2017 Best Colleges for Physics Methodology

The 2017 Best Colleges for Physics ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Overall Niche Grade Overall Niche Grade, which incorporates statistics and student surveys regarding all aspects of the student experience, such as academics, value, professors, diversity, local area, campus quality, safety and student life. Niche 30.0%
Physics Student SAT/ACT Scores Composite SAT/ACT scores (normalized to the same scale) of students majoring in Physics at the school. Scores are self-reported by students on Niche.com. Self-reported by Niche users 20.0%
Physics Student Surveys Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the overall experience of students and alumni who major in Physics. Self-reported by Niche users 10.0%
Percent Majoring in Physics Percent of undergraduate students at each school who major in Physics. U.S. Dept. of Education 7.5%
Percent of U.S. Physics Graduates Percent of total annual Physics graduates nationally that come from this program. U.S. Dept. of Education 7.5%
Physics Program Demand A ratio of the number of Niche users interested in the Physics program compared to the size of the program. Self-reported by Niche users 7.5%
Physics Research Expenditures Total expenditures dedicated to research in Physics. National Science Foundation 5.0%
Physics Research Expenditures per Student Total expenditures dedicated to physics research per full-time undergraduate student majoring in the field. National Science Foundation 5.0%
Physics Test Scores Compared to School’s Comparison of SAT/ACT scores of students majoring in Physics compared to all other majors at the school. Scores are self-reported by students on Niche.com. Self-reported by Niche users 5.0%
Physics Program Demand Within School A ratio of the number of Niche users interested in the Physics program compared with other majors at the school, normalized by the size of each program. Self-reported by Niche users 2.5%

This ranking assesses 91 4-year colleges and universities. To be included, the school must confer at least 20 bachelor’s degrees in the field annually or have the major represent at least 2.5% of all bachelor’s degrees conferred by the school. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2014–2016, as self-reported by the colleges.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.