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UW-Madison ranked 12th best public college by U.S. News & World Report

September 12, 2017 By Käri Knutson
Photo: Aerial view of central campus

Bascom Hall atop Bascom Hill is pictured in a fisheye-lens aerial view of the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. Photo: Jeff Miller

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is tied for 12th among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s latest college rankings.

Overall, UW–Madison ranks 46th in a six-way tie. Last year, UW–Madison ranked 10th among publics and 44th overall in a six-way tie. The rankings, released today, include more than 310 national doctoral universities and will be included in the 2018 edition of America’s Best Colleges.

“We are incredibly proud of the education and the Wisconsin Experience we offer students,” says Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf. “Our faculty and staff are among the best in the world.”

U.S. News gathers data from and about each school in academic excellence, including first-year student retention and graduation of students, peer assessment, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and graduate rate performances, which is the difference between the proportion of students expected to graduate and the proportion who do. Each indicator is assigned a weight based on U.S. News’ judgments about which measures of quality matter most – graduation and retention rates, categories UW–Madison performs well in, are the most heavily weighed factors.

For the second year in a row, UW–Madison was ranked 14th overall and sixth among publics in the “A Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching” category.

UW-Madison is ranked as the 18th “Best College for Veterans” in a four-way tie. 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 2016-17 academic year, and must be ranked in the top half of the institution’s overall U.S. News ranking category.

The report also evaluated undergraduate engineering and business programs. For the fourth year in a row, the College of Engineering ranks 14th overall, and for the fifth year in a row, it ranks seventh among public doctoral institutions. Among “Best in the Specialties,” chemical engineering ranked fifth overall and third among public institutions, while the industrial/manufacturing engineering ranked fifth overall and fifth among public institutions.

The undergraduate program at the Wisconsin School of Business is ranked 15th overall in a six-way tie, up from 19th last year and is seventh among public doctoral institutions, up from ninth last year. The insurance/risk management program is ranked third overall, up from fifth last year, and second among public universities, up from third last year. The real estate program is ranked second among public institutions, down from first last year, and third overall, down from second last year.

These overall business and engineering rankings are based solely on peer assessment surveys.

UW-Madison has performed well in other recent rankings including:

  • Washington Monthly: Ranked 26th, up from 28th last year, based on three criteria: research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students) and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).
  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings: Ranked 43rd, up from 45th last year, based on five categories: teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook (staff, students and research) and industry income (knowledge transfer).
  • Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings: Ranked 32nd  up from 35th last year, based on an invitation-only survey of senior, published academics, who were asked to name no more than 15 universities that they believe are the best for research and teaching in their field, based on their own experience.
  • Money Magazine’s Best Colleges for Your Money: Ranked 45th overall, 27th among public universities, using data on educational quality, affordability and alumni success. (Last year, UW–Madison ranked 63rd. Methodology changed this year to now include categories for financial troubles and socio-economic mobility.)