U-M earns high rankings from U.S. News & World Report


The University of Michigan remains the No. 3 public university in the country for undergraduate education, according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list.

U-M also moved up four spots from last year to place 21st overall among both public and private institutions on the rankings that were released Sept. 18. It has held the No. 3 public university title every year since 2019.

The other public institutions in the U.S. that made the top 25 were the University of California, Los Angeles, at No. 12, the University of California, Berkeley, at No. 16 and the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which both ranked No. 22.  

The annual Best Colleges list includes data for nearly 1,500 institutions.  

U-M officials said they are pleased that the university continues to be recognized as a leader in higher education. They also noted that rankings don’t consider all the factors that contribute to the quality of an institution, and that it’s important to focus on a university’s commitment to academic excellence and societal impact.

U.S. News & World Report officials said they refined the methodology used for this year’s rankings to place a greater focus on outcome measurements and data that are universally reported by schools or obtainable from third-party sources.

For institutions categorized as national universities, including U-M’s Ann Arbor campus, the rankings were based on 19 measurements of academic quality:

  • Peer assessment (20%)
  • Graduation rates (16%)
  • Graduation rate performance (10%)
  • Financial resources per student (8%)
  • Faculty salaries (6%)
  • Standardized tests (5%)
  • First-year retention rates (5%)
  • Borrower debt (5%)
  • College grads earning more than a high school grad (5%)
  • Pell graduation rates (3%)
  • Pell graduation performance (3%)
  • Student-faculty ratio (3%)
  • First-generation graduation rates (2.5%)
  • First-year graduation rate performance (2.5%)
  • Full-time faculty (2%)
  • Citations per publication (1.25%)
  • Field weighted citation impact (1.25%)
  • Publications cited in the top 5% of journals (1%)
  • Publications cited in the top 25% of journals (0.5%)

For regional universities such as UM-Dearborn, the rankings were based on 13 factors:

  • Peer assessment (20%)
  • Graduation rates (16%)
  • Graduation rate performance (10%)
  • Faculty salaries (8%)
  • Financial resources (8%)
  • Pell graduation rates (5.5%)
  • Pell graduation performance (5.5%)
  • First-year retention rates (5%)
  • Borrower debt (5%)
  • College grads earning more than a high school grad (5%)
  • Standardized tests (5%)
  • Student-faculty ratio (4%)
  • Full-time faculty (3%)  

Five factors that were previously part of the ranking formula — alumni giving, class size, high school class standing, the proportion of instructional faculty with terminal degrees, and the proportion of graduates who borrowed federal loans — were removed. Some other factors saw increases or decreases in weight.  

In the regional university category, UM-Dearborn was ranked the No. 3 public regional university in the Midwest, moving up two spots from last year. It jumped from No. 30 to No. 17 on the overall list of the best Midwest regional universities.  

The 2024 Best Colleges List also includes data about specific fields of study.

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business kept its No. 4 ranking on the overall list of undergraduate business programs. It maintained or improved its ratings on 11 of 12 specialties, with accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and production operations/management all ranked within the top five.  

The College of Engineering moved up one spot — from No. 6 to No. 5 — on the list of top engineering programs. Four of 10 engineering specialties either placed the same as last year or moved up in the rankings, with environmental, industrial/manufacturing and materials listed in the top five.  

The School of Nursing was ranked No. 7, down from its No. 3 ranking last year. 

New this year to the Best Colleges list were rankings of undergraduate economics and psychology degree programs. U-M ranked No. 15 in economics and No. 3 in psychology.

The university received high marks in other areas as well. It was ranked:

  • No. 11 in computer science education.
  • No. 16 for undergraduate teaching.
  • No. 20 for first-year experience.
  • No. 3 in learning communities.
  • No. 11 in most innovative schools.
  • No. 18 for co-ops/internships.
  • No. 20 for study abroad.
  • No. 5 for undergraduate research/creative projects.
  • No. 24 for senior capstone.
  • No. 207 in social mobility.
  • No. 68 in the best value schools category.
  • No. 7 best college for veterans.

(CORRECTION: This article has been updated from its original version to reflect a change in the rankings for UM-Dearborn.)


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