University Rankings by Subject or Major

Most college ranking sites rank institutions of higher education nationally.

Some, such as US News, also rank them regionally.

It’s not uncommon for many college rankers to rank schools based on their type, too — private, public, liberal arts, graduate, or online.

Definitely, there are various ways to rank colleges.

However, not many college rankings sites rank colleges by subject or major.

According to Forbes, it makes more sense for colleges to be ranked based on majors as far as social mobility goes because it allows students to have an idea of how they could do financially after graduation.

It’s a good thing, though, that many of those who rank schools by major are some of the most reliable and thus tend to get more traffic than most others, most especially when the college application season nears.

Some ranking sites that rank colleges by subjects or majors are the following:

  • Niche
  • Times Higher Education (THE)
  • US News

Lists vs. Rankings

It’s worth noting that some other college ranking sites also focus on majors offered by colleges and universities.

However, their listings are more lists rather than rankings — they simply provide a rundown of, say, colleges with the best journalism, religious studies, kinesiology or sports management majors.

One of those is Appily, which created Cappex in 2006.

As of this writing, it has almost 50 lists of best colleges by major, ranging from accounting, international studies to theater and from pharmacy, architecture to cosmetology.

Let’s take a look at how the website’s Best Culinary Schools list looks:

  • Cornell University
  • University of Florida
  • New York University
  • University of California, Davis
  • College of the Ozarks
  • California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • University of Washington – Seattle
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Maryland – College Park
  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh
  • Ohio State University – Main Campus
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  • Chapman University
  • Purdue University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign
  • University of Central Florida
  • Clemson University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Simmons University
  • University of Delaware
  • Benedictine University
  • Rutgers University – New Brunswick
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • University of Alabama
  • Bay Path University
  • Michigan State University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Drexel University
  • Lipscomb University
  • Saint Francis University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Auburn University
  • Texas Tech University
  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Washington State University
  • Dominican University
  • University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Appalachian State University
  • Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
  • Oregon State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • California State University – Los Angeles
  • University of Arkansas
  • Colorado State University

The listings of Appily, by the way, also include information such as the type of institution and campus, number of attendees, net price, acceptance rate and the average SAT and ACT scores of admitted students.

Another college ranking site that provides listings of postsecondary institutions based on the majors they offer is College Simply, which provides tools such as a GPA calculator, college search, college comparison and college building.

Like Appily, College Simply also has a list of schools with the best culinary arts major.

Below, you will come across the Best Colleges With Culinary Arts/Chef Training Degrees in listing by College Simply.

Please take note that it only includes a fraction of the entries as there are a total of 249 colleges included.

  • Drexel University
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Montana
  • SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill
  • Nicholls State University
  • University of Akron Main Campus
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Boise State University
  • Keystone College
  • George C. Wallace State Community College
  • JF Drake State Technical College
  • Shelton State Community College
  • H Councill Trenholm State Technical College
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Arizona Western College
  • Cochise College
  • Mesa Community College
  • Mohave Community College
  • Phoenix College
  • Scottsdale Community College
  • Ozarka College
  • Pulaski Technical College
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • Red Rocks Community College
  • Manchester Community College
  • Delaware Technical and Community College – Terry
  • Daytona State College
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • AI Miami International University of Art and Design
  • Lincoln College of Technology – West Palm Beach
  • Valencia College
  • Albany Technical College
  • Atlanta Technical College
  • Augusta Technical College

Niche vs. THE vs. US News

Before we check out how different college rankings based on subjects or majors could appear from one ranking site to the other, let’s first take a quick look at the websites whose rankings we will compare.


Formerly known as College Prowler, Niche is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company that ranks and reviews colleges.

It was back in 2002 when it was founded by a couple of students from Carnegie Mellon University.

According to its website, Niche has more than 200,000 in-depth profiles on schools (including K-12, colleges and graduate schools), companies and neighborhoods as well as 100 million plus ratings and reviews from actual people.

It adds that over 50 million people used its website in the past year.

Various factors are considered by Niche in ranking colleges based on major.

Similarly, it obtains figures from various sources, such as the US Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, in scoring schools.

Here’s what Niche’s methodology looks like:

Overall Niche Grade36.80%
Percent of majoring students19.10%
Major demand13.50%
Student surveys10.50%
Research expenditures per student7.70%
Percent of graduates7.70%
Research expenditures for the program4.70%


In the past, THE was popular for publishing the Times Higher Education – QS World University Rankings annually.

In 2009, however, it parted ways with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Unlike most other college ranking sites that are popular among American students, THE ranks institutions of higher education on the global stage, which makes it great for both domestic and international degree-seekers.

Some of its rankings include global, regional, teaching and by subject.

Unlike Niche, which uses the same methodology for ranking each major offered by different colleges and universities, THE recalibrates its ranking methodology by changing each benchmark’s weight to suit each subject.

The following is what THE’s methodology looks like for psychology and computer science:

FactorPsychology WeightComputer Science Weight
Research environment26.50%29.00%
Research quality35.20%27.50%
International outlook7.50%7.50%
Industry (income, etc.)4.00%8.00%

US News

In the late 1940s, two weekly publications, one a domestic newspaper (US News) and the other an international magazine (World Report), merged and resulted in the US News & World Report.

According to the college site, it’s visited by around 40 million people.

The popular college ranker adds that, annually, it publishes the rankings of more than 11,500 academic institutions as well as hundreds of individual programs as a part of the Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools and other listings.

Unlike Niche and THE, which uses proprietary methodologies, US News ranks colleges by major based mostly on the opinions of deans and senior faculty members of academic departments at schools that participate in a peer assessment survey.

The said individuals rate each program from eligible institutions using a 5-point scale: 5 for outstanding, 4 for strong, 3 for good, 2 for adequate and 1 for marginal.

Similarly, for institutions to be surveyed, they must meet certain criteria set by US News.

For instance, for the college ranking site’s Best Computer Science Programs listing, colleges must be regionally accredited and offer a computer science program that’s accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Rankings by Subject or Major

In this part of the post, we’ll take a look at how the rankings of colleges according to subject or major offered tend to change from one college ranker to the other — Niche, THE and US News.

There are more than 100 majors out there, and we’ll focus on four of the most popular.


NicheTHEUS News
1University of PennsylvaniaMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Pennsylvania
2Georgetown UniversityStanford UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
3University of Southern CaliforniaHarvard UniversityUniversity of California, Berkeley
4Cornell UniversityUniversity of California, BerkeleyUniversity of Michigan – Ann Arbor
5University of GeorgiaUniversity of ChicagoNew York University
6Babson CollegeYale UniversityUniversity of Texas at Austin
7Carnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of PennsylvaniaCarnegie Mellon University
8Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyNorthwestern UniversityCornell University
9University of Michigan – Ann ArborColumbia UniversityIndiana University Bloomington
10University of Notre DameNew York UniversityUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
11University of Texas at AustinDuke UniversityUniversity of Southern California
12Florida State UniversityUniversity of California, Los AngelesUniversity of Virginia
13University of VirginiaCornell UniversityEmory University
14University of FloridaUniversity of Michigan – Ann ArborGeorgetown University
15Northwestern UniversityCarnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of Notre Dame
16Virginia TechUniversity of California, San DiegoWashington University in St. Louis
17Northeastern UniversityUniversity of MinnesotaOhio State University
18Florida International UniversityDartmouth CollegeUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
19Boston UniversityMichigan State UniversityUniversity of Washington
20University of MiamiUniversity of Southern CaliforniaUniversity of Wisconsin – Madison
21Rice UniversityUniversity of WashingtonGeorgia Institute of Technology
22New York UniversityUniversity of Texas at AustinUniversity of Minnesota
23Oklahoma State UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignMichigan State University
24Washington University in St. LouisUniversity of California, DavisPennsylvania State University
25Indiana University BloomingtonBoston UniversityUniversity of Georgia

Computer Science

NicheTHEUS News
1Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyStanford UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
2Stanford UniversityMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyStanford University
3Carnegie Mellon UniversityCarnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of California, Berkeley
4California Institute of TechnologyHarvard UniversityCarnegie Mellon University
5Harvard UniversityPrinceton UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
6Columbia UniversityUniversity of California, BerkeleyUniversity of Washington
7Princeton UniversityCalifornia Institute of TechnologyCornell University
8Georgia Institute of TechnologyCornell UniversityGeorgia Institute of Technology
9Yale UniversityUniversity of WashingtonPrinceton University
10Brown UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUniversity of Texas at Austin
11Cornell UniversityGeorgia Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Michigan – Ann Arbor
12Harvey Mudd CollegeYale UniversityUniversity of California, San Diego
13University of PennsylvaniaColumbia UniversityUniversity of Wisconsin – Madison
14Vanderbilt UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityCalifornia Institute of Technology
15Rice UniversityNew York UniversityColumbia University
16University of Michigan – Ann ArborUniversity of Texas at AustinUniversity of California, Los Angeles
17University of Southern CaliforniaUniversity of PennsylvaniaHarvard University
18Dartmouth CollegeUniversity of California, San DiegoUniversity of Maryland, College Park
19Duke UniversityUniversity of ChicagoUniversity of Pennsylvania
20University of ChicagoUniversity of Michigan – Ann ArborDuke University
21Northwestern UniversityUniversity of Maryland, College ParkPurdue University
22University of California, Los AngelesPurdue UniversityYale University
23University of Texas at AustinUniversity of MassachusettsJohns Hopkins University
24Northeastern UniversityDuke UniversityOhio State University
25University of California, BerkeleyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaUniversity of California, Santa Barbara


NicheTHEUS News
1Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyHarvard UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
2Stanford UniversityStanford UniversityStanford University
3Georgia Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyUniversity of California, Berkeley
4Rice UniversityUniversity of California, BerkeleyPurdue University
5Yale UniversityCaltechCarnegie Mellon University
6Harvard UniversityPrinceton UniversityGeorgia Institute of Technology
7California Institute of TechnologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyCalifornia Institute of Technology
8Princeton UniversityUniversity of California, Los AngelesUniversity of Michigan – Ann Arbor
9Columbia UniversityYale UniversityUniversity of Texas
10Carnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of Michigan – Ann ArborTexas A&M University
11University of Michigan – Ann ArborCarnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
12Duke UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUniversity of California, San Diego
13University of PennsylvaniaColumbia UniversityCornell University
14Vanderbilt UniversityCornell UniversityJohns Hopkins University
15Cornell UniversityUniversity of Texas at AustinUniversity of Southern California
16Dartmouth CollegeNorthwestern UniversityUniversity of California, Los Angeles
17University of Southern CaliforniaPurdue UniversityColumbia University
18Johns Hopkins UniversityUniversity of PennsylvaniaNorthwestern University
19University of Notre DameJohns Hopkins UniversityUniversity of Colorado – Boulder
20University of California, Los AngelesUniversity of California, San DiegoUniversity of Maryland, College Park
21University of Texas at AustinUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraUniversity of Pennsylvania
22University of California, BerkeleyUniversity of WashingtonDuke University
23Northwestern UniversityTexas A&M UniversityHarvard University
24University of FloridaDuke UniversityPrinceton University
25Harvey Mudd CollegeUniversity of Wisconsin – MadisonNorth Carolina State University


NicheTHEUS News
1Stanford UniversityStanford UniversityStanford University
2Yale UniversityPrinceton UniversityUniversity of California, Berkeley
3University of California, Los AngelesHarvard UniversityHarvard University
4University of Michigan – Ann ArborUniversity of California, BerkeleyUniversity of California, Los Angeles
5Harvard UniversityYale UniversityUniversity of Michigan – Ann Arbor
6University of PennsylvaniaUniversity of PennsylvaniaPrinceton University
7Columbia UniversityUniversity of ChicagoUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
8Northwestern UniversityUniversity of Michigan – Ann ArborYale University
9Vanderbilt UniversityUniversity of California, Los AngelesCornell University
10University of Southern CaliforniaColumbia UniversityNorthwestern University
11Duke UniversityNew York UniversityUniversity of Wisconsin – Madison
12Rice UniversityDuke UniversityColumbia University
13Washington University in St. LouisJohns Hopkins UniversityDuke University
14Dartmouth CollegeNorthwestern UniversityJohns Hopkins University
15New York UniversityUniversity of MinnesotaUniversity of California, Davis
16Brown UniversityCarnegie Mellon UniversityUniversity of California, San Diego
17Princeton UniversityCornell UniversityUniversity of Chicago
18University of FloridaUniversity of Texas at AustinUniversity of Colorado – Boulder
19University of California, San DiegoUniversity of California, DavisUniversity of Minnesota
20University of ChicagoUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
21Florida International UniversityUniversity of California, IrvineUniversity of Pennsylvania
22Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUniversity of California, San DiegoVanderbilt University
23University of California, IrvineVanderbilt UniversityBrown University
24University of VirginiaUniversity of WashingtonCarnegie Mellon University
25University of California, BerkeleyUniversity of Wisconsin – MadisonEmory University

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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