Lowell Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,500
26Stony Brook University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$419,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,900
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,300
27San Diego State University (SDSU) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$418,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,900
28 (tie)California State University - Hayward(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$415,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,200
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,600
28 (tie)San Francisco State University (SFSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$415,000
Total 4 Year Cost$143,000
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
30California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$414,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,300
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,400

*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.