Erudera's Complete Guide to Studying Physics in The US
A physics degree from a university in the United States will significantly enhance your career and employment prospects, not only within the US but also internationally. United States universities are renowned for their quality of education, resources, and academia. Apart from having all the attributes that lead to your dream career, the United States is also one of the most popular international student destinations, which means you will get to meet people from all corners of the world while pursuing your degree. If you wish to be one of the over a million international students currently attending school in the US, keep reading!
Here’s everything you need to know about studying physics in the United States:
Reasons to Study Physics in The US
An Abundance of Resources Towards a Successful Career
The United States is home to world-class and prestigious universities. These universities find their way up in all worldwide rankings. The higher education system in the United States is quite effective in making use of its resources and creating innovative faculties. Compared to many other smaller countries, where resources aren’t as abundant, US universities provide students with numerous opportunities to work towards a successful career. Students take part in internship opportunities, laboratory work, fieldwork, lectures, and basically anything they need to obtain the necessary hard/soft skills to excel in their careers. Both national and international students receive support and encouragement throughout their studies from a highly qualified academic staff.
Multicultural Environment With Over a Million International Students
As a physics student in the United States, you will be part of a multicultural environment, which is what makes studying abroad in the United States such an exciting experience. You will meet people from all over the world, create friendships, and learn about different cultures. The whole experience will help you grow as an individual, not only academically but on a personal level. The United States gathers over a million international students across its higher education institutions. The fact that this nation attracts so many students from abroad speaks volumes for its educational quality. Besides, employment opportunities will also be plentiful upon graduation. As a US graduate, you will be at an advantage in the global job market.
As an international student, you will be eligible for numerous scholarship opportunities in the United States. While the US Government offers scholarships, there are also countless US colleges and universities that offer scholarships for international students. The eligibility, however, depends entirely on the scholarship. While some scholarships require students to be from a specific country, some require a specific GPA or TOEFL score. Whatever the case may be, you should do your own research to see what scholarship best suits your circumstances. Keep in mind that you may also contact the university admissions office to find specific information on what scholarship you qualify for.
Entry requirements to study physics in the United States at an undergraduate level generally include secondary-level qualifications in physics and mathematics. Depending on the university, students may be asked to provide their SAT/ACT scores. Non-native speakers of English will be required to provide TOEFL/IELTS scores to prove their English proficiency. Other application requirements may include a B.S. or B.A. degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduate programs as well as GRE scores (no older than five years).
Many advise that the application process to study physics in the United States should start at the beginning of your senior year of high school. Prospective physics applicants should allow enough time to enter any standardized tests that might be required for admission. Depending on when you plan to apply, there are four different application deadlines, including early decision deadlines, early action deadlines, regular decision deadlines, and rolling admissions. With the first two deadlines, you will generally apply in November and receive an answer by December. With regular decision deadlines, you apply in January and receive an answer somewhere mid-March/April; meanwhile, rolling admissions applications are valued regularly.
As part of the application process, you will be required to provide the following documents:
- Academic Transcripts.
- English Language Proficiency Test Scores (TOEFL/IELTS).
- SAT/ACT Scores.
- GRE Scores.
- CV or Resume.
- Statement of Purpose.
- Letters of Recommendation.
- Personal Statement.
Degree Duration: How Long Does It Take to Study Physics in United States?
Physics majors in the United States will graduate in three to four years. Some universities provide students with the opportunity to continue their education for one or two other years and obtain a Master of Physics or a Master of Science. However, graduates may even choose their own master’s program, depending on their preferences and career path. As mentioned, a master’s program will take anywhere from one to two years of full-time study to complete, and it will be a great addition to your professional career.
Tuition Fees: How Much Does It Cost to Study Physics in United States?
In-state students in the United States pay lower tuition fees compared to out-of-state students. Tuition fees at United States universities differ from one institution to another. For example, some of the top universities for physics (which also happen to be rather prestigious/competitive) charge higher tuition. Specifically, the average cost of studying physics at top colleges is around $15,306 for in-state students and $50,753 for out-of-state students. The highest-ranked university for physics in the US, the MIT, charges around $53,450 in tuition and fees for undergraduate programs and $56,719 for graduate degrees.
These are estimated costs for some of the top universities in the United States for physics degrees. Interested students may also choose to pursue their physics degrees at less prestigious/competitive universities and pay lower tuition fees. Scholarships are also available!
Physics Career Prospects in United States
Physics graduates can find employment in a wide array of settings after completing their degrees. Common job titles for physics graduates include accelerator operator, applications engineer, design engineer, data analyst, lab technician, optical engineer, software developer, research associate, or high school physics teacher, to name just a few. Physics graduates earn the type of skills that are in demand in numerous sectors, which means career opportunities are diverse. A degree in physics from a US university is highly valued by employers worldwide, which means the global job market is also within reach.
Whether you are interested in a career in the education sector, government-funded labs, medical physics facilities, or high-tech industries, you are likely to receive a satisfactory salary in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for physicists was $129,850 in May 2020. A physics education can earn you a career that is both fulfilling and financially rewarding. The BLS states that in 2020, the lowest 10 percent of physicists earned less than $67,450 per year, while the highest 10% earned more than $208,000.