All Starfield skills: How to upgrade, skill tree, more

Aakrit Sharma
Starfield character during dialogue

Starfield lets players choose from a collection of over 80 skills that can be used to upgrade and boost areas like dialogue, exploration, combat, and other things. To help you build your character, here’s a list of all Starfield skills, their effect, and how to upgrade them.

Starfield is finally here, and following years of anticipation, players can finally dive deep into Bethesda’s new universe. From thousands of planets to four companions with detailed backgrounds, the game has enough content to keep you engaged for hundreds of hours.

While playing Starfield, you’re guaranteed to spend some time building your character as there are a ton of skills that you can learn, upgrade, and use. Also, Bethesda has added a unique skill tree for players to unlock better skills as they progress.

On that note, let’s look at all the skills available in Starfield.

Starfield character exploring a planet
Skills can improve on your ability to explore new and uncharted planets.

How many skills are there in Starfield?

There are 82 total skills in Starfield and they are split into the following five categories:

  • Combat
  • Physical
  • Science
  • Social
  • Tech

As you level up in Starfield, you’ll gain skill points that can be spent on the skill tree to unlock new skills. Every skill in the game also has four ranks and we’ll explain how to climb these ranks below.

All Starfield skills

You’ll find every Starfield skill in the tables below alongside its category, effect, and tier:

Physical skills

Starfield skillCategorySkill tierEffect
WellnessPhysical1 Increases max HP
Weight LiftingPhysical1Increases carry capacity
StealthPhysical1More sneak attack DMG
BoxingPhysical1Unarmed attacks do more DMG
FitnessPhysical1You have more oxygen available.
Pain TolerancePhysical2Physical Damage is reduced.
 NutritionPhysical2Food and Drink are more effective.
GymnasticsPhysical2Unlock new movement-based abilities.
Environmental ConditioningPhysical2Resistance to environmental damage.
Energy Weapon DissipationPhysical2Energy damage reduction.
Martial ArtsPhysical3 Reduces oxygen consumption for unarmed attacks
Cellular RegenerationPhysical3Increased chance to recover from injuries naturally.
NeurostrikesPhysical4 Boosts unarmed Crit DMG
ConcealmentPhysical4Makes it harder to detect you while sneaking
RejuvenationPhysical4Health regeneration outside of combat.

Science skills

Starfield skillCategorySkill tierEffect
MedicineScience1Increases healing from med packs
SurveyingScience1Adds the ability to zoom to the hand scanner.
GeologyScience1Increases scan speed for ores
AstrodynamicsScience1Fuel to gravity jump costs less
BotanyScience2 Increases scan speed for flora
ScanningScience2Players can detect uncommon inorganic resources.
Spacesuit DesignScience2You can craft upgrades for your spacesuit.
Weapon EngineeringScience2The player can craft improved weapon mods.
ZoologyScience2More uncommon resources dropped from creatures.
Outpost EngineeringScience3You can build advanced outpost modules
ChemistryScience3Helps you craft better chemicals
AstrophysicsScience3Increased trait chance when scanning moons
Special ProjectsScience3Reseach and craft rare components.
Planetary HabitationScience3You can build outposts on planets under harsh conditions.
Aneutronic FusionScience3Ship reactors produce extra units of power.

Social skills

Starfield SkillCategorySkillEffect
TheftSocial1Pick-pocketing success chance increases
ScavengingSocial1Increases credit drops
PersuasionSocial1Boosts success chance for speech challenges
GastronomySocial1Lets you craft specialty food and drinks
CommerceSocial1Lets you build better outposts
IntimidationSocial2NPCs can flee from you temporarily
DiplomacySocial2NPCs won’t attack you temporarily
NegotiationSocial2Grants access to Bribery in speech challenges.
IsolationSocial2Increases weapon damage and damage resistance when you don’t have a crew.
BargainingSocial2Increases selling price and decrease purchasing cost of items
Outpost managementSocial3Lets you build trade routes between outposts
InstigationSocial3NPCs can attack their allies.
LeadershipSocial3Companions gain affinity more quickly.
XenosociologySocial4An NPC bids for you temporarily
ManipulationSocial4NPC obey your commands temporarily
Ship ControlSocial 4You have up to four crew members.

Combat skills

Starfield SkillCategoryTierEffect
BallisticsCombat1More Ballistic weapon DMG
DuelingCombat1Increases melee weapon DMG
LasersCombat1Increases laser weapon DMG
Pistol CertificationCombat1Increases pistol DMG
Shotgun CertificationCombat1Increases shotgun weapon DMG
DemolitionsCombat2Increases explosive DMG and area of impact
Heavy Weapon CertificationCombat2Increases heavy weapon DMG
Particle BeamsCombat2Increases particle weapon DMG
IncapacitationCombat2EM weapons do 5% more damage.
Rifle CertificationCombat2Increases Rifle DMG
MarksmanshipCombat3Increases Marksman weapon DMG
Rapid ReloadingCombat3Weapons reload faster
Sniper CertificationCombat3Scoped weapon sway reduced
TargetingCombat3Increased hip fire accuracy and range
Armor PenetrationCombat 4Ignores target armor to some level
CripplingCombat 4Human enemies enter a downed stage after taking enough damage.
SharpshootingCombat 4Increases headshot critical damage from ranged weapons

Tech skills

Starfield SkillCategoryTierEffect
Ballistic Weapons SystemsTech1Increases ship’s Ballistic DMG
Boost Pack TrainingTech1More Boost Jump height
PilotingTech1Increases ship speed
SecurityTech1Lets you hack advanced locks
Targeting Control SystemsTech1Lets you target subsystems in enemy ships
PayloadsTech2More ship cargo capacity
Energy Weapons SystemsTech2Energy ship weapons deal more damage and cost less
Engine SystemsTech2Increases ship’s top speed
Shield SystemsTech2Increases ship’s shield capacity.
Missile Weapon systemTech3Increases ship Missile DMG
Particle Beam weapon systemTech3Increases ship particle beam DMG
RoboticsTech3Increases damage to Robots and Turrets
Starship DesignTech3Unlocks more pre-built modules for ships
Starship EngineeringTech3Unlocks more custom modules for ship
Automated Weapon SystemsTech 4Boost Assault Training
Boost Assault TrainingTech 4Grants abilities when you boost.
EM Weapons SystemsTech4EM ship weapons deal more damage and cost less.

How to upgrade skills in Starfield

You can upgrade skills in Starfield by completing objectives related to the skill itself. For instance, you can increase the rank of the Stealth skill in Starfield by completing the following challenges:

  • Rank 1: Perform ten sneak attacks – adds a stealth meter and you are 25% more difficult to detect while sneaking.
  • Rank 2: Perform 20 sneak attacks – upgrades the stealth meter and you are 50% more difficult to detect while sneaking.

Similarly, there are tougher but more rewarding challenges to help you reach higher skill ranks.

Starfield character on a planet
Starfield’s combat skills can help you out against foes.

Starfield skill tree explained

Starfield has five skill trees for Tech, Combat, Social, Science, and Physical skills. Every skill tree has four tiers called Novice (tier 1), Advanced (tier 2), Expert (tier 3), and Master (tier 4), and there’s a fixed number of skills available in every tier. Leveling up grants skill points (1 skill point/level) and you can use them to unlock skills.

To unlock higher skill tiers in Starfield’s skill tree, you must spend a certain number of skill points in the previous skill tier. For example, to unlock the EM Weapons System skill in tier 4 of the Tech skill tree, you must spend a certain number of skill points in tiers 1, 2, and 3.

Apart from the skill tree, you get three starting skills based on the background of your character to start your journey.

Well, this was everything to know about the skills and skill trees in Starfield. For more content on the ARPG, check out:

Does Starfield have multiplayer or co-op? | Does Starfield have mod support at launch? | Does Starfield have New Game Plus? | Is Starfield on Steam Deck? | Will Starfield have DLC & story expansions? | Starfield Outposts explained: How to build bases | Every religion in Starfield explained | Starfield plants explained: All types & how to scan | Who is the Adoring Fan in Starfield? | Starfield jail system explained

About The Author

Aakrit is a games writer with over 2000 published articles for EssentiallySports, Sportskeeda, FortniteINTEL, and CharlieINTEL. Currently, he writes guides on Minecraft, Roblox, Pokemon games, Genshin Impact, and Brawlhalla. Aakrit loves playing shooter games and in his free time, you can find him queued up in Valorant, Fortnite, Apex Legends, or Halo Infinite. You can contact Aakrit at [email protected].