Top-Ranked Universities That Grant the Most STEM Degrees

Diane Tolis and Robert J. Morse

What are the leading STEM universities in the U.S.?

As part of the U.S. News STEM Solutions conference, we are publishing an exclusive new list of the National Universities from our 2013 Best Colleges rankings that grant the largest proportion of bachelor's degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

California Institute of Technology and Colorado School of Mines tied for first place with 98 percent of their degrees granted in STEM fields. Missouri University of Science & Technology came in third with 91 percent; Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts finished fourth with 88 percent; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology was in fifth with 86 percent.

To determine which college majors to evaluate, U.S. News used the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's list of science, technology, engineering and math designated-degree programs.

Then, looking at the school year that ended on June 30, 2012, we added up how many bachelor's degrees granted at each school were in these STEM fields using the latest degree-completion data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Next, we computed the percentage of each school's total 2012 bachelor's degrees that were granted in STEM fields and then sorted the schools in descending order based on the largest proportion of STEM degrees granted. A school had to have a third or more of its degrees granted in STEM fields to be listed as a top-ranked STEM university.

How should these results be interpreted? Many of the highest-ranked research universities in the U.S. are also on this new STEM list since they grant large proportions of STEM degrees. This means that these schools emphasize STEM fields in their curriculum and degree offerings.

In fact, 23 of the 39 schools on the STEM list were ranked among the top 50 Best National Universities in 2013 and five were ranked in the top 10.

The STEM list also reveals that there are only 15 top-ranked universities with 50 percent or more of their bachelor's degrees awarded in STEM fields, and only 39 that had a third or more of their degrees in these fields. This shows that STEM education at many of the top-ranked U.S. universities is not the main academic priority.

Only schools that were numerically ranked in the top half of the National Universities category in the 2013 Best Colleges rankings were eligible to be included in this STEM analysis.

As a result, the following schools that have all or nearly all of their bachelor's degrees granted in STEM fields are not included on the list: Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Webb Institute, Harvey Mudd College, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Kettering University, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

The table below shows the top-ranked universities that granted the largest proportions of bachelor's degrees in STEM fields.

School name (state) Percentage of 2012 bachelor's degrees granted in STEM fields National Universities rank
California Institute of Technology 98% 10
Colorado School of Mines 98% 77
Missouri University of Science & Technology 91% 125
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA) 88% 65
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 86% 6
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) 84% 41
Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) 82% 75
Michigan Technological University 77% 120
Clarkson University (NY) 76% 115
Georgia Institute of Technology 76% 36
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (NY) 72% 77
Illinois Institute of Technology 68% 113
Carnegie Mellon University (PA) 62% 23
Stanford University (CA) 54% 6
Case Western Reserve University (OH) 53% 37
University of California--San Diego 49% 38
North Carolina State University--Raleigh 48% 106
Cornell University (NY) 45% 15
Purdue University--West Lafayette (IN) 44% 65
Rice University (TX) 44% 17
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor 43% 29
Virginia Tech 40% 72
University of Tulsa (OK) 39% 83
Lehigh University (PA) 39% 38
University of Rochester (NY) 39% 33
University of California--Berkeley 39% 21
Johns Hopkins University (MD) 38% 13
University of California--Davis 38% 38
Iowa State University 37% 101
Princeton University (NJ) 37% 1
Texas A&M University--College Station 37% 65
University of California--Irvine 37% 44
Duke University (NC) 36% 8
Brown University (RI) 35% 15
Clemson University (SC) 35% 68
University of California--Los Angeles 35% 24
University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign 35% 46
Drexel University (PA) 33% 83
Pennsylvania State University--University Park 33% 46