University Benchmarks

Ranking the Top 100 Academic Universities ranks the universities that attract and produce the best academic students.

There are many 'University Rankings' on the internet. Most rankings rely heavily on subjective metrics like 'reputation' and 'selectivity'. UniversityBenchmarks is purely an academic ranking model. The rankings are based on the reported academic and financial metrics of the colleges. There are no subjective factors like 'reputation' that are used. The calculations are performed using normal statistical models. All universities are considered equal and there is no weighting of the ranking categories.

The university 2014-2015 dataset is comprised of over 2400 US Universities & Colleges and comes from multiple sources using the most favorable reported metrics for a university.

The universities are ranked against each other in each filtered set. It is an iterative process whereby lower ranking universities are removed and the set is re-ranked until the final set of 100 is reached.

Selecting 'Rank Top 10 Only' will show the Top 10 for each filter category ranked against each other.

The academic rankings of the universities within the major conferences (ACC, Big12, Big10, Pac12, SEC) are available.

The 2017 rankings will be available in August.

  • It is possible for universities to be ranked higher/lower than one another depending on the filter set.
  • Conference averages are based on the top 8 schools in the conference.
  • Public Schools are highlighted
  • Clicking on the university's seal icon will take you to the university's website.

Ranking Fields

Rank - Overall rank based on the average of the ranking fields (Scores, Difficulty, Smartest, Brainpower, Faculty and Research).

Scores - SAT & ACT scores. The university's test scores are corrected for dropout rate when score level is Good, Excellent or Elite. This will slightly boost scores for highly competitive schools.

Difficulty - Academic rigor is estimated based on how difficult it is to get an "A" at the university. An estimated GPA at the university is calculated for the average US Student. University grade inflation, average GPA, and STEM density are factors.

Smartest - University that can field the highest scoring students based on the average US University size. Higher Smartest Rank = "Smartest for the Average University"

Brainpower - The average "smartest" rank using 5 reference populations (CalTech, MIT, Stanford, GaTech and Berkeley). Higher Brainpower Rank = "Higher Density of Smart Students". The university ranked higher can mathematically field 'X' number of smarter students than universities ranked below them.

Faculty - Ranking based on number of % of faculty with awards and academy membership.

Research - Ranking is achieved by iteratively ranking the average of 3 research metrics (r-pop, r-stem, r-other ). The lowest ranked college is then removed and the new set is re-ranked. The result is the schools with potentially the strongest research environments per student bubble up to the top regardless of size or research budget.

  • r-pop - Average research spending for student population
  • r-stem - STEM research spending
  • r-other - Other/Medical/Health research spending

Salary ROI - "Salary Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. Using the undergraduate average starting and mid-career salaries, the rank is based on a 20yr salary accumulation (with raises) minus the cost of a 4 year education at the university. Salaries are normalized across the country using the average COLA for the university's geo-economic region (7 regions total). The COLA effect is diminished by the level of the university. Elite, Excellent and Good universities have a greater distribution of graduates across the country and a diminishing COLA effect. The resultant value would be the graduate's spending potential over the 20yr period.

Overall ROI - "Overall Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. The average of Overall Rank and Salary ROI. This would be the "Best academic bang for the buck". Colleges that produce the best education, at the best price, with the best return will be ranked higher.

Color Key - ranks are colorized as follows 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 100

The 2016 University Academic Rankings

Northeastern University

2016 University Academic Rankings

Northeastern University (NU formerly NEU) is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1898. It is categorized as R1 (Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs leading to doctoral degrees on its main campus in the Fenway-Kenmore, Roxbury, South End, and Back Bay neighborhoods, as well as advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and Silicon Valley, California. Also, Northeastern will soon be opening its first international graduate campus in Toronto, Canada. The University has roughly 18,000 undergraduates and nearly 7,000 graduate students.

Northeastern features a cooperative education program that integrates classroom study with professional experience on seven continents and a comprehensive study abroad program. In 2011, the university opened the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security. Also, in 2016, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex will open.

Northeastern is a large, highly residential university. Most students choose to live on campus but upperclassmen and upperclasswomen may live off campus in many of the city's tree lined residential neighborhoods. More than 75% of Northeastern students receive some form of financial aid. In 2015-16, the university will offer $239 million in grant and scholarship assistance.

The university's sports teams, the Northeastern Huskies, compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 18 varsity sports. The men's and women's hockey teams compete in Hockey East, while the men's and women's rowing teams compete in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) and Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges (EAWRC), respectively. Men's lacrosse competes in the PCLL. In 2013, men's basketball won its first CAA regular season championship, men's soccer won the CAA title for the first time, and women's ice hockey won a record 16th Beanpot championship.


The Evening Institute for Younger Men, located at the Huntington Avenue YMCA, held its first class on October 3, 1898, starting what would transform into Northeastern University over the course of four decades. The School of Law was formally established that year with the assistance of an Advisory Committee, consisting of Dean James Barr Ames of the Harvard University School of Law, Dean Samuel Bennett of the Boston University School of Law, and Judge James R. Dunbar. In 1903, the first Automobile Engineering School in the country was established followed by the School of Commerce and Finance in 1907. Day classes began in 1909. In 1916, a bill was introduced into the Massachusetts Legislature to incorporate the institute as Northeastern College. After considerable debate and investigation it was passed in March 1916.

On March 30, 1917, Frank Palmer Speare was inaugurated as the new College's first President. Five years later the school changed its name to Northeastern University to better reflect the increasing depth of its instruction. In March 1923, the University secured general degree granting power from the Legislature, with the exception of the A.B., the S.B., and the medical degrees.

The College of Liberal Arts was added in 1935. Two years later the Northeastern University Corporation was established, with a board of trustees composed of 31 University members and 8 from the YMCA. In 1948 Northeastern separated itself completely from the YMCA.

Following World War II Northeastern began admitting women. In the postwar educational boom the University created the College of Education (1953), University College (now called the College of Professional Studies) (1960), ... [more on wikipedia]

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Northeastern University", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Northeastern University Details

Northeastern University Details
detail value
conferenceColonial Athletic Association
overall ROI rank[109
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Northeastern University?

1. number 40 for Academics.

2. number 109 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to Northeastern University?

1. Cornell University

2. University of Pennsylvania

3. University of Miami

4. University of Virginia

5. Harvard University

6. University of Southern California

7. Northwestern University

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Northeastern University National Academic Rankings

Northeastern University National Academic Rankings
category rank scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI
All Nonivy312939162269678360
Stem Low292338162261679066
Colonial Athletic Association111114793
New England Region172325121342425735
State of Massachusetts48844107105
Top Ten Top2504037472429103120181109
Top Ten Colonial Athletic Association111114593
Top Ten State of Massachusetts467448675

Peer Universities / Similar Universities

(mathematically similar student body, size, academics, stem, salary... etc)

Northeastern University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Northeastern University

Northeastern University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Northeastern University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Cornell UniversityNew YorkIvy LeaguePrivateElite1539
University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaIvy LeaguePrivateElite127
University of MiamiFloridaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateExcellent4493
University of VirginiaVirginiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicExcellent3227
Harvard UniversityMassachusettsIvy LeaguePrivateElite210
University of Southern CaliforniaCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite2281
Northwestern UniversityIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePrivateElite1113
Washington University in St LouisMissouriUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite86
Vanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern ConferencePrivateElite148
Duke UniversityNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite133
Tufts UniversityMassachusettsNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateElite2334
SUNY at BinghamtonNew YorkAmerica EastPublicExcellent65125
University of Notre DameIndianaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite3112
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew YorkIvy LeaguePrivateElite742
Stanford UniversityCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite917
Johns Hopkins UniversityMarylandCentennial ConferencePrivateElite1647
University of RochesterNew YorkUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateExcellent3993
Princeton UniversityNew JerseyIvy LeaguePrivateElite411
Lehigh UniversityPennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent6932
Rice UniversityTexasConference USAPrivateElite204
Carleton CollegeMinnesotaMidwest ConferencePrivateElite8443
Swarthmore CollegePennsylvaniaCentennial ConferencePrivateElite6748
The University of Texas at DallasTexasAmerican Southwest ConferencePublicGood7055
Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicElite61
Cleveland State UniversityOhioHorizon LeaguePublicAverage440299
University of ToledoOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage405285
Boston CollegeMassachusettsAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateExcellent4775
Villanova UniversityPennsylvaniaColonial Athletic Association ...PrivateExcellent9968
University of Maryland-College ParkMarylandBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3460
University of Michigan-Ann ArborMichiganBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent1716
University of California-Los AngelesCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePublicExcellent2984
University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsinBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3325
SUNY College at GeneseoNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicExcellent111184
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent2417
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinnesotaBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3022
Bucknell UniversityPennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent13193
St Olaf CollegeMinnesotaMinnesota Intercollegiate Ath ConfPrivateExcellent144127
Lafayette CollegePennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent165106
Union CollegeKentuckyMid - South Conference / Appal...PrivateBelowAverage162178
Williams CollegeMassachusettsNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateElite58161
Colorado CollegeColoradoSouthern Collegiate Athletic C...PrivateExcellent149160
Colby CollegeMaineNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateExcellent132155
Grinnell CollegeIowaMidwest ConferencePrivateExcellent114123
Whitman CollegeWashingtonNorthwest ConferencePrivateExcellent153154
Reed CollegeOregonNo Conference AffiliationPrivateExcellent106144
Haverford CollegePennsylvaniaCentennial ConferencePrivateElite97182

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Northeastern University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Northeastern University

Northeastern University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Northeastern University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
New York UniversityNew YorkUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateExcellent35101
Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League-Conf-Elite-21
Georgetown UniversityWashington DCPatriot League / Big East Conf...PrivateElite4288
Case Western Reserve UniversityOhioPresidents' Athletic Conferenc...PrivateExcellent2814
Pomona CollegeCaliforniaSouthern California Intercoll ...PrivateElite52125
Emory UniversityGeorgiaUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateExcellent3629
University of VirginiaVirginiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicExcellent3227
University of RochesterNew YorkUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateExcellent3993
Franklin W Olin College of EngineeringMassachusettsNo Conference AffiliationPrivateElite4853
University of MiamiFloridaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateExcellent4493
Harvey Mudd CollegeCaliforniaSouthern California Intercoll ...PrivateElite4919
University of Maryland-College ParkMarylandBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3460
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicExcellent3764
Boston UniversityMassachusettsPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent45116
Pacific - 12 Conference (Average)-Pacific 12 Conference-Conf-Excellent-32
University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsinBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3325
University of FloridaFloridaSoutheastern ConferencePublicGood4338
The University of Texas at AustinTexasBig Twelve ConferencePublicGood3851
Ohio State UniversityOhioBig Ten ConferencePublicGood4043
University of Washington-Seattle CampusWashingtonPacific 12 ConferencePublicGood5566