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UW–Madison moves up U.S. News list, ranked 38th overall and 10th best public

September 12, 2022 By Käri Knutson
Photo: Aerial view of central campus

Bascom Hall is pictured in an aerial view of the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. Photo: Jeff Miller

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has been ranked 38th overall and 10th among public institutions (both in three-way ties) in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 rankings of best colleges.

Last year, UW–Madison was ranked 42nd in a five-way tie and 14th among public institutions.

The rankings, released today, include 440 national doctoral universities and are in the 2022-2023 edition of America’s Best Colleges.

“As one of the world’s top universities, UW–Madison delivers a high-quality education that provides life-long value to our students,” said Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin. “While rankings are only one measure of excellence, I’m pleased to see so many areas of our success reflected.”

U.S. News gathers data from and about each school regarding undergraduate academic reputation, student excellence, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, alumni giving, graduation and retention rates, graduate rate performances and social mobility. Each indicator is assigned a weight based on U.S. News’ judgments about which measures of quality matter most.

UW–Madison continues to perform especially well in peer reputation and was ranked 28th overall and seventh among public institutions for the second year in a row.

The university also moved up in several categories including 51st in Financial Resources, up from 52nd last year, and 57th in Student Excellence, up from 59th last year.

UW–Madison continues to improve in Faculty Resources and was ranked 84th overall, up from 107th last year. The university has risen 63 places in this ranking category in the past four years. Institutions ranking highly in this category are those with high faculty compensation and small class size along with highly qualified faculty and instructional staff.

“We know how valuable our faculty members are, and that’s why we have prioritized recruiting and retaining outstanding people to enhance our educational programs,” says John Karl Scholz, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “That commitment, along with our extraordinary University and Academic Staff, continues to bolster the university’s standings in these rankings.”

The six factors used to calculate the Faculty Resources portion of the ranking are: index score for class size, advantaging institutions with smaller class sizes; the proportion of instructional staff with the highest degree in their field; the student:faculty ratio; the proportion of faculty who are full time; and faculty salary, which is defined as the average faculty pay (salary only) for assistant, associate and full professors in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years, adjusted for regional differences in the cost of living based on open source data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis regional price parities December 2021 dataset.

UW–Madison maintained its ranking of 39th in Graduation and Retention Rates for the second year in a row with an 89 percent six-year graduation rate and a 95 percent first-year retention rate.

U.S. News also evaluated undergraduate engineering, business, computer science programs and nursing.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate engineering program ranked 13th overall (three-way tie), up from 15th overall last year (four-way tie), and 7th (two-way tie) among public doctoral-granting institutions for the third year in a row.

Ranked programs include 21st (two-way tie) in biomedical engineering, ninth (two-way tie) in chemical engineering, 14th in civil engineering, 16th in computer engineering, 15th (three-way tie) in electrical engineering, 25th (two-way tie) in environmental engineering, 12th (two-way tie) in industrial/manufacturing/systems engineering, 14th in materials engineering and 20th (three way-tie) in mechanical engineering.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate business program ranked 19th overall (four-way tie) and ninth (four-way tie) public, both for the second year in a row. It was ranked first in both real estate and insurance/risk management (two-way tie).

Other ranked specialties include eighth in marketing, 17th in accounting, 24th (four-way tie) in finance and 30th (six-way tie) in management.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate computer science program ranked 16th overall (seven-way tie), up from 18th last year, and eighth (four-way tie) among public universities, up from ninth last year. UW–Madison was ranked 23rd (three-way tie) in artificial intelligence, sixth in computer systems, 17th (four-way tie) in data analytics and 11th (two-way tie) in programming.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate nursing program ranked 22nd (seven-way tie) overall and 17th (five-way tie) among public universities.

Other categories include:

Best colleges for veterans: 18th overall and 10th among publics (both in three-way ties), up from 20th overall and 14th among publics last year. Institutions included on this list must be certified for the GI Bill, participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program or be a public institution that charges in-state tuition to all out-of-state veterans, must have enrolled a minimum of 20 veterans and active service members in the 2021-22 academic year and must be ranked in the top half of the institution’s overall U.S. News ranking category.

Best value schools: 23rd among publics, based on a ratio of quality to price (overall rank divided by net cost), the percentage of undergraduates receiving need-based scholarships or grants and the percent of a school’s total cost of attendance that was covered by the average need-based scholarship or grant aid.

Academic programs to look for: Institutions are nominated by presidents/chancellors/provosts and enrollment management/admissions leaders in several student experience areas, including Study Abroad, ranked 25th overall (five-way tie) and fifth among publics (four-way tie), and First Year Experience, ranked 42nd (seven-way tie) overall and sixth among publics.

Schools with the most international students: UW–Madison is listed as a school with the most international students, with international students making up 10 percent of the student body. U.S. news does not rank this metric in its publication, but UW–Madison had the 53rd highest percentage of international students among national universities.

To see the full rankings, click here.