We offer many different ways to rank colleges offering a particular major. Many of these look at these colleges from a single dimension (i.e. graduate earnings, the number of students, etc.). For more information on all of these rankings, see our Overview of College Factual’s Top Schools by Major.
This article will give a brief overview of the much more comprehensive “Top Ranked” colleges for each major. This ranking attempts to identify the best overall colleges for each major by looking at a combination of ten different factors. For the full detailed methodology, please see our Top Colleges by Major Full Methodology.
Rankings by Major
The table below outlines the factors used to calculate the current ranking by major. A "major" in this case is something like Electrical Engineering. Our rankings by Field of Study, which represent a collection of majors (ie. Engineering), is primarily an aggregate of the rankings of each major in that Field of Study and are explained more further below.
Factor Weighting Description
Early-Career Salary: Average salary of bachelor's degree graduates from the college in that major with 0-5 years of experience.
Mid-Career Salary: Average salary of bachelor's degree graduates from the college in that major with 10+ years of experience.
Major Focus %: Percentage of students at the college studying that major.
Bachelor's Degree Market Share: Percentage of all U.S. bachelor's degree graduates in that major represented at that college.
Masters Degree Market Share: Percentage of all U.S. master's degree graduates in that major represented at that college.
Doctoral Degree Market Share: Percentage of all U.S. doctoral degree graduates in that major represented at that college.
Related Major Concentration
Related Major Focus (mPower Index): Measure of how much all the other majors at the college are related to the major.
Related Major Breadth: Number of closely related majors offered at the college.
Relevant Program Specific Accreditation: Whether or not the major is accredited by a relevant accrediting body (ie. ABET for engineering). If no obvious accrediting body for a major, this factor is ignored for that major's rankings.
Overall College Quality
Best Colleges Ranking: The College Factual Best Colleges Ranking, a measure of overall college quality.
Rankings by Field of Study
In addition to our rankings by major, we also rank programs by field of study, which is a broader category that will house several majors in it. For example, the bachelor's of study Engineering includes such majors as Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, etc.
The methodology for this ranking is slightly different, although it relies significantly on the Rankings by Major. The three main metrics are:
Factor Weighting Description
Average of Rankings by Major: The average Ranking by Major of majors in that field of study at the college, weighted by the number of students in each major.
Wealth of Majors: The number of majors in that field of study the college offers.
Percent Focus: The percentage of the student body made up of students in that field of study.
How Our Rankings are Different
Most rankings by major are based almost completely on subjective survey data. Survey-based rankings can be useful in providing insight into industry opinion on certain schools and programs.
However, there are weaknesses to this format. For one, there is no way even the most expert of industry insiders could possibly know and accurately rank all the different programs available. The results can be more of a popularity contest than a researched, objective list.
Our ranking is based on more Bachelor's data and includes a lot of metrics that are outcomes based (i.e. can these students actually make a living after graduation?) We believe this makes our rankings stronger in many areas. One of our strengths is that we can rank many more colleges, and many more majors, than your typical ranking site.
However, there are some weaknesses to our rankings as well: one of which is that new or smaller schools may be overlooked because they cannot possibly graduate as many students as master's schools.
There are also some schools well-known for their programs that are currently not ranked in our system due to insufficient data, a problem we are working on rectifying.
We are constantly working to improve our ranking system. Stay tuned for future updates.
Please check out some of the following articles for more information on our Rankings by Major