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 one of the top 70 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2016.
  • Michigan State ranks 78th in the U.S. News & World Report "Best Global Universities" rankings, which analyzes 1,000 universities. Among U.S. universities, MSU ranks 45th, up one spot from last year.
  • 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 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 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 seventh in the nation for study abroad participation, with 2,668 students participating in education abroad programming in 2014-15, according to the Institute of International Education’s 2016 Open Doors Report. MSU ranks No. 11 in the country—and first in the state of Michigan—for international student enrollment. In 2015-16, MSU hosted 8,256 international students on campus.
  • In the 2016 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, MSU is among the highest-ranked schools in terms of engagement, tying for the No. 6 spot. Engagement is a measure of how connected students are with their school, each other and the outside world, and how challenging their courses are, among other things. 
  • MSU's increasingly good value is reflected in Kiplinger’s 2017 edition of Best College Values, which ranks MSU 38th 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.
  • 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 2016 Veteran-Friendly School program rankings. 
  • 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.
  • Michigan State ranked No. 10 among large schools on the Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, up from No. 22 last year. There are 48 Spartans currently volunteering worldwide. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 2,387 MSU alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.
  • 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 2015 Guide to 353 Green Colleges, which focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability. 
  • 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 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 scholarships with the naming of a Goldwater scholar in 2016. The total scholarship count at MSU now stands at: Goldwater, 43; Rhodes, 17; Churchill, 18; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, 12; 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 eight No. 1-ranked programs in undergraduate supply chain management/logistics and graduate programs in African history, nuclear physics, elementary and secondary education, organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, and supply chain. 


Supply chain management/logistics No. 1                                            

Production/operations management No. 11                                      

Biological/agricultural engineering No. 12                                             

Accounting No. 14                                                                                          

Management No. 18    


African history No. 1

Nuclear physics No. 1                                                    

Elementary education No. 1 for 23 straight years

Secondary education No. 1 for 23 straight years

Organizational psychology No. 1                                          

Rehabilitation counseling (education) No. 1

Supply chain/logistics No. 1                                                                    

Curriculum/instruction  No. 4                           

Higher education administration No. 2                                                       

Educational psychology No. 5

Administration/supervision No. 7

Criminal justice No. 7

Veterinary medicine No. 12

Primary care (College of Osteopathic Medicine) No. 15    

Education policy No. 11             

Production/operations management No. 11

Biological/agricultural engineering No. 13

Special Education No. 13

College of Education (overall) No. 15

Marketing No. 18                           

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Programs for 2017 show all four MSU programs that participate in the rankings improving from last year.

Online graduate education program up three places to No. 8

Online graduate program in criminal justice up six places to No. 10

Online graduate programs in business up 10 places to No. 16

Online graduate nursing program up five places to No. 26


Additional top academic programs, centers, and initiatives

  • The Broad College of Business Full-Time MBA Program ranks No. 10 among the nation’s public programs, according to the 2017 Financial Times Global MBA ranking. 
  • MSU is No. 1 in the 2016 SCM World University 100 ranking, which asked supply chain practitioners to select their top three universities “as a marker of supply chain talent.” More than 2,000 professionals around the world participated, including nearly 200 based in Asia, 400 in Europe, and the balance in the Americas. 
  • 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 is one of the top schools for game design in North America, earning the No. 10 spot for its undergraduate program and No. 11 for its graduate program in the Princeton Review’s list of Top Schools for Video Game Design for 2017. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 were chosen to digitize select collections across all their libraries—up to as many as 10 million volumes—as part of the Google Book Search project.