​Several CSU campuses are recognized as being among the nation’s highest awarders of physics degrees by the American Physical Society (APS), especially to women and underrepresented minorities.

The APS, a nonprofit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics, recently released rankings that analyzed all U.S. higher education institutions that grant physics degrees, ranking them by number of degrees granted. The rankings separate schools by highest degree in physics awarded: bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees. 

Among master’s and bachelor’s degree granting institutions, 12 CSU campuses achieved top 20 rankings in various categories, including in granting the most undergraduate degrees in physics overall and most undergraduate physics degrees awarded to women and underrepresented minorities. 

Most notably, among physics bachelor’s degree granting institutions awarding the most undergraduate degrees to underrepresented minorities, four CSU campuses rank in the nation’s top 20. The campuses included, listed in ranking order, are: Pomona, San Bernardino, San Marcos and Dominguez Hills. 

Among physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to underrepresented minorities, six CSU campuses rank in the nation’s top 20. The campuses included, listed in ranking order, are: Long Beach, San Francisco, Fullerton, San Diego, and San José. 

Initiatives and Partnerships Increase Participation of Minorities in STEM

The APS rankings reflect the CSU’s commitment to diversifying STEM fields by supporting underrepresented groups pursuing their education in STEM. These efforts are also integral to closing achievement gaps between underrepresented minorities and their peers, a key goal of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025

Galen Pickett, Ph.D., a physics professor at California State University, Long Beach—which is ranked number one in granting undergraduate physics degrees to women among master’s degree granting institutions—says the recognition from APS is linked to years of dedication by the CSU to encourage underserved students to pursue careers in STEM fields. 

“The CSU is making good on its promise to extend opportunities in STEM education to underserved students, who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields,” Dr. Pickett says. “At CSU Long Beach, we make a great effort to show students from these groups potential STEM career paths they may not even be aware are open to them and holistically support their aspirations.” 
 
Thirteen CSU campuses are part of the APS’s Physics Teacher Education Program (PhysTEC), which aims to improve the education of future physics teachers, help address the teacher shortage and increase the diversity of the physics teacher workforce. The CSU campuses partnering with PhysTEC are Chico, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Pomona, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San José, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and San Marcos. 

The program creates a physics teacher pipeline, funneling diverse, quality physics teacher candidates into high-need schools with the long-term goal of encouraging more high school students to pursue careers in physics. 

CSU campuses are also part of a state-wide initiative, along with the University of California (UC) and California Community Colleges (CCC), to increase the number of women and minorities in physics through the Cal-Bridge program. 

Cal-Bridge identifies CSU students from underrepresented groups who display strong academic potential and provides them with the necessary support to successfully matriculate to a Ph.D. program. The program began at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona four years ago, and has since expanded to include 16 CSU campuses, nine UCs and more than 40 CCCs. 

To learn more about how the CSU is working to extend opportunities in STEM to underrepresented groups, visit our page for STEM Engaged Learning. ​

Rankings from the American Physical Society (APS)

CSU campuses among the physics bachelor’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees overall:
San Luis Obispo (2)
Pomona (4)

CSU campuses among the physics bachelor’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to underrepresented minorities:
Pomona (2)
San Bernardino (3)
San Marcos (6)
Dominguez Hills (11)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees overall:
Long Beach (1)
San Francisco State (7)
Fullerton (14)
San Diego (15)
San José (16)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to underrepresented minorities:
Long Beach (2)
Fullerton (6)
Northridge 8)
San Diego (11)
San Francisco (13)
San José (16)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of master’s degrees in physics overall:
Long Beach (2)
San Francisco (11)
San José (16)
Northridge (17)
Fullerton (19)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of master’s degrees in physics to underrepresented minorities:
Long Beach (1)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to women:
Long Beach (1)
San Francisco (7)
San José (16)
Fullerton (17)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of master’s degrees in physics to women:
Los Angeles (5)
Long Beach (7)
San Diego (14)

CSU campuses among all institutions granting the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to Hispanics:
Long Beach (3)
San Bernardino (10)​