Methodologies for All of College Factual’s Top Schools by Major

Explore top undergrad schools for various fields of study with the 2015 College Factual Top Schools by Major rankings. For each field of study (i.e. Engineering) and each specific major within that field of study (i.e. Chemical Engineering), you will find a collection of rankings geared towards helping students identify the school that is the right fit for them.

To get started, select a field of study or browse through some of the more popular majors.  To be clear, our current rankings (and site for that matter), focus exclusively on 4-year colleges and on the bachelors degrees they offer.  We will be expanding this to 2-year and graduate programs soon, so stay tuned.

We have a number of different ways we rank schools:

To understand how each of our current ranking factors are calculated and our reasoning for using them, please review the information below. Or click on one of the links above to go straight to the information that interests you.

Overall Top Ranked by Major

For an overview of our Top Colleges ranking by major, please see A Summary of Our Rankings by Major: The Quick Version.

Top Online Schools

This ranking shows colleges that offer an online degree in the specific major of interest. The colleges are ranked by the same criteria as the top ranked schools by major, but this list only shows majors that are available online.

Highest Paid Grads

The Highest Paid Grads ranking highlights the colleges and universities that offer a degree most likely to lead to a large salary. To provide this information, we have partnered with to identify average starting and mid-career salaries for each field of study and individual major at top schools across the country.

Each college that offers programs in a particular field is compared and ranked based on an average of the starting salaries and mid-career salaries of their graduates from that particular field of study or major.  

To be absolutely clear here, rankings are based on earnings for students at the college in that particular major, not just an overall average earnings for graduates from the school as a whole.

Check out the rankings for colleges with the highest paid grads in the business, management and marketing area for an example.

Best Value by Major

These best value rankings are a sub-set of College Factual's overall Best Colleges for the Money rankings and are designed to help highlight colleges that deliver a great bang for the educational buck. For each major, the overall rankings are compiled and then limited to just those schools offering that particular major.  This ranking is not driven by the major specific rankings above and is simply meant to show you the great value colleges that offer a major.

See the best value colleges offering degrees in education for an example of this ranking sub-set.

Most Popular

These rankings identify the schools that graduate the most students in each major.  A school with too few students in a particular major runs the risk of being underfunded.  A larger number of students studying a particular major at a school can be a sign that a program will have greater resources and that it is in demand by consumers (students).  A larger class also has the benefits of a larger alumni network that a student can tap in their specific field upon graduation.

For this calculation, the latest graduation numbers are used per the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

To see this in action, visit most popular colleges for economics.

Popular Online Colleges

These rankings identify online programs with the most graduates. They are not necessarily ranked in order of quality, simply the popularity of the online degree.

Most Focused

This a ranking of the schools where the largest percentage of students has enrolled in the specific major you are seeking. (For example: 90% of the students here are enrolled in the Nursing program).

We include this measurement because: 

(a) the percentage of students at a school in a particular major is a proxy for how many resources are allocated to that field of study, and

(b) the presence of a larger percentage of other students in a major provides a student with the opportunity to study alongside a larger number of students that share their same interests.  

There are plenty of large universities that offer a great variety of majors in various fields of study, which can be beneficial for those students that do not yet know what they wish to study.

However, if you're certain you want to study a particular major it can be to your benefit to choose a school that is highly focused on that particular major. You are likely to get teachers with deeper expertise,  more resources devoted to your subject of study, and more opportunities in your field. 

For this calculation, the latest graduation and overall enrollment numbers are used per the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Check out the most focused colleges for engineering for an example of these rankings.

Best for Veterans

This ranking identifies colleges that rank highly in the chosen major, as well as rank highly for veteran support. To come up with this ranking we combined our Best for Vets ranking with the Ranking by Major. We excluded schools that ranked too low in either category to make sure this list only includes schools that are both a good choice for veterans, and a good choice for the major.


Which Ranking is the Best?

As you can see, there are many different ways to rank schools depending on your interest. The best one for you will depend on your own needs and wants. Start by browsing some of our many rankings, and then flag colleges of interest to add to your notebook. At that point you can create your own custom ranking to truly personalize your search.

More Information

For more information on our rankings by major, please take a look at some of the following additional resources.