'U.S. News' ranks UC Berkeley top public school in the country

September 17, 2023

UC Berkeley ranked #1 by US News and World Report

Neil Freese/UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley is once again the No. 1 public school in the country, tied with UCLA, according to the 2024 American college rankings by U.S. News and World Report that were announced today (Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023).

This accolade comes amid an extraordinary few years at Berkeley. Three faculty members have taken home Nobel Prizes — Jennifer Doudna and Reinhard Genzel in 2020 and David Card in 2021 — and a record-breaking Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley surpassed its goal of raising $6 billion.

This year, a flurry of construction projects is creating much-needed student housing, a renovated student engineering center and a home for the campus’s first new college in 50 years. A record number of arts faculty have been hired, and two new academic majors — East Asian humanities and educational sciences — debut this semester. Centennials for the Department of Art Practice and California Memorial Stadium are underway, and Disability Studies is celebrating its 20th year on campus. 

Berkeley also shared the top spot in the 2024 national U.S. News rankings for its undergraduate psychology, environmental/environmental health, civil, data analytics/science and undergraduate economics programs.

For the past nine years, U.S. News has also named Berkeley the top public university in the world. Those annual rankings are issued later, in the fall. And many of Berkeley's graduate programs regularly lead the national rankings

Across the UC system, every undergraduate campus was ranked among the top 100 public and private universities, combined. UC Berkeley is No. 15, again tied with UCLA, and both universities moved up in the rankings from No. 20 last year. UC Davis and UC San Diego are tied at No. 28, UC Irvine is 33rd, UC Santa Barbara 35th, UC Merced 60th, UC Riverside 76th and UC Santa Cruz 82nd. The national rankings assessed an all-time high of 1,600 U.S. bachelors degree-granting institutions on 19 measures of academic quality. These measures include graduation and retention rates, financial resources, first-generation graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, faculty resources and class size.

As in most years, revisions were made to the U.S. News ranking methodology. Five factors that were included in the previous formula — alumni giving, class size, high school class standing, the proportion of instructional faculty with terminal degrees (the highest degrees available in a chosen field) and the proportion of graduates who borrowed federal loans — have been removed. The new methodology places greater focus on outcomes and on data universally reported by schools or obtainable from third-party sources.

Berkeley regularly succeeds in a variety of rankings. This year, for example, Forbes also named Berkeley the best public university in the country and Pitchbook gave Berkeley the top spot for the number of venture-funded startups its undergraduate alumni have founded.

Source: UC Berkeley News, 'U.S. News' ranks UC Berkeley top public school in the country