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UW–Madison graduate programs ranked highly by U.S. News

April 9, 2024 By Käri Knutson
An aerial photo of the UW–Madison campus shows Bascom Hall in the foreground and Lake Mendota in the background.

The UW–Madison campus along the shores of Lake Mendota. Photo: Jeff Miller

The University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate programs are once again ranked among the nation’s best in the 2024-25 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” including ranking the School of Education first overall in the country.

“Our graduate programs have a long legacy of providing world-class education and our graduate students are a key component of our innovative research success,” says Charles Lee Isbell Jr., provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Rankings are one of many measures that reflect our many strengths.”

The School of Education is tied for first overall with Teacher’s College, Columbia University, up from third overall and second among public universities last year, marking the 11th straight year it has ranked in the top five and its first year topping the list.

“The No. 1 ranking for our School of Education is a testament to innovative work being done by our talented faculty, staff, and students,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “These rankings highlight what we consider a significant strength of ours — and that’s the array of high-quality programs across our School of Education.”

Other highlights include Computer Science ranked 13th, Social Work ranked 20th and Public Affairs ranked 23rd.

“We offer our students research opportunities and experiences that prepare them to be thought leaders in a wide range of disciplines,” says William J. Karpus, dean of UW–Madison’s Graduate School. “We are always pleased to have the work and expertise of our faculty and staff recognized.”

U.S. News does not rank all programs each year. View the most recent graduate program rankings for each department here.

The UW–Madison programs ranked this year, including ranked specialties, are:

Business: 43rd for full-time MBA; 26th for part-time MBA (up from 33rd last year); ranked specialties include 29th in accounting (six-way tie), and fifth in real estate (two-way tie). 

Computer Science: 13th overall (four-way tie). Ranked specialties include 11th in programming language (three-way tie), 23rd in artificial intelligence, 10th in systems (two-way tie) and 19th in theory.

Education: First overall (two-way tie, third overall last year in a three-way tie) and first among publics (second last year). Ranked specialties include second in curriculum and instruction (up from fourth last year), second in educational administration and supervision (up from sixth last year), seventh in education policy (two-way tie), first in educational psychology (up from second last year), second in elementary teacher education (up from fourth last year), 13th in higher education administration, third in secondary teacher education (two-way tie), sixth in special education (up from 10th last year) and eighth in student counseling (three-way tie).

Health Specialties: 16th in audiology, listed as University of Wisconsin AuD Consortium (Madison & Stevens Point) (three-way tie), physical therapy (26th in a three-way tie), occupational therapy (16th in a three-way tie), pharmacy (9th in a three-way tie), speech-language pathology (2nd in a two-way tie).

Law: 36th overall (five-way tie). Ranked specialties include 40th in business – corporate law (two-way tie), 53rd in clinical training (five-way tie), 22nd in constitutional law (three-way tie), 24th in contracts – commercial law (five-way tie), 34th in criminal law (nine-way tie), 53rd in environmental law (12-way tie), 67th in health care law (seven-way tie), 82nd in intellectual property law (nine-way tie), 51st in legal writing (six-way tie), 26th in international law (three-way tie), 40th in tax law (nine-way tie), and 90th in trial advocacy (13-way tie).

Nursing: 66th in schools with a Doctor of Nursing practice degree (six-way tie).

Public Affairs: 23rd overall (three-way tie). Ranked specialties include fifth in social policy and 17th in public policy (two-way tie).

Public Health: 29th overall (nine-way tie). Ranked specialties include 18th in biostatistics (two-way tie), 24th in epidemiology and 20th in health policy and management (two-way tie.

Social Work: 20th overall (four-way tie).

On Monday, U.S. News announced it is delaying publishing rankings for Best Medical Schools, Best Engineering Schools, and Best Clinical Psychology Program rankings due to queries from graduate schools that are under review “until such time that we can appropriately address these questions.”

“Our focus remains on providing the best information for prospective students,” U.S. News said in a release. “We will provide updates with more information as to the timing of these rankings as soon as we are able.”