Theoretical and Mathematical Physics
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OverviewSalary and DebtIs a Bachelor's EnoughCareersSchoolsRelated ProgramsGenderRace/Origin
Theoretical and mathematical physics is a program that focuses on the scientific and mathematical formulation and evaluation of the physical laws governing, and models describing, matter-energy phenomena, and the analysis of related experimental designs and results. includes instruction in classical and quantum theory, relativity theory, field theory, mathematics of infinite series, vector and coordinate analysis, wave and particle theory, advanced applied calculus and geometry, analyses of continuum, cosmology, and statistical theory and analysis.
School with the highest reported median starting salary ($69K) with a Bachelor's Degree: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Career with the highest median salary ($122K) where most workers have a Bachelor's Degree: Computer Network Architects
Explore Pathways
Careers for program graduates
Theoretical and mathematical physics majors work in these careers, which are sized by percentage of majors in the career (at least 1%) and colored by the predominant level of education.
Postsecondary TeachersSoftware DevelopersSpecialized Physical Scientist...Specialized ManagersSpecialized EngineersElementary and Middle School S...Computer ProgrammersPhysiciansAstronomers and physicistsComputer and Information Syste...Specialized Life ScientistsChief executives and legislato...Computer Systems AnalystsSecondary School TeachersElectrical and electronics eng...Specialized Computer Occupatio...Management AnalystsLawyers, and judges, magistrat...Computer User Support Speciali...Aerospace Engineers
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Current completions
What level of degree do most graduates achieve, and do they match what your goals?
0102030Bachelor's Degree
Completions over time
Have completions for physics changed over time? Increasing completions may mean you'll likely have an easier time finding a school that offers this degree, with the opposite being true as well.
Show percentages
Number of graduates
Research Doctorate
Bachelor's Degree
Salary and Debt
How are students who recently completed a degree in theoretical and mathematical physics doing?
Below is the distribution of starting salaries along with accumulated federal and private education loans across schools that offer a degree in the field physics, which includes theoretical and mathematical physics.
Median starting salaries
Median cumulative loan amount
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Context: median salaries
How does the median (middle) salary for physics majors compare to the median salaries for other college majors?
Distribution: physics majors' salaries by education level
What is the salary distribution for graduates with a bachelor's inphysics by the level of their highest degree (Graduate degrees may not be in the same field as the bachelor’s)
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
Is a bachelor's degree all you need?
Education level of workers with a bachelor's in physics
Is a bachelor's degree going to be sufficient to make you competative in the job market? We can look at the education level of workers with a bachelors in this degree to see if there is a likely need for a graduate degree. You'll also want to check out the careers section on this page to where they are employed.
This chart shows the level of education of workers with a bachelor's degree in physics. The worker's graduate degree may have been completed in a different field.
Education level of workers
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
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Context: Graduate degrees in any field by undergraduate ACS degree
About 68% of physics majors chose to also earn a graduate degree (possibly of a different major). The percentage of physics majors who also earned a graduate degree is higher than about 97% of other fields.
Context: Percentage salary boost obtained with a graduate degree
How important is a graduate degree for earning a higher salary? We can see the difference in salary of workers with a bachelors in this degree to workers with a bachelor’s AND a graduate degree.
37%53%26%0%20%40%60%80%Bachelor's to Master'sBachelor's to DoctorateBachelor's to Professional
Top careers for those with a degree in physics
Following are the most frequent jobs held by people who earned a bachelor's degree in Physics (which combines 4 programs), though may not be limited to just those with a bachelor’s.
  1. Postsecondary Teachers
  2. Software Developers
  3. Specialized Physical Scientists
  4. Specialized Managers
  5. Specialized Engineers
  6. Elementary and Middle School School Teachers
  7. Computer Programmers
  8. Physicians
  9. Astronomers and physicists
  10. Computer and Information Systems Managers
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Careers for physics majors
Where do physics majors work, and how well do those jobs pay? A ** in the job title indicates that the Department of Education recommends this job for this program.
Not so much?
The top ten careers for workers with a bachelor's in physics
Take a minute to interact with this sankey diagram. Follow the top ten jobs held by physics graduates through to their most hired majors. Learn where it may easiest to find work. Expand the careers to explore other majors that might lead to the job that excites you the most. *For many majors, the top ten jobs don't even include half of graduates!*
Expand careers
Postsecondary Teache...Software DevelopersSpecialized Physical...Specialized ManagersSpecialized Engineer...Elementary and Middl...Computer ProgrammersPhysiciansAstronomers and phys...Computer and Informa...All othersThis degreeTop 10 Careers
What careers hire physics majors as one of their top 10?
To the left of this diagram, see all careers that hire physics majors as one of their top 10 majors, and on the right, see what proportion of openings for the jobs on the left are filled by physics majors.
PhysicsAll other degreesAstronomers and physicist...Specialized Physical Scie...Atmospheric and Space Sci...Computer and Information ...Specialized Life Scientis...Postsecondary TeachersSpecialized EngineersMarine Engineers and Nava...Aerospace EngineersElectrical and electronic...Software DevelopersBiomedical and agricultur...Computer Hardware Enginee...Geoscientists and Hydrolo...Chemists and materials sc...All other careersDegreeDegree in top 10 employed
Where can I complete this degree
Explore schools that offer theoretical and mathematical physics degrees and certificates
You can use this table to find schools that offer this program based on location and program level offered. Each entry goes to a school page similar to this one with all our information about that school.
Understanding the columns

The school list includes a few facts about each school that give you an idea of the educational quality each school might offer:

  • Student-Faculty Ratio: A small number of students per full-time instructor suggests individual attention for each student and an up-to-date curriculum.

  • Satisfaction Rate: A high percentage of returning first-year students should correlate with satisfaction (schools call this their retention rate).

  • Repayment Rate: A high repayment rate means most alumni earn enough to make progress repaying loans within 7 years of leaving.

We also show the total enrollment for the school as measured by full-time-equivalent (FTE) students enrolled annually.

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Related Programs
Top 10 similar programs
Following are related programs, ordered by those with the highest number of completions. You can explore a full list by pressing the more details button.
  1. Chemistry
  2. Physics
  3. Geology
  4. Physical Sciences
  5. Specialized Study in Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences
  6. Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
  7. Astronomy
  8. Materials Science
  9. Specialized Study in Chemistry
  10. Oceanography, Chemical and Physical
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Careers for physics majors
physics is part of a larger collection of programs: Physical Sciences. Is there a different program that's close to physics that might be a better match for your interests? You can use this table to see a little about the programs that fall under this umbrella. If you click on any of the table headers, that will sort the table by that column, or click on a row and see Ididio's profile for that program.
Gender of recent graduates
Of all people with any degree in theoretical and mathematical physics earned in the last academic year, 27% were women.
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Completions over time
Have completions by gender changed over time, or at specific levels of education?
Award level
All levels
0510152025Number of graduates200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Context: Gender representation
How does the gender distribution in this major compare to all other majors?
Context: Percentage women
This major has a lower percentage of women than 76% other programs.
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary with this degree? The closer the bar are, the less discrepancy there is.
Context: Salary inequity
For physics graduates, men have a 26% higher median salary than women, This is high: 78% of programs have graduates with lower salary inequities.
Race/Origin of recent graduates
Here is an overview of race/origin for all theoretical and mathematical physics graduates from this last academic year. We found a higher percentage of international graduates in this program than in 81% of other programs.
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Not Reported
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Completions over time
Have completions by race/origin changed over time, or at specific levels of education?
Award level
All levels
0510152025Number of graduates200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Not Reported
American Indian
Pacific Islander
Context: Percentage of Minority Graduates
Minority students comprise a lower percentage of graduates than in 70% of other programs.