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Physical Science Degree

Physical science is a broad field that studies the structures and properties of space, time, and matter. The field can be divided into numerous sub-categories that include chemistry, astronomy, geology, physics, acoustics, and more. If we look around us, the uses of physical sciences are abundant. From eyeglasses to fuel and from hearing aids to stereos, physical sciences have revolutionized engineering and impact our society on every level.
Individuals are opting for physical science education due to many reasons such as the diverse career opportunities that come with it. If you have a knack for science and physics, and want to prepare for a career that is challenging and exciting, consider getting a degree in physical sciences. Nuclear science, energy production, engineering, and biochemistry are just a few areas where physical science degree would come in handy.

Physical science degrees are offered at undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree levels. Many universities are offering specialized programs in this field. It is important that you check the accreditation status of the institute before enrolling.

Bachelors in Physical Science

This program falls in the category of undergraduate degrees. It typically takes four years to complete the program. A bachelor’s degree in physical science can be a suitable undergraduate major for prospective physicians and surgeons.  
The program is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of sciences. Students will be introduced to all major branches of sciences including chemistry and physics. The coursework entails theoretical and practical courses. Students will not only develop strong concepts, but will also gain hands on experience and skills. Here are some of the courses students may cover in the program:

  • General chemistry
  • Physics for scientists and engineers
  • Thermodynamics
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Calculus
  • Optics
  • Electronics
  • Organic chemistry
  • Principles of physics
  • Statistics

Masters in Physical Science

Undergraduate students who wish to broaden their scope of knowledge and acquire advanced skills in the field of physical science can opt for an MS degree.  It is a two-year graduate level program that aims to provide students with workplace skills, hands-on experience, and knowledge about the applications of physical sciences in the real world.
The curriculum of the program is comprehensive and aims to initially familiarize students with fundamental concepts of physical science. Further in the program, students can choose from a range of concentration courses. The area chosen for concentration will reflect a student’s career goals and interests. The most commonly offered concentration courses include chemistry, earth science, physics, and biology. Here are a few courses students may study in the degree:

  • Environmental chemistry

This course will highlight the environmental issues that are linked to chemistry. Students will cover a range of topics such as soil chemistry, pollution, global climate change, toxic organic chemicals, and natural water systems.

  • Physics of solid state materials

This course will introduce students to the physical properties of solids. The topics that are generally covered in this course include symmetry of crystals, chemical bonding, lattice dynamics, band structure, semiconductors, optical properties, and more.

  • Biostatistics

This course will cover statistics used in public health and health sciences. Students will learn about sampling, probability, regression, correlation, hypotheses testing, and data analysis.

  • Environmental law

This course is dedicated to the introduction of laws designed to save the environment. Students will learn about different environmental policies, water and air quality control, toxic substances, and the regulation industry.

Learning Objectives of Physical Science Courses:

  • Provide students with a fundamental understanding of science and its uses in daily life
  • Equip students with in-depth knowledge of the various branches of science
  • Help students develop strong analysis, communication, written, and critical thinking skills
  • Apply research techniques
  • Develop a scientific attitude that can help in problem solving

Admission Requirements

The admission process is likely to vary from college to college. Many top ranking colleges have a selective admission policy.  Applicants must meet the general admission requirements to be considered for enrollment. Undergraduate applicants will need to provide a high school diploma or GED whereas a bachelor degree transcript will be required to enroll in a master’s program.  Some colleges only accept applicants with a GPA of 2.5 or above. Apart from this, students will also need to provide letters of recommendation and fill out an admission form.

Online Learning

Technology has revolutionized higher education as well. Now it is possible to get a college degree without even having to take classes at a campus. Distance education has become a popular mode of learning. Many colleges have added online physical science courses to their program offerings. Students who are working and cannot manage on-campus classes can benefit from online courses. The classes are covered entirely online with the help of videos, lectures, and conferencing. In a physical science degree online, students can design their own study schedule and study in their free time. This mode of learning is flexible, cost-friendly, and convenient. However, note that not all colleges are offering 100% online curriculums.

Physical Science Careers

The career options are diverse, dynamic, and challenging. Students can choose from a wide range of career paths, depending on their area of specialization and interest. Those with specialization in chemistry may choose to work as a chemistry technician or chemist whereas students with specialization in geology may work as geoscientists or conservationists. The income level will vary from job to job and will also depend on the level of degree. According to O*NET OnLine, geoscientists made a median annual income of $89,910; chemists made $73,480, while soil and water conservationists made $61,860, in 2014. Undergraduate degree holders may generally qualify for entry-level jobs and master’s degree holders may qualify for advanced job positions. There are numerous government agencies, private firms, and not for profit organizations that hire physical science majors.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are some of the physical science courses available?

A:Different universities offer different types of physical science courses. Before enrolling in a program, take a quick look at the courses they are offering. These could include the likes of contemporary topics in physical science, introduction to physical science, general astronomy, physics for teachers and general chemistry. Bear in mind that these are very broad descriptions of the detailed topics that these courses might actually cover.

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