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UW–Madison is 35th in 2024 U.S. News ‘Best Colleges’ rankings

September 18, 2023 By Bill Graf
Photo: Aerial view of UW campus

UW-Madison is ranked 35th in the 2024 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Colleges. Photo: Jeff Miller

The University of Wisconsin–Madison was ranked 35th out of 437 public and private doctoral institutions, and 12th among public universities, in the 2024 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges rankings.

It is UW–Madison’s highest overall U.S. News ranking in the past 15 years, and the fifth year in a row that the university has moved up — advancing 14 places since ranking 49th in 2019.

“We are happy to be consistently rated among the best universities in the country, but as the U.S. News editors themselves will tell you, rankings are only one thing to consider in choosing a college. Each student is unique, and there are many tangible and intangible factors that determine which school is the best fit,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin.

U.S. News made major changes in its methodology for the rankings published today, and UW–Madison’s overall position was up three places from 38th on the 2022–2023 rankings.

For 2024, a number of criteria (including alumni giving and class size metrics) were removed as measures of academic quality, in favor of a greater emphasis on student-focused factors, such as student outcomes as represented by graduation rates.

Individual metrics on which UW–Madison scored in the top 50 include:

  • “Best Colleges for Veterans” (19th overall; 12th among public institutions). U.S. News bases this on a school’s overall “Best Colleges” ranking when comparing only those universities — like UW–Madison — that support veterans by being certified under the GI Bill and participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program for out-of-state students.
  • Graduation and retention rates (45th). This ranking demonstrates the positive results of UW–Madison’s investment in increasing graduation rates — which reached record levels in 2021 and 2022 with an 89 percent graduating within six years — and reducing the average amount of time it takes students to graduate.
  • Academic reputation (30th; 8th among public institutions). UW–Madison’s consistently high standing among its peer institutions is reflected in this ranking, drawn from a nationwide survey of university leaders.

Each year, U.S. News ranks specific undergraduate programs and specialty areas at universities. In the 2024 rankings, UW–Madison was rated among the best undergraduate programs for:

  • Engineering (17th overall; 9th among public universities)
  • Business (17th overall; 7th among public universities), including 1st overall in real estate, 2nd in insurance/risk management and 9th in marketing
  • Computer science (22nd overall; 11th among public universities), including 8th overall in computer systems and 9th in programming languages
  • Nursing (16th overall; 10th among public universities)
  • Economics (18th overall; 4th among public universities)
  • Psychology (11th overall; 5th among public universities)

Here is a list of all the U.S. News rankings of UW–Madison’s undergraduate programs.

In spite of differences in emphasis and methodology, UW–Madison consistently performs well in a broad range of rankings — most recently, The Washington Monthly (11th overall; 2nd among public universities); Money Magazine (5 stars out of 5); the Center for World University Rankings (28th worldwide; 20th in the U.S.); and Princeton Review (29th best value among public universities).

Tags: rankings