Top Non-Ivies for Undergraduate Physics?

What are the top non-ivy schools for Undergraduate Physics?

Also excluding caltech, Standford, and MIT.

Public: UIUC, U Washington Seattle, GTech, UMichigan, Colorado School of Mines, NM Institute of Mining and Technology, Berkeley, OSU, Wisconsin, Cal Poly SLO, and many others

Private: RPI, CMU, Duke, CWRU, Rochester, Northwestern, USC, and more

LACs: Harvey Mudd, Carlton, Grinnell, to name a few

While these rankings are for PhD programs, the corresponding undergrad programs will be good quality too:


UCSB, Hawaii, Penn State, Boston U, Tulane, UC Irvine, Colorado, Rice, UCSC, Michigan State, Rochester…

Look into colleges with a high percentage of recent physics graduates in relation to their enrollments, such as Carleton (24), Bowdoin (18), Reed (17), Hamilton (15), Grinnell (15), Harvey Mudd (14) and Pomona (12). You can use IPEDS to conduct your own research, e.g., Also research programs that have produced Apker Award recipients/finalists, e.g.,

The Physics major in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB can’t be beat. CCS thinks of itself as grad school for undergrads, so you’ll work closely with the faculty and be able to take any class you want (undergrad or grad) at UCSB, prerequisites waived. If you think you can do it, they’ll let you. UCSB is also the home for the The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

CCS describes itself as

Like @Eeyore123, UChicago comes immediately to my mind though many LACs have excellent departments.

University of Colorado-Boulder

You should look at Reed College. They rank top in the nation in the number of STEM majors who go on to earn PhDs. They are also the only undergraduate school in the nation with a nuclear reactor that is run by physics undergrads.