Mar 04, 2024  
2013-2015 Catalog 
2013-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Science, AA

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The Career

The career of a physical scientist is geared toward those students who are fascinated by the way natural systems impact their daily lives and want to have a greater understanding of these systems. Physical science is the study of multiple scientific areas including geology, meteorology, chemistry, materials science and astronomy.

ECC students who complete their associate degree in physical science are prepared to enter an undergraduate major leading to training in these areas. Although a bachelor’s or master’s degree is necessary to be a physical scientist, the ECC program provides students with strong foundational skills to pursue these advanced degrees and their chosen career.

Professional Traits

Those choosing employment in this field should:

  • Have an aptitude for math and science
  • Be able to analyze, compare and interpret facts and figures quickly
  • Clearly communicate the results of their work to clients and managers both verbally and in writing
  • Be good at working with people, business systems and computers

Employment And Salary Information

The study of science in school appears to be dropping in the U.S. Consequently, there is currently a large demand for qualified candidates to fill physical science positions ranging from technicians to research scientists.

In 2011, median wage and salary earnings* were:

Chemistry: $74,780
Physics: $112,090
Astronomy: $101,630
Hydrology: $79,070
Atmospheric/Space Sciences: $90,860
All Other Physical Sciences: $96,290

* Data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Program

This curriculum is intended for students planning to transfer to a four-year institution. Students at East Central College who express an interest in physical science have several course options and electives available. Assuming appropriate placement scores, physical science is a two-year degree, with flexibility to customize the program of study toward the student’s chosen career.

The program consists of the 43-credit hour general education core required of all transfer degrees plus the necessary electives in chemistry, physics, environmental science and more. In addition, the college provides various student activities and organizations related to the discipline–such as the Green Falcons–and practicum experiences.

It is helpful if students pursuing the physical science degree make early contact with a transfer institution in planning their program of study. They may wish to choose electives based on that institution’s criteria.

Admission Requirements

Students must have completed:

  • High school diploma or the equivalent (documentation sent to the registration office)
  • Application for admission
  • A placement test as specified by the college (please note: some coursework requires minimum placement results)

Transfer Options

Many of the credits, particularly the general education electives earned with this degree, are accepted as transfer credits by four-year colleges and/or universities. Please note that transferring credit is decided by the bachelor degree-granting institution. Students seeking to transfer are advised to contact the four-year institutions regarding the transferability of the credits and coursework offered through East Central College.


East Central College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2400
Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504


Program Faculty

Barry Bookout, Ph.D.

Isaiah Kellogg, Ph.D.

Division Chair

Ann Boehmer


Mathematics and Physical Science

Program of Study

This is a program of study for a full-time student. Part-time study is available. Please see your advisor for course options. Course schedule is subject to change. Please review the online college schedule at for the most current offerings.

Year 1

Year 2

Fall Semester

Total Semester Hours 17

Spring Semester

Total Semester Hours 14

AA program (67 credit hours)

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