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UW-Madison ranked 42nd overall and 14th best public college by U.S. News

September 13, 2021 By Käri Knutson

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has ranked 42nd overall in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings of best colleges. Photo: Bryce Richter

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has been ranked in a five-way tie for 42nd overall and 14th among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings of best colleges.

Last year, UW–Madison was also ranked 42nd in a five-way tie and tied for 13th among public institutions.

The rankings, released today, include 389 national doctoral universities and are in the 2022 edition of America’s Best Colleges.

“I am proud that UW–Madison is once again being recognized for its quality,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank says. “Although rankings are only one of many measures of performance, it is good to share this recognition as we begin a new school year.”

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 performed particularly well in peer reputation, ranking 28th overall and 7th among public institutions.

The report also evaluated undergraduate engineering, business, computer science programs and nursing.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate engineering program ranked 15th overall (four-way tie) and 7th among public doctoral-granting institutions (three-way tie). Ranked programs include 21st (two-way tie) in biomedical engineering, 10th in chemical engineering, 16th in civil engineering, 13th (three-way tie) in computer engineering, 16th (two-way tie) in electrical engineering, 21st (three-way tie) in environmental engineering, 8th in industrial/manufacturing/systems engineering, 14th in materials engineering, and 18th in mechanical engineering.

 UW–Madison’s undergraduate business program ranked 19th overall (four-way tie) and 9th (four-way tie) public.  UW–Madison ranked 21st (five-way tie) in accounting, 22nd (six-way tie) in finance, 25th (four-way tie) in international business, 23rd (three-way tie) in management, second (first among publics) in real estate, ninth in marketing, 16th (three-way tie) in production/operations management, third (3rd among publics) in Insurance/Risk Management, 33rd (eight-way tie) in business analytics.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate computer science program ranked 18th overall (five-way tie) and ninth (three-way tie) among public universities. UW–Madison was ranked 26th (four-way tie) in artificial intelligence, seventh (two-way tie) in computer systems, 14th in data analytics, seventh (three-way tie) and third (three-way tie) among publics in programming languages.

UW–Madison’s undergraduate nursing program ranked 19th (four-way tie) and 14th (two-way tie) among public universities.

Other categories include:

Best Colleges for Veterans, 20th overall and 14th among publics. 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 2020-21 academic year, and must be ranked in the top half of the institution’s overall U.S. News ranking category.

Best Value Schools, 14th among publics for the second year in a row, 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.

To make valid comparisons, schools are grouped by academic mission into 10 distinct categories. UW–Madison is ranked among national universities, which offer a range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs, and emphasize faculty research or award professional practice doctorates.

Other categories are national liberal arts colleges, regional universities and regional colleges, which are divided into North, South, West and Midwest and West. Among the top 50 regional universities in the Midwest, UW–La Crosse was tied for 37th, UW–Eau Claire tied for 41st, and UW–Whitewater tied for 49th.