Net Worth Series

Veritasium’s Net Worth: How a PhD Student Went From Physics To Film

Turning two interests into one solid career

Team Nas Academy

01 Sep · 5 mins read

Physics and film might seem like two completely different industries. After all, one is artistic and the other is scientific – but Veritasium has shown us otherwise. This YouTuber has proved the arts and sciences can be successfully combined to educate others and create a well-balanced career, all while making you millions. As one of the top science video creators on the internet, Veritasium’s net worth is estimated to be $8.5 million.

Veritasium’s Net Worth: $8.5 MILLION


Veritasium smiling

Who Is Veritasium?

Veritasium is a physics education YouTube channel run by Dr. Derek Muller, a 38-year-old filmmaker with a PhD in physics education research. Derek Miller is an Australian-Canadian filmmaker, TV personality, YouTuber, and physics specialist who is now based in Los Angeles, California.

He was born in Australia, grew up in Vancouver, and after studying Engineering at Queen’s University in Ontario (with a full scholarship), he went on to complete his PhD in physics in his country of birth, Australia.

But while he was always an expert in the sciences – the “creation” side of his job was a different story.

Derek had always been interested in the “magic” of science, but he could never deny his passion for filmmaking. Although the only experience he had in film was through making videos with his friends in University, he still managed to combine his passion for education and video production to build a multi-million dollar brand, and an incredible net worth.

In 2011, Derek Muller began the Veritasium YouTube channel. From creating beginner-friendly videos about physics and science, he has collected over 9.93 million subscribers. He has also collaborated with many other, well-known YouTube educators and has placed himself on the list of top science video creators online.

How Did Veritasium Find Success?

Derek Muller never wanted to be an engineer or physics expert, he wanted to be a filmmaker. But he also knew there was no certainty or straightforward path to that career; meanwhile, in math, there was. YouTube didn’t exist at this time, and there weren’t as many accessible resources to create videos. So, Derek stuck with his natural talent and fascination in the sciences, and he took the safe route to engineering.

But even while he was studying sciences, he still couldn’t shake his interest in video.

That’s why after graduating from Queen’s University in 2004, Derek went to Sydney with the intention of applying to film school. But alas, he ended up pursuing a PhD in physics instead.

It was here that he learned how much he admired learning, and how much he found an interest in teaching others through tutoring. And eventually, that turned into teaching others online through video – and this is how Veritasium was born.

Veritasium Infographic

Veritasium’s channel has found success in the industry primarily because he first pursued what he was good at, and then used his passion to combine the two into a career.

This is the great advantage of the creator economy – content creation doesn’t require a formal education like other fields do. There are so many resources just like we have here, at Nas Academy, that are far more accessible to help you get started in doing what you love, just like Derek did.

Once he knew what he wanted to do, Derek still tried to pursue film school after his PhD, but never got in.

So, he kept creating videos on his own – even though he admits he wasn’t very good at it.

He started out like any other amateur content creator: stiff, slow in pace, uninteresting, and unengaging.

But after years of sticking with it, he started to improve. And by 28 years old, Derek quit his job to pursue YouTube full time.

So why has Veritasium’s net worth grown to such great heights? How did a PhD student with a rigidly scientific background and no real experience in video, become a filmmaker that millions of people look up to?

Because Derek found an opportunity to teach what he learned, and he kept with it.

A key element to his success was learning how to educate in a way that people with no interest or background in science could understand. He needed to teach in the same accessible way that Nas Academy tries to do every day. Education is something that should transcend all barriers, and Derek knew this too.

He made his videos visual, simple, and conversational. He interacts with his audience, learns their needs and responds. He doesn’t assume. He asks.

And because of this, especially over the past few years, Veritasium has seen a decently steady growth of about 1-2 million subscribers per year. And as his subscribers grow, so does his monthly view count.

Veritasium Net Worth and Income Sources

The ad revenue that is generated through the Veritasium YouTube channel is Derek’s primary source of income, and is the main contributor to his net worth of 8.5 million. He also generates a side income through TV hosting and consulting gigs that he’s done for shows like ABC’s Catalyst, back in 2008, Bill Nye Saves the World, documentaries like Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, and most recently in 2018: Vitaminia: The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins.

Veritasium On Scene

Derek also has a patreon account with just over 4,100 patrons donating on a monthly basis, ranging anywhere between $1-$42 a month to support his channel. This could bring him anywhere from $6,171-$39,083 each month, or $74,053-$2,724,936 per year.

In October 2020, Veritasium’s net worth was estimated to be at $5 million, where he was believed to be generating a monthly income of $50,000. All of this was based primarily on Veritasium’s YouTube ad revenue.

Derek has hosted science fairs, made guest appearances on shows, presented alongside other notable names in the industry like Neil DeGrass Tyson, and does other speaking engagements as well. Although unknown, these small jobs will also contribute slightly to his overall annual revenue.

As for social media, Derek Muller remains decently active on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, but these channels only have a collective following of a few hundred thousand people. They probably don’t contribute much to Veritasium’s net worth or monthly revenue compared to YouTube, but his occasional Instagram brand deals would help.

While income through brand deals depends on many factors, a common estimate is that you can generate about $100 per 10,000 followers on Instagram. This would allow Veritasium to generate about $1,900 per sponsored post on Instagram.

While Veritasium’s net worth is at an estimated $8.5 million in 2021, it seems plausible that he could potentially be worth upwards of $12 million when taking into account other sources of income outside of YouTube. But the more that Derek creates and builds expertise in these educational spaces, the more opportunities he’s going to land for teaching accessible science education.

And as these opportunities grow, so will his net worth.

How Did Veritasium Get Here?

Veritasium’s net worth story is proof that if you are passionate about a specific industry, you can turn it into a living. Especially with today’s resources, you are arguably at the best time to try and turn your dreams into reality.

Derek has expanded his science degree and revenue into the TV and film industry, as he had always wanted to do. With the creator economy and his approach to learning based content, he was ultimately able to explore his creative passions through using the expertise he built in a different area. He turned two different fields into one, solid career.

Derek was tired of misinformation and wanted to help educate the public better on physics, and he found a way of doing it that was accessible, and fulfilling. Veritasium’s net worth and overall success has shown that you can take the skills you already have, and bring it into the creator space, regardless of what experience or resources you have.

Veritasium showing something

He stuck to his creative drive and his mission to “help people not fool themselves,” and he found a way of filling a gap in the industry. But most importantly, he made a decision at the age of 28, to stop taking the practical, safe route. And instead, he pursued both of his interests and combined them to build a satisfying career. One where he is always following what he knows to be true – true to his passion, and true to his mission.

After all, the “veritas” in Veritasium is a Latin phrase meaning: “truth is mighty and will prevail.”

Veritasium and Online Education

Derek Muller has proven to be an effective teacher online, and is the perfect example of a successful creator taking full advantage of all the creator economy has to offer. Although his revenue already comes from education-based content, Derek could significantly boost his income and increase Veritasium’s net worth by turning his knowledge into a structured learning experience.

Since gaining over 4,000 contributors on patreon, opening up a paid course would most likely be extremely well-received among his audience. Through his past experience tutoring and developing lessons for YouTube, Derek already has the skills and abilities to create a powerful online course. He could share his perspectives on how film connects with science or even teach other creators how to take formal, academic education and turn it into accessible content for people everywhere.

It’s clear that Derek believes that interacting with audiences, asking questions, and starting discussions is the best way to teach science to the public and combat issues of misinformation. Opening up a cohort-based, interactive learning experience would be a great next step, and would help him accomplish that mission perfectly – all while gaining 6 figures, if not millions, in extra revenue. Online teaching is an amazing next step for any content creator, especially one who is already in the education sphere, to help significantly increase their net worth and presence online.

Becoming a teacher, and making your knowledge accessible to the world can be the most amazing asset to yourself, as well as for everybody around you – and because of Derek, we know this to be true.

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