2018 Best Schools for a Master's in Physics

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Physics-Top Graduate Schools-2018-Badge

This list ranks the top 13 master's in physics programs based on reviews by students and alumni. Rice University tops the list with a 100% student recommendation rating. Their annual tuition is $34,750, which is on the pricier side, but other colleges on the list like North Carolina State, whose annual out-of-state tuition is $24,323, and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, whose annual out-of-state tuition is $25,953, are more affordable top-ranked options. Other noteworthy schools include College of William and Mary at #2, Duke University at #5, Cornell at #7, and Carnegie Mellon at #9.

Though Boston University holds the #10 position, they have a 100% student recommendation rating, and many students commented on the diverse student body and large stipends. One student said,“There is a very wide range of students in this program from small schools to Ivy League schools. No students seem to have any advantage over the others. This graduate program is very good, especially since they offer full tuition and a fairly large stipend to all graduate students." Other students confirmed the generous stipend while also commending the college's mentoring program. As this student put it, "Incoming graduate students are assigned an older student as a mentor and all the incoming graduate students are housed together so it's easy to make friends... Incoming students get a 5-year guarantee of funding and also have access to paid parental leave. ”

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Rank College Campus Location 2018 Student Score
#1 #1 Rice University Campus Location Houston (TX) 2018 Student Score 98.33
#2 #2 College of William and Mary Campus Location Williamsburg (VA) 2018 Student Score 95.34
#3 #3 University of California - Berkeley Campus Location Berkeley (CA) 2018 Student Score 88.50
#4 #4 Yale University Campus Location New Haven (CT) 2018 Student Score 88.17
#5 #5 Duke University Campus Location Durham (NC) 2018 Student Score 87.86
#6 #6 North Carolina State University Campus Location Raleigh (NC) 2018 Student Score 87.38
#7 #7 Cornell University Campus Location Ithaca (NY) 2018 Student Score 86.00
#8 #8 Kansas State University Campus Location Manhattan (KS) 2018 Student Score 85.00
#9 #9 Carnegie Mellon University Campus Location Pittsburgh (PA) 2018 Student Score 84.00
#10 #10 Boston University Campus Location Boston (MA) 2018 Student Score 83.62
#11 #11 University of Massachusetts - Amherst Campus Location Amherst (MA) 2018 Student Score 81.47
#12 #12 Stony Brook University Campus Location Stony Brook (NY) 2018 Student Score 81.11
#13 (tie) #13 (tie) University of California-Davis Campus Location Davis (CA) 2018 Student Score 80.93
#13 (tie) #13 (tie) University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Campus Location Minneapolis (MN) 2018 Student Score 80.93


Our goal in presenting this school data is to create a standardized and trustworthy method to assess institutions based on reliable statistics. In order for a school to be eligible to be featured on a 2018 Top Programs List, at least five students from that particular degree program must have submitted feedback on their institution. Graduate Programs only considers regionally or nationally accredited, non-profit institutions for our rankings. Aggregated student rating values were multiplied by 20 to create a Student Score out of 100; in the event of a tie, schools were awarded the same rank value.

Together with our internal recommend rate data, which is calculated based on tens of thousands of student reviews submitted to our site, the data used in the school listings were gathered in 2016-2017 from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This site is the primary governmental entity for gathering and presenting data related to education. NCES data is updated annually. However, in many cases the most recently available data will not be for the current academic year. Additionally, tuition rates may vary by program, so prospective students should contact a representative from their institution of choice for more details.

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This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.