UW–Madison rises to 13th best public college in U.S. News & World Report rankings

September 9, 2019 By Käri Knutson

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has risen to 13th among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s latest college rankings. Overall, UW–Madison ranks 46th in a two-way tie.

Both rankings are higher than last year when UW–Madison was ranked 15th among publics and 49th overall. The rankings, released today, include 292 national doctoral universities and are in the 2020 edition of America’s Best Colleges.

“UW-Madison has long had a reputation for excellence,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “This ranking is one measure of the world-class education our faculty and staff provide students.”

U.S. News gathers data from and about each school in 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.

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The report also evaluated undergraduate engineering and business programs.

UW-Madison’s undergraduate engineering program ranked 15th overall (5-way tie) and 8th among public doctoral-granting institutions (3-way tie).

UW-Madison’s undergraduate business program ranked 15th overall (4-way tie) and 7th (2-way tie) among publics. The Insurance/Risk Management program was ranked 1st overall and among public universities, and the Real Estate program ranked 2nd overall and 1st among public universities.

The overall engineering and business rankings are based on the judgments of deans and senior faculty who responded to an invitation to nominate peer institutions on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished).

Other categories include:

Best College for Veterans, 11th among publics, 21st overall. 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 2018-19 academic year, and must be ranked in the top half of the institution’s overall U.S. News ranking category.

Best Value Schools, 13th among publics, 92nd overall, based on 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, 7th among publics (6-way tie), 20th overall (nine-way tie) in Learning Communities as nominated by Presidents/Chancellors, Provosts, and Admissions Deans.

Best Undergraduate Teaching, 26th among publics (10-way tie), 76th overall (20-way tie). Institutions that were nominated by administrators as institutions where faculty had a commitment to undergraduate teaching and institutions are ranked in descending order by the number of nominations they received.

Most Innovative Schools, ranked 30th among publics (six-way tie) and 63rd overall (9-way tie). Institutions were nominated by college presidents/chancellors, provosts, and admissions directors in the Peer Assessment survey as institutions “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, or facilities.”

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, Midwest and West.