Campus & community, Campus news

Berkeley ranked top public university by ‘U.S. News’

The best public university sign

For the 18th straight year, UC Berkeley has been named the nation’s top public university by U.S. News & World Report, with UCLA and Virginia placing second and third respectively. The University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill rounded out the top five.

Top public universities

1. UC Berkeley
3. Virginia
4. Michigan
5. North Carolina
6. William and Mary
7. Georgia Tech
8. UC Santa Barbara
9. UC Irvine
9. UC San Diego
11. UC Davis

Top 20, public and private

1. Princeton
2. Harvard
3. Yale
4. Chicago
4. Columbia
4. Stanford
7. MIT
8. Duke
9. Pennsylvania
10. Cal Tech
10. Johns Hopkins
12. Dartmouth
12. Northwestern
14. Brown
15. Cornell
15. Vanderbilt
15. Washington St. Louis
18. Rice
18. Notre Dame
20. UC Berkeley

In all, six University of California campuses, including UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Davis, ranked among the top 11 public universities. UCSF and UC Merced are not included in the category.

Overall, Berkeley placed 20th in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 “Guide to America’s Best Colleges.” Princeton took the top spot this year, with Harvard in second place and Yale in third. Columbia, Chicago and Stanford tied at No. 4. MIT came in at seventh, Duke at eighth, Pennsylvania at ninth and Cal Tech and Johns Hopkins tied at No. 10.

The magazine’s annual rankings, released today, are intended to help families evaluate their higher education options. The report assesses nearly 1,800 colleges and universities nationwide based on up to 16 criteria. Measures of academic excellence include academic reputation, student selectivity, faculty resources, graduation and retention rates, financial resources and alumni giving. Graduation and retention rates account for 30 percent of the total score.

Berkeley ranked as the top public university – behind 13 private universities – for its reputation among high school guidance counselors.

Also this year, several undergraduate business and engineering specialty fields at Berkeley saw improvement in their rankings based on their reputation.

UCLA and Berkeley remain the top two universities with the highest percentage of Pell Grant recipients, though this economic diversity measure is not part of the U.S. News & World Report ranking assessment.


  • Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China 

         No.1 U.S. public, No.4 worldwide

  • The World Reputation Rankings by Times Higher Education, U.K.

        No.1 U.S. public, No. 6 worldwide

  • Center for World University Rankings, Saudi Arabia

        No.1 U.S. public, No. 6 worldwide

  • Money Magazine’s Best Colleges

        No.1 U.S. public among highly selective institutions