Physical Science Degree


The Physical Science major provides a broad background in the sciences. The degree utilizes problem solving, proficiencies in the laboratory techniques, and analysis of experimental data and will demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively using written, oral, electronic, and graphical means. The major consists of a combination of courses selected from astronomy, chemistry, physical geography, geology, and physics.

This Physical Science Program is designed to confer an Associate in Science in Physical Science degree upon successful completion of all requirements.

Earnings Potential

An associate degree in physical science offers you the salary potential of $23,819 two years after graduation from Taft College, with expected increases to $45,082 by five years, based on five-year studies of graduates by California Community Colleges.  These do not reflect salaries with a four-year degree.1

Careers are in a wide range of fields and include environmental science and protection technician positions, among others. This technician position typically requires an associate degree, and the median annual wage is $47,370, with projected job growth of six percent from 2021 to 2031. About 4,000 openings for environmental science and protection technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2

Additional career options include resource engineer, surveyor, urban planner, field geologist, environmental scientist, ecologist, biologist, and science teacher, among others. These options typically require a minimum of a four-year degree.  The median annual wage is $84,030 for hydrologists; $83,680 for geoscientists; $61,600 for surveyors; $61,820 for high school teachers; $78,500 for urban and regional planners; and $76,530 for environmental scientists and specialists, according to the BLS. Despite limited employment growth, the BLS projects about 3,800 openings for surveyors and 600 openings for hydrologists each year, on average, over the decade. For the other careers highlighted, job growth projections are between four and six percent, indicating much higher numbers of new positions. For example, over the decade, about 77,900 openings for high school teachers, in general, are projected each year.3

1 California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Salary Surfer. 2021. Accessed 19 April 2023.

2 “Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 8 Sept. 2022. Accessed 19 April 2023.

3 “Occupational Outlook Handbook.” 8 Sept. 2022.

Program Requirements

To earn an Associate in Science in Physical Science, students must complete: (1) all course requirements with a minimum grade of “C” in each course; and (2) complete General Education Graduation Requirements with an overall GPA of 2.0 or better.

See the degree requirements in the Taft College Catalog.  Please note: This links to an external website. 

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Physical Science major, a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the safe and correct operating procedures in the use and treatment of common laboratory equipment and materials.
  2. Employ the scientific method by proposing hypotheses based on observations, testing the hypotheses, critically analyzing experimental data, and formulating conclusions based on the experimental data.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in physical science computations.
  4. Employ evidence-based reasoning when analyzing information in the completion of non-computational physical science problems.

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