APS News

Physics Majors Pull In High Starting Salaries

Typical Salary Offers
by Campus Recruiters
AY 2008-09


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Reprinted from Fall 2009 Salary Survey, with permission of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, copyright holder.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in physics often receive some of the top starting salaries after graduating from college. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers of starting salaries offered by campus recruiters shows that students graduating with a bachelors in physics can make up to $64,000 per year when starting right out of school. More commonly, the survey found that physics graduates can expect a starting salary between $46,000 and $58,000 per year.

This generally exceeds the starting salaries of graduates in most other science fields. The mean starting salary for a physicist is higher that of graduates who majored in chemistry, psychology or biology. Graduates with physics degrees also tend to outpace other fields outside of the sciences, including those graduating with degrees in marketing, accounting and even finance.

On average, graduates with engineering degrees were one of the few groups whose mean starting offers were higher than physicists. Chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineers’ mean starting salary falls between $59,000 and $65,000 per year, while civil engineers are about even with physicists. Computer science degrees yielded average offers similar to those with electrical engineering degrees.

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Editor: Alan Chodos