Rankings and Recognitions

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 150 years, pushing the boundaries of discovery and forging enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges. With innovative academic programs, research, and outreach, MSU is recognized internationally as a top research university and a leader in international engagement.

University-wide distinctions

  • MSU ranks among the top 100 global universities in the 2015-16 World University Rankings by Times Higher Education. The publication ranks universities around the world on a host of measures related to teaching, research, and international presence.
  • Michigan State ranks No. 82 out of 750 universities in the latest U.S. News & World Report "Best Global Universities" ranking. Among U.S. schools, MSU ranks No. 46. In the regional research reputation indicator, MSU ranks No. 40, up from No. 125 last year.
  • MSU ranks in the top 100 on the Top Universities by Reputation 2014 list published by Times Higher Education. The list—which looks solely at the reputations of institutions for teaching and research—is based on responses to an invitation-only survey from nearly 17,000 academics at institutions in 144 countries worldwide.
  • Michigan State is among the top 100 universities in the world, according to a new set of rankings from U.S. News & World Report. According to the rankings, which list the top 500 universities in the world, MSU is tied for 75th with the Netherlands’ Leiden University. This is the first time U.S. News & World Report has rated universities on a global scale. It used a new set of criteria, with a heavy emphasis on the schools’ research prowess.
  • MSU ranks among the top 100 global universities, according to the 2015 “Academic Ranking of World Universities” from the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  • MSU is No. 63 among the world’s most influential universities and No. 5 in the Big Ten, according to a Wikipedia-mining algorithm highlighted in the MIT Technology Review.
  • MSU ranks among the top 10 universities in the nation for international student enrollment and study abroad participation, according to the Institute of International Education’s 2015 Open Doors Report. Michigan State ranks ninth in the nation—and first in Michigan—for the number of enrolled international students, according to the report. In 2014-15, MSU hosted 8,146 international students on its campus. MSU earned the No. 8 slot for study abroad participation with 2,478 MSU students studying overseas in 2013-14. 
  • MSU's increasingly good value is reflected in Kiplinger’s 2015 edition of Best Values in Public Colleges, which ranks MSU 50th among public universities for in-state students—a ranking that has improved from 85th in 2007. Kiplinger bases its rankings entirely on measureable criteria such as student–faculty ratio, admission rate, graduation rate, cost, and financial aid.
  • In Washington Monthly’s 2015 National Universities Rankings, MSU ranked 33rd among 279 higher education institutions analyzed by the publication. Rankings are based on how well universities improve social mobility, produce research, and promote public service.
  • MSU is No. 11 on a list of more than 400 Midwest schools in Washington Monthly’s “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings.
  • Money magazine ranks MSU among the best colleges in the country based on graduation rates, degree costs, and return on investment on its 2014 list of The Best Colleges for Your Money. 
  • MSU is among the top 10 research institutions producing U.S. Fulbright scholars and students for 2014-15, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • MSU earned gold status in the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s 2015 Veteran-Friendly School program rankings. 
  • An independent study by two Chinese scholars, which appeared in the Journal of Product Innovations Management, ranks MSU third on its global list of top universities for innovation management—the process through which an invention is turned into a commercial product than can be sold profitably. MSU was the only Big Ten university ranked in the top 10. Roger Calantone, who codirects MSU’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, published 24 innovation management articles in the top academic journals during the past 20 years, second only to Michael Song, a former MSU marketing professor who’s now at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The articles are used as a gauge to indicate which universities and researchers are most influencing product innovation.
  • MSU ranks as the sixth best university to work for in the United States, according to the Business Research Guide, which provides reviews and insight into technologies, products and services, and career and education options. Along with Michigan State, the top 10 list included three Ivy League institutions and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MSU’s family-friendly environment and the wide range of services offered by its Family Resource Center were cited.
  • MSU's study abroad and service-learning programs are recognized as "programs to look for" in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 edition of America's Best Colleges.
  • MSU ranks 23rd among the nation's large universities for producing Peace Corps volunteers with 32 undergraduate alumni serving in 2014, according to 2015 Peace Corps rankings. Since the organization was founded in 1961, 2,338 MSU alumni have served in the Peace Corps, making MSU the No. 6 all-time producer of volunteers among large universities.
  • MSU earned the 2014 Michigan Engaged Campus of the Year Award. Home to one of the oldest college service-learning and civic engagement centers in the country, MSU’s decades of commitment to the public purpose of higher education has spread campus-wide with every degree-granting college embracing civic learning and teaching courses with service-learning and civic engagement. 
  • MSU was named with distinction to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The honor roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. MSU received the Presidential Award for General Community Service in 2008, one of only 18 institutions and the first in Michigan to win since the award was launched in 2006.
  • Rankings compiled at the University of Western Australia list MSU among the top 50 universities in the world based on research performance, including publications and citations. These rankings also list MSU among the top 50 universities in the categories of arts, humanities, business, and social sciences and engineering, computing, and technology and in the top 100 in the areas of medicine and the health sciences and pure, natural, and mathematical sciences.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU No. 27 on its list of the “100 Best Global Universities for Environment/Ecology,” a directory that identifies “the world’s best universities for the field of environment and ecology, based on their reputation and research.”
  • Architectural Digest named MSU's Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum one of the "Best University Art Museums in America."
  • MSU’s Beal Botanical Garden and Hidden Lake Gardens are among the “50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.” according to Best Colleges Online. MSU is the only school on the list to have two gardens featured. 
  • MSU was recognized in the Princeton Review's 2014 Guide to 322 Green Colleges, which focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability. The guide is produced in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools.
  • The Institute for Scientific Information included 27 MSU faculty members on its most recent list of "Highly Cited" researchers. Individuals on the list are among the top 250 researchers worldwide in their respective fields in terms of the number of citations to research published between 1981 and 2007 and represent about half of 1 percent of all researchers in the sciences and social sciences.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has selected MSU to design and establish the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, also known as FRIB, a $730 million facility that will advance understanding of rare nuclear isotopes and the evolution of the cosmos as it provides research opportunities for scientists and students from around the globe. A world leader in rare isotope research, Michigan State has been committed to advancing accelerator-based sciences for more than 50 years.
  • MSU is one of the nation's top five campuses for sustainability, according to the National Wildlife Federation's Campus Environment 2008 Report Card. The report also indicates that MSU has the greatest number of exemplary programs in sustainability among colleges and universities in Michigan.
  • MSU is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of only 60 U.S. and two Canadian universities widely regarded as among the top research-intensive institutions in North America.
  • MSU is the only university in the country with on-campus medical schools graduating allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians, as well as veterinarians. As the university extends the College of Human Medicine and the College of Osteopathic Medicine to new areas of the state, MSU will be among the largest universities in the United States in terms of the number of medical school graduates.
  • A total of 26,127 MSU students were engaged in service-learning and community service activities during the 2014–15 academic year.
  • MSU continues its outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships with the naming of one Rhodes scholar, two Goldwater scholars, and one Udall scholar in 2015. The total scholarship count at MSU now stands at: Goldwater, 42; Rhodes, 17; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 11; Hollings, six; Gates, four; and Mitchell, one.
  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2007 selected MSU as one of the first universities to be designated as a "community-engaged university" using its Community Engagement Classification, which recognizes curricular engagement as well as outreach and partnerships.

U.S. News & World Report's latest editions of America's Best Colleges (undergraduate) and America's Best Graduate Schools rankings

MSU has 25 undergraduate and graduate programs ranked in the top 20 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. These include six No. 1-ranked programs in undergraduate supply chain management/logistics and graduate programs in nuclear physics, elementary and secondary education, organizational psychology, and rehabilitation counseling. 


Supply chain management/logistics No. 1                                            

Production/operations management No. 11                                      

Biological/agricultural engineering No. 12                                             

Accounting No. 14                                                                                          

Management No. 18    


Nuclear physics No. 1                                                    

Elementary education No. 1 for 21 straight years

Secondary education No. 1 for 21 straight years

Organizational psychology No. 1                                          

Rehabilitation counseling (education) No. 1

Supply chain/logistics No. 2                                                   

African history No. 3                         

Curriculum/instruction  No. 4                           

Higher education administration No. 5                                                       

Educational psychology No. 6

Administration/supervision No. 7

Criminal justice No. 7

Veterinary medicine No. 9

Primary care (College of Osteopathic Medicine) No. 9    

Education policy No. 10             

Biological/agricultural engineering No. 11

Production/operations management No. 12

College of Education (overall) No. 15

International business No. 16

Special Education No. 16                               

Additional top academic programs, centers, and initiatives

  • MSU ranks No. 1 on a list of the "Top 10 U.S. Supply Chain Schools of 2015" by SCM World. The research organization surveys hundreds of supply chain executives every year to find out which universities they consider the best at producing graduates with practical approaches to supply chain management.
  • The full-time MBA program in the Broad College of Business was ranked No. 2 in the United States and No. 4 globally for “placement success” by Financial Times in its 2014 rankings. Broad has ranked among the top four in this category, in which graduates measure the effectiveness of the career services they received as MBA students, since 2001. In addition, Broad saw gains in the overall full-time MBA ranking, jumping to 52nd globally, up 10 spots from the 2013 rankings. The college placed 27th among U.S. MBA programs, up five places from last year and 13 places from 2012.
  • The Broad Full-Time MBA Program ranks No. 33 overall and No. 11 among public universities by Bloomberg Businessweek in its 2014 Business School Rankings. Businessweek also named Broad No. 6 in average one-year ROI on the MBA, at just more than 40 percent. The Broad program is among the top 15 public institutions in every major ranking of full-time MBA programs.
  • For the 15th year, the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine has ranked in the top 10 percent of all medical schools—MD and DO—for its primary care education. This year the college was tied with Harvard University at 12th, and was the highest ranking osteopathic school in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 listings of America's best medical schools.
  • According to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs released in January 2015, MSU’s online graduate programs in education rank No. 13, up five spots from last year and 10 spots from two years ago when it was No. 23. Online graduate programs in nursing rank No. 31, up three spots from last year and 12 spots from two years ago when the program was No. 43.
  • MSU has been ranked No. 6 on a list of the top 10 best colleges in the nation to study health professions, according to College Factual, an online ranking source for students looking for the “right fit” when it comes to selecting a school. 
  • MSU’s master’s program in social work was ranked among the top 25 in the nation by TheBestSchools.org, an independent organization that focuses its ranking system on three criteria: academic excellence, return on investment, and benefits that affect quality of life during studies.
  • MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business was ranked ninth among public schools and 22nd overall by Forbes in its 2013 biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs. The rankings are based on return on investment, calculated as compensation five years after graduation minus tuition and salary not earned while in school.
  • MSU earned the No. 7 spot in North America in the Princeton Review’s list of Top Schools for Video Game Design for 2015. MSU offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees with specialized curriculum in video game design and development.
  • MSU was the top-cited university in an assessment by ScienceWatch.com of all papers published in hadron physics in the last decade. MSU—with 13,893 citations—placed fifth overall following four national laboratories located in the United States, Europe, and Russia. The most cited paper—with 772 citations—was the work of six MSU authors, and the second most cited paper was published by a collaboration including a member from MSU.
  • Of the 141 medical schools in an Annals of Internal Medicine study, MSU's College of Human Medicine ranked sixth overall for social mission—defined as producing doctors who are minorities, practice primary care, or work in underserved areas—and seventh for underrepresented minorities in its student population.
  • MSU’s Student Organic Farm ranks No. 8 in Best College Reviews’ list of top college farms in the country.
  • Since the 1996-97 season, MSU Debate has received 20 first-round bids to the National Debate Tournament, the most of any public university in the nation.
  • MSU’s W. K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) pasture-based facility, featuring robotic milking and an energy-efficient design, was recognized with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver certification. It is the only U.S. agricultural operation to earn such certification, which requires a newly constructed facility to be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than current building codes dictate. The KBS dairy facility is 38 percent more energy efficient.
  • In 2007, MSU launched the first doctoral program in Chicano/Latino studies in the Midwest and only the second in the nation. The interdisciplinary degree is offered by the College of Social Science.
  • The media and information studies doctoral program in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences was ranked second in the mass communication category by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • MSU is one of only four universities across the country asked by the Carnegie Annenberg, Rockefeller, and Ford foundations to take part in the Teachers for a New Era initiative, which is designed to strengthen K–12 teaching by developing state-of-the-art programs in teacher education.
  • MSU is home to BEACON, one of five highly coveted National Science Foundation Science and Technology Innovation Centers. The Bio/computational Evolution in Action Consortium brings together biologists, computer scientists, and engineers to study evolution in both natural and virtual settings and apply knowledge to real-world problems.
  • With accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, MSU's nurse anesthesia program in the College of Nursing becomes the fifth such program in the state, enabling the college to help address a shortage in a critical area of health care.
  • MSU leads U.S. universities in the number of African language courses offered and in the number of different African languages taught.
  • MSU offers 26 study abroad programs in Africa, more than any other U.S. university, and more than 1,300 MSU students have studied in Africa since 1992. MSU faculty members work on scores of projects in 32 African nations—more than half the countries on the continent.
  • MSU's Eli Broad Graduate School of Management is the only nonmilitary institution that uses the U.S. Department of Defense's Dynamic Distributed Decision-making Simulation for both teaching and research.
  • The first major university in the United States with a dean of international programs, MSU now has nearly 1,500 faculty members involved in international research, teaching, and service projects and programs in more than 175 countries.
  • Because of the success of MSU's background check system developed for long-term care facilities in Michigan, it is being used as a model for the rest of the country in legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate.
  • MSU and the University of Wisconsin–Madison are partnering in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center with $125 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, focusing on the conversion of plant biomass to bioenergy.
  • MSU is the leader in a research project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security that created the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment, a consortium of scientists from seven universities with expertise in quantitative microbial risk assessment methods, biosecurity, and infectious disease transmission through environmental exposure.
  • MSU's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health is one of the country's premier and busiest veterinary diagnostic laboratories. From just over 9,700 cases when it first opened in 1973, the facility now handles more than 200,000 cases and more than 1.2 million diagnostic tests per year.
  • As Michigan's land-grant institution, MSU is home to AgBioResearch, which funds the research of more than 300 scientists who conduct research in on-campus facilities and at 13 outlying research centers across the state.
  • MSU and the 11 other members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) are digitizing select collections across all their libraries—up to as many as 10 million volumes—as part of the Google Book Search project. In addition to MSU, CIC members are the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.