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Rankings and Recognitions

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 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 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 one of the top 70 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2019.
  • Times Higher Education ranks MSU among the top 100 global universities in its World University Rankings 2020.
  • MSU ranks No. 34 among public universities and No. 84 overall in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2020.
  • MSU ranks among the top 100 global universities, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities 2019 rankings. MSU ranks No. 90 out of nearly 1,400 universities worldwide.
  • MSU ranks No. 81 out of more than 800 U.S. colleges and universities, according to the 2020 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. 
  • MSU is among a group of 53 universities Times Higher Education calls “international powerhouses” — institutions with exceptional research output that have the best chance of catching up with or overtaking the world’s best universities. 
  • MSU ranks 8th in the nation for education abroad participation, with 2,667 students participating in 2016-17, according to the Institute of International Education’s 2018 Open Doors Report. MSU ranks No. 18 in the country for international student enrollmentIn 2017-18, MSU hosted 7,624 international students on campus.
  • Money magazine ranks Michigan State No. 59 in its 2019 list of "Best Colleges for Your Money," which takes into account quality of education, affordability and outcomes. 
  • MSU's increasingly good value is reflected in Kiplinger’s 2019 edition of "Best College Values," which ranks MSU No. 53 among public universities for in-state students — a ranking that has improved from 85th in 2007. Kiplinger bases its rankings entirely on measurable criteria such as student–faculty ratio, admission rate, graduation rate, cost and financial aid.
  • MSU ranks No. 38 among the 395 research universities included in Washington Monthly’s 2019 College Ranking, improving nine spots from last year. MSU also ranks No. 20 among public research universities, up eight spots from 2018. Ratings are based on a school’s contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research and service.
  • MSU's position as an entrepreneurship and innovation hub earned global accolades by the 2018 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, earning its prize for Outstanding Contributions to Venture Creation, surpassing nationally recognized entrepreneurship centers. 
  • MSU earned gold status in the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s 2017-18 Veteran-Friendly School program rankings. 
  • Michigan State ranked No. 25 among large schools on the Peace Corps’ 2019 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 36 Spartans currently volunteering worldwide. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 2,430 MSU alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.
  • MSU received a gold rating for sustainability achievements in 2019 through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU No. 34 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.”
  • MSU’s Wharton Center ranks among the top 10 performance venues of its kind in the world in 2019 by Venues Today.
  • 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.  
  • 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 the only university in the country with on-campus medical schools graduating allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians, as well as veterinarians
  • More than 32,000 MSU students participated in community-engaged learning and service opportunities during the 2016–17 academic year.
  • MSU's outstanding record of students earning prestigious scholarships: Goldwater, 46; Rhodes, 19; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 12; Hollings, 7; Gates, 4; and Mitchell, 4.

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

MSU has 28 undergraduate and graduate programs ranked in the top 25 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. These include nine No. 1-ranked programs in undergraduate supply chain management/logistics and graduate programs in African history, nuclear physics, elementary education, secondary education, curriculum and instruction, industrial and organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling and supply chain. 


Supply chain management/logistics No. 1        

Biological/agricultural engineering No. 9                                       

Production/operations management No. 9

Management No. 16  

Management information systems No. 17


African history No. 1

Nuclear physics No. 1                                                    

Elementary education No. 1 for 25 straight years

Secondary education No. 1 for 25 straight years

Curriculum/instruction No. 1  

Industrial/organizational psychology No. 1                                          

Rehabilitation counseling (education) No. 1

Supply chain/logistics No. 1

Higher education administration No. 3   

Education administration and supervision No. 5                                             

Education policy No. 7

Educational psychology No. 7

Criminal justice No. 10        

Biosystems/agricultural engineering No. 11

Special Education No. 12

Econometrics No. 12

Production/operations management No. 15

Veterinary medicine No. 17                        

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Programs for 2019 ranks all four MSU programs that participate in the rankings in the top 25.

Online graduate education programs rank No. 5

Online graduate program in criminal justice ranks No. 10

Online graduate nursing program ranks No. 17 

Online graduate programs in business rank No. 23

Additional top academic programs, centers, and initiatives

  • The Princeton Review included MSU on its list of top 25 undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the nation, cementing its position as an entrepreneurial hub and a leading institution for innovation.
  • In 2019, Times Higher Education ranked MSU No. 11 in its ranking of global institutions that offer education as a subject.
  • MSU’s communications program is No. 4 in the world, according to a 2019 ranking by ShanghaiRanking, an independent organization dedicating to research on higher education.
  • The Broad College of Business Full-Time MBA Program ranks No. 9 among the nation’s public programs in 2018, according to Forbes. 
  • 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, 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 is one of the top schools for game design in North America, earning the No. 7 spot for its undergraduate program and No. 8 for its graduate program in the Princeton Review’s list of Top Schools for Video Game Design for 2019. 
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • MSU was the first major university in the United States with a dean of international programs.
  • MSU and the University of Wisconsin–Madison partner 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 Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, formerly the 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 325 scientists who conduct research in on-campus facilities and at 14 outlying research centers across the state.